Like most, Daniel Barczyk’s job was affected by the poor economy of 2009.  “I was an assistant store manager for World Market and I enjoyed it,” said Barczyk.  When the economy turned, so did his hopes for a brighter future in retail. 

Soon, Barczyk, 38, North Ridgeville, will be graduating from LCCC with an Associate of Science degree.  His goal includes exploring a career in the natural sciences.  “My dream job would be working as a naturalist and teaching outdoor programs to kids.”

Barczyk reignited his love for the outdoors when his son joined the Cub Scouts.  Becoming a Scoutmaster made Barczyk realize his passion belonged in the natural sciences.  His next thought included wondering whether or not getting a degree in science was achievable.

It had been 20 years since Barczyk had seen the inside of a classroom.  His wife, Jasmine, received an Associate of Arts degree from LCCC in 2003.  Obviously, LCCC would be the quickest path to a new career. 

Barczyk recalled, “My hesitancy included whether or not my classes taken 20 years ago at The University of Toledo would transfer.  I did not want to start completely over again.”  With the transfer of credit courses from The University of Toledo, Barczyk was positioned to complete an associate’s degree in science from LCCC. 

Barczyk recalled when he first returned to school he was scared. “I did not know what to expect.  I was not sure what new math or science looked like and how I would keep up.” 

He also was under the impression people in the classrooms would be much younger.  “I didn’t want to be the old man in the room,” joked Barczyk.  Like many returning adult learners, Barczyk was surprised to see the blend of ages in the classroom.  Now, after completing the associate’s degree, he stated, “I love science, I love chemistry, and I love biology.”

Barczyk’s parting advice to those holding onto an untapped passion, “Just get started.  Don’t be afraid.  The help is here when you need it.”