Mark Homme, a full-time residential and commercial real estate agent with a corporate background, always knew he wanted to go back to school to finish his degree. His first go-round at college was right after high school but he wasn’t quite ready — it took a few years and a promise to his daughter to start his journey towards completing his degree.
A degree promise fulfilled
After Homme’s daughter graduated with her bachelor’s degree, Homme knew she wanted to continue towards a master’s degree. He made a promise that if she were to go back for her Master of Business Administration, he would also commit to finishing what he started.
“It was kind of a nudge to get her to go in and get her MBA,” said Homme. “She called me two weeks later and said, ‘Well Daddy, you’re enrolled.’”
Homme never considered any other college but Boise State University, a place that he feels reflects all of the things he loves about Boise.
Finding the right program
After the phone call from his daughter, Homme had to figure out his next steps to keep his end of the bargain. With some advice from his daughter on where to start, Homme reached out to the Bachelor of Applied Science team at Boise State. Immediately, Homme knew that this would be a team that would support him.
“They were humble and they listened,” Homme explained. “They took in my story, looked at my past experience and started to help me formulate a plan to get my degree.”
Homme appreciated how experienced the applied science program staff are with students who are working and pursuing their education. While he didn’t plan on a program that encapsulates multiple disciplines, Homme’s unique experiences made applied science a great fit.
The guidance Homme received helped him begin the flex applied science program, which offers a hybrid model of in-person and online courses. Homme has since transitioned into the fully online Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) program.
With online courses, Homme enjoys the flexibility to build in course work around his schedule but also says that timing is key.
“You have to be a great time manager,” Homme said. “You have to allot the time you need based on your schedule. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s easier or less work.”
An appreciation for prior learning
The applied science team didn’t end their support for Homme after he enrolled and began classes. Homme’s advisor suggested he look into credit for prior learning, which provides credits to students if they can satisfactorily demonstrate a core understanding of the course.
“It’s been a huge benefit. It establishes an appreciation for my prior knowledge,” said Homme. “It shortened my path to graduation. Financially, it’s also an incentive because education can be costly. You pay for the process, but it’s not the same thing as paying for three credits or six credits or whatever the case may be.”
For any student, time is valuable, and credit for prior learning is a valuable asset to the program. For Homme, it wasn’t just the ability to take advantage of experiential learning initiatives.
“The fact that the advising team went to bat for me has helped,” Homme stated. “I didn’t know if I was going to get credit for my prior schooling and knowledge, and I did — that was based on my advisor’s efforts.”
The BAS advising team is consistently supporting Homme.
“You know you have the support and that it is achievable. It’s been a great experience for me, and I’m glad that I went back because I think I would have missed out had I not gone back,” said Homme.
“You know you have the support and that it is achievable. It’s been a great experience for me, and I’m glad that I went back because I think I would have missed out had I not gone back.”
— Mark Homme, Online Bachelor of Applied Science student
Thinking about things differently
Like many other students, Homme initially felt overwhelmed as he learned how to balance work, school and life.
It was during a break from copious amounts of reading and trying to brainstorm ideas for a final project in a humanities course that he looked out into his garden that things all came together for him.
Homme saw a tomato plant growing outside of the garden box. The plant wasn’t put there purposely, and while it lived in an odd location, it was flourishing.
“I just started to formulate about this plant that had taken a different path. I called it rogue tomato,” Homme explained. “It kind of mirrored my life, somewhat, where I haven’t always taken the beaten path. I’ve made my own choices and gone different ways on different things and still have been successful.”
“…I haven’t always taken the beaten path. I’ve made my own choices and gone different ways on different things and still have been successful.”
— Mark Homme, Online Bachelor of Applied Science student
Homme’s education journey hasn’t always been reading and tomatoes but has encouraged him to think about things differently. From the foods he eats to sustainability, Homme says that he is more conscious about the world around him.
“It’s not like I didn’t care about that stuff in the past, but I actually think about it more now,” said Homme. “It’s been great for me, and I think this is because I was ready for it.”
Through his courses, Homme has found himself to be more inquisitive.
“I ask more questions. I’m more curious — not that I wasn’t curious before, but I was a little bit more set in certain things,” stated Homme. “And now, after I read, I apply it to my current experience and also reflect on my past experience and see where everything fits. It’s made things more complete.”
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Homme hopes that his experience in going back to school when he was ready will inspire others to do the same. Homme encourages other potential students to learn more and ask questions about their possible options with Boise State Online programs.
Homme has been encouraged by the BAS faculty and staff and his biggest supporters — his family.
While Homme’s daughter has completed her master’s degree, Homme is almost across the graduation finish line. Even though it started as a promise to his daughter, Homme’s journey to a degree was for him.
“My daughter kind of prompted me to get in and do it just to keep my promise,” Homme said. “But in the end, I think she and my whole family knew that it was for me to do this.”
As far as what he wants to be “when he grows up”, Homme is still figuring it out.
“I kind of look at life as a book, and I still have some chapters to go. I know the chapter’s not written yet, and I’ll see what happens when I get there,” said Homme.
Story by Erin Taylor for Boise State Online