FROM TOXICOLOGY TO SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
Ryan Lindsey grew up in Bossier City, Louisiana, and studied Toxicology at the University of Louisiana. He’s currently a student in MIU’s Master’s in Software Development program (MSD). It may seem like a huge jump from toxicology to software development, so let’s learn more about Ryan and his journey, and why he feels this education can give students from around the world a new chance in life.
CA: Tell us a little about your background, Ryan.
Ryan: When I graduated with my Bachelors in Toxicology, I didn’t know what to do with my degree. Toxicology is a cross between biology and chemistry, and I would need to go to graduate school and specialize in order to advance in my field. So, I decided to take some time to do some soul searching and part of that process led me to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, and that led me to find out about the Master’s in Software Development (MSD) program.
CA: What specifically influenced your decision to apply to MSD?
Ryan: We’re in a big tech era, where software development and IT technology are exploding. I started messing around with coding for about 6 months and it clicked for me. Once I knew how much I loved coding, I started looking for the best education I could find in software development, but my options were limited because I didn’t have a background in computer science. When I heard about MSD and that they accept a Bachelor’s degree in any subject, and don’t require a background in computer science, I jumped on it. I was especially happy to find a university where everyone practices TM.
CA: Is your TM practice helping with your studies?
Ryan: With my regular TM, it doesn’t feel like work, even if I’m working and studying day in and day out. TM is the key to my ability to do this rigorous program and succeed. I can’t manage the workload if my mind isn’t clear and if I’m unable to manage the schedule. There are days when I spend 10 or 11 hours on the computer. For a lot of people that would be unimaginable, but when you have clarity of mind you can go as far as you want but never lose track of yourself.
CA: What are your ultimate goals? What do you hope to achieve from this program?
Ryan: Actually, I have three goals.
The things we do day in and day out have a huge impact on our health and mental space. I want to be in a place where I can wake up each day and not dread what’s coming – to greet each day with an attitude of enjoyment. When I am working with computers I can go home at the end of the day and feel perfectly fine. So, my first goal is to improve my quality of life.
My second goal is to be financially secure, in a place where I can thrive and prosper, and not worry about paying bills or having enough food to eat.
My third goal is to have a new chance in life. MIU is a unique experience because we are cultivated on a holistic level rather than a purely intellectual level. If we allow that to happen it can change our life. A lot of people are solely focused on getting good grades but aren’t setting themselves up to succeed in all areas of their lives. We can get good grades and that’s fine, but this education is structured in a way that we can see inside and explore more of ourselves and discover what great human beings we are. We miss out on that if we only focus on surface success. By exploring the inner self, we see more deeply into the subject, which will make us more successful in our lives and in the workplace.
CA: That’s a beautiful understanding of the education at MIU, Ryan. How do you feel the faculty contribute to the scope of education?
Ryan: All of our faculty are interested and invested in how we are doing in the program. They look out for each of us on a personal level and challenge us intellectually. They make us think. Some students think MIU will be less challenging than other universities, but the academic program is just as challenging here as it would be at any top university.
CA: How do you feel about the unique structure of the MSD program?
Ryan: The great thing about MIU is the block system. I’ve never seen anything like it before. We focus on one subject for an entire month and spend 6 days a week on that subject. The class lectures are more conversational and we can go deeper into the fine details of the subjects we are learning. It makes for deeper understanding and we learn more than we would if we only spent 50 minutes twice a week in a class.
I like that the courses constantly build on top of each other so we never lose what we are learning. By the time we come out of the program, we use every bit of knowledge that we learned in our classes. MIU really nailed this, it’s such a huge advantage in learning. Exposure and constantly using the knowledge through class projects also solidifies it in our minds. It’s not memorizing, it’s studying in order to use these tools.
CA: If a friend asks if they should apply to the MSD program what would you recommend?
Ryan: I would tell them it’s intense. Be sure to know what you’re getting into and what you want. This isn’t going to college just for another degree; you come for a career-focused degree in software development.
I would also tell him or her that if you come here to get your master’s degree, be sure to learn TM. It’s not a religious thing or even a lifestyle. It will help you so much during the whole MSD program if you can touch base with yourself, and that silence inside. Then your learning will take you to more than just a nice job, it will take you to a beautiful life.
The Master’s in Software Development is a 12-month accelerated track or 18-month standard track training program for U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and Asylees, to become software developers. Previous software development training or experience is not necessary to enroll in this program and any bachelor’s degree in any subject is eligible for admission.
This article was written by Christine Albers, Freelance Writer