It will mark the culmination of a winding and worthwhile college journey when Mishion Payne delivers the student reflection remarks at Ohio University-Chillicothe’s upcoming Recognition of Graduation event.
The graduation event will be held at 7:30 p.m. on May 1 in the Shoemaker Center on campus. A pinning ceremony for graduates of OU-C’s nursing program will be held at 6 p.m. on April 30 in the Shoemaker Center. Formal commencement activities are held on the Athens campus.
Payne, who is earning a bachelor’s degree in applied management, began her college career upon graduation from Chillicothe High School in 2000, attending Shawnee State University for a year. She then moved back to Chillicothe and attended OU-C for a year before “stopping out” to get married.
What began as a planned one-term break from college turned into a seven-year absence as she juggled the demands of family life and the workplace.
“When I returned to college, I was driven by the thought that, with a degree, I can better myself, my income will be better, and it will help my family,” she said. “My first goal was to earn an associate degree, which I earned in applied management. I then went straight into the bachelor’s degree program.”
The return to college was not always a smooth transition.
“Coming back was a hard adjustment and it took about three academic terms to fully feel in place,” Payne explained. “I was working full-time, had a stepson and was married. But, I was much more focused and mature. I had experienced life and wanted to get a degree so I could advance in my career and have more options.”
The words of a concerned and revered faculty member made all the difference.
“I was fortunate to meet with faculty member Tom Brown. He is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, and he blessed me so much with his encouragement. He kept telling me that I can make it, but I have to stay focused and have a goal in mind.”
Appropriately, Tom Brown, who passed away in August 2014, will be recognized with a distinguished alumnus award posthumously at the Recognition of Graduation event. His caring attitude and common-sense advice continue to make an impact on current and former students such as Payne.
“What I most like about Tom Brown’s teaching is that he taught you what is in the book but also to learn lessons that go outside and beyond the textbook,” Payne said. “He helped his students to find the best way to do things and how to apply lessons to the workplace. For example, he explained that situations are not always black and white, and it is important to find the best way to do things.”
“If not for speaking with Tom when I first came back to college, I may not have made it. I stayed in contact with him, and he also offered the best advice.
The college pursuit has paid off for Payne. She has been employed with Homeland Credit Union in Chillicothe for nearly eight years and was recently promoted to mortgage loan officer.
“It feels a lot better to have a degree,” she said. “I know it will benefit me in the long run, and the lessons I leaned along the way will last a lifetime.”