DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. Dobbs Ferry's Matthew Jones earned his bachelors degree in accounting at Mercy College this year and was also named the Valedictorian of the Class of 2012 - all while working full-time as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service.
I really had to make use of every moment, Jones, 47, said. I mean literally sitting in my mail truck with a laptop filing school work and assignments. You just have to make every second count.
Jones, who is in his 18th year with the USPS, worked full-time and often six days a week while earning his degree and will continue on as he works toward a masters degree in the same field.
I probably would have told you back then I cant afford college, but you know the truth is we put up these imaginary barriers and those are usually the biggest ones we have to contend, he said. Accounting is something Ive always wanted to do and I just got to a point in my life where I thought there was no reason I shouldnt do it. Maybe I just ran out of excuses.
Taking night classes each day with a few online courses thrown in, Jones often didnt get home to his wife and two children until almost midnight. Having lived in Dobbs Ferry since 1984, Jones said it helped being just a few blocks away from the school. Jones enrolled in Mercy in the summer of 2008 and said he never expected to be named top of his class.
I was surprised quite frankly, he said. Ive been working as hard as I can on my studies for the past four years. Its not something I ever really thought about. It was quite an honor to get it.
Mercy College will hold its 77th annual commencement ceremony on Wednesday at the Westchester County Center in White Plains and Jones will give a short speech as part of his Valedictorian honors.
Looking toward the future, Jones said he plans to finish his masters degree by next May and hopes to become a certified public accountant and work for either an accounting firm or the federal government. Jones said being the first person in his family to attend college was a huge motivating factor for him. With all the long hours put in, Jones said its been difficult, but the harder it gets the more focused he becomes.
I dont know how to explain it, but you know like when a fighter fights a better fighter, you just fight better, he said.
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