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Fearless Changemaker Patrick Ditty
Fearless Changemaker Patrick Ditty


Working full-time, completing a bachelor’s degree, and raising five kids – sounds impossible right? Portland State student Patrick Ditty balances work, school, and family with the assistance of PSU’s Online Bachelor’s Degree program. In this week’s post, Patrick, a US Veteran, tells us all about his experience through the Online Business Degree program and working towards being a Social Entrepreneur.

After moving with his family to Oregon, Patrick looked for work in heavy-equipment machinery, a field in which he had been working for 10 years. In Patrick’s past job experiences, a degree had not been required to operate in this profession, but, in Oregon, most called for a college degree. He began to work for Caterpillar, which had a program in which workers could alternate terms of working for the company and going to school. At first, Patrick was nervous to go back to school, knowing that he may be older than other students, but he soon found out that it wasn’t that “scary.” After graduating from the Caterpillar program, Patrick was impressed with the progress that he had been making with his education, and wanted to see how far his education could take him, so he began to make plans to attend Portland State University. After seeing an advisor at PSU, he realized that almost none of his credits that he had earned through the Caterpillar program would transfer. This setback didn’t stop Patrick from forging forward. Patrick started taking night classes at Portland Community College so that he could continue to work full-time. He was determined, though that didn’t mean he wasn’t worried about being able to complete his degree. Between his work and family obligations, reaching the finish line seemed a difficult feat. When he learned about PSU’s Online Bachelor’s Degree in Business, he applied right away and was admitted to the program. Patrick found that the option to complete his degree fully online was a “lifesaver” – he could go to school and work, and still have time left to spend with his family. He could come home from work, and still have time to do his homework and be an active part of his children’s lives. And, to his surprise, completing an online degree didn’t mean sacrificing career and personal growth. The high touch nature of the program introduced Patrick to different industries and business practices which led Patrick to the realization that he wanted to move away from his current profession, and PSU’s Online Business Degree not only gave him the tools to do so, but also the confidence.

One of the catalysts for this life-changing decision happened when Patrick stumbled upon the Social Entrepreneurship Certificate – a unique opportunity for online business student that allows students to learn about social and environmental issues that they find important, and then equips students with the skills and knowledge necessary to impart change in the community by utilizing the power of business. The classes in the Social Entrepreneurship Certificate program opened up a new world for Patrick.

 “Social entrepreneurship was a 180 from what I was interested in. As I progressed through the classes, [the class] gave me a new direction. You can earn a paycheck and still do something good at the same time.”

The concept of social entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of the Online Business Degree program, so Patrick also found that the classes in the Certificate program expanded upon many of his previous classes, and provided a whole new method of understanding. The way of learning that Patrick developed through the Social Entrepreneurship program helped him to “think outside the box” in his classes, as well as in his daily life.

So how did Patrick manage to go to school, work full-time, and still spend time with his family? Patrick advises that those who wish to pursue PSU’s Online Business Degree schedule their time well – be accountable for everything that you do. Don’t procrastinate on assignments, and be prepared to work hard for your education. Patrick also suggests that students keep an open mind.

“Soak it all up and get the most.”

And, lastly, fearless – what does it mean to Patrick?

“The more open that you can be to new ideas – that would be my definition of fearless. The more close-minded are you, the less likely you will ever be able to change anything.”

Inspired by Patrick? Want to become a Fearless Changemaker yourself? Click here to learn more about the Social Entrepreneurship certificate.

And if you’re looking for a better way to incorporate college into your busy life, click here to learn about PSU’s Online Business Degree program.

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student