“When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” brings to mind those individuals who step up when their circumstances warrant sitting down. Tiffany Polzin fits the bill. Pursuing her college education involved navigating the difficulties of a hearing disability as well as working four part-time jobs to help pay the bills, while managing the demands of 20-24 hour course loads. Polzin shared, “I was afraid to go to a large university due to class sizes. I needed one-on-one attention and I got it at Harrison. Though I didn't have any children at the time, it was VERY difficult. I can say for those three years I didn't have a life. I focused on school and work. It was hard not being able to go out with my friends when I wanted to, or missing something fun because I had homework to do. I also didn't get very much sleep. I just kept telling myself that it was temporary and to stick with it. I knew that it would pay off in the end and it did!”
Two key players in Polzin’s success at Harrison were her husband and one of her criminal justice instructors. “When I made the decision to go back to school I knew it was going to be hard for me. My husband helped pick up the extra housework at home, helped me with errands, and most importantly he gave me space to get the work done and helped me study for exams. I would build a large study guide based on what was discussed during review in class. Then I would write out all of the answers and my husband would quiz me until I knew everything by heart. The other person who helped me with my journey was one of my Criminal Justice Instructors. I am a perfectionist which can be trying on an instructor’s patience. This instructor was kind, took the time to answer the million questions I asked, and let me find my own way of doing things even if they didn't correspond with hers,” remarked Polzin. A favorite memory of her time at Harrison was when in her Corrections class she designed and built a maximum security prison; complete with operating plan, type of criminals cared for, budget and reports for the state. And although it took weeks, she loved every minute of it.
Polzin saw the value of “jobs” instilled in students from day one and appreciated how her experience at Harrison prepared her well for the real work world. “You were expected to be on time every day. The instructors would work with you if you had something unfortunate happen and missed something legitimate, however, for the most part if you missed an assignment your grades were docked. You are expected to perform like you would at a job. I also learned a lot of valuable skills that I currently utilize at work. Knowing how to maneuver through spreadsheets and form letters has saved me so much time and energy when calculating sales numbers by state, building quotes for clients, helping with grant writing, or sending out mailers. Another important skill I learned was howto deal with difficult people; being kind to people even when it isn’t easy and how to choose my battles wisely. I had a couple of students in my classes who would say hurtful things to me because of my hearing. I learned to stand up for myself in situations like this when I would have been afraid to before,” she explained.
Polzin graduated at the top of her class for Business Administration and Human Resources and second in her class for Criminal Justice. She also passed the National Recreation and Park's Association's Certified Playground Inspector test and can now inspect playgrounds anywhere in the U.S. Recognized in a local newspaper for designing and building a playground structure that was featured in a catalog distributed worldwide is further confirmation that tenacity and drive through the tough times has led her to rich rewards!