Veteran student pivots to a new career path amid a pandemic

August 19, 2021

While in the U.S. Air Force, Dejan Gillard had a positive experience, which inspired her interest in dental care. She decided to become a dental hygienist and was eager to earn a degree to land a position in the dental field. And so, Dejan started classes at Northeast Lakeview College, studying Dental Assisting.  

“It turned out that I succeeded pretty well at NLC!”

However, halfway through completing her prerequisites, COVID happened and shifted the reality of her perfect profession.

“It scared me that I would be working face-to-face with people during a pandemic. I had to find something else for a career, something else I would love to do. In life, I take what I am given and go with that. If it doesn’t work, I try something else.”

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This attitude of resilience has helped Dejan make the best of COVID, and she took advantage of it to try a new career. With an open mind, she started exploring other options and tapped into her natural aptitude for computers and cybersecurity, ultimately landing on Cyber Engineering Technology, a field where she could find stable work and remain safe during the pandemic.

Although Northeast Lakeview College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity, this degree is not offered as a fully online program. However, interested students can still complete many of the required courses online.

Committed to earning her degree in Cyber Engineering, she continues to thrive.

“I enjoy online learning because I am able to learn at my own speed. I feel more comfortable going at my own pace. When you start to go at other people’s paces, you are not fulfilling your own needs, your own motivation. In online courses, you need to be motivated.”

With candor, she warns, “If you are not dedicated or trying to stay dedicated, you shouldn’t try online courses.”

However, for those of you who are open to possibilities and dedicated to pursuing your passions, online learning is filled with potential options, even during a pandemic.

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