Life has dealt Marc Petz a series of challenges he has had to overcome on his journey to graduation from Ferris State University.
When Petz, 29, first began pursuing his bachelor's degree at Ferris, he already had a full-time job that kept him away from home three to four days a week. While online classes did help ease the burden, academic scheduling soon became a minor blip on the screen in what lie ahead for the Wyoming, Mich., native and 1999 graduate of Kelloggsville High School.
“About a year into the program, my dad unexpectedly passed away. Finding a balance between allowing time to grieve and staying focused on school was a big challenge,” he says.
“In my second year, my wife and I had our first child, which made time for homework even more limited. During my third year, I suffered a severely broken leg and ankle while I was in pre-season training for jet-ski racing. That caused me to cancel my summer classes and spend four months on disability leave from work at CSX railroad. In my last semester, my wife and I just had our second child, so now we have a 1-month-old baby and a 3-year-old.”
Through the highs and lows, Petz has managed to keep focused on making his dream of earning a college degree come true, while at the same time earning Dean's List and other academic honors.
“Graduating from Ferris really means a lot to me because of the challenges I have faced. It was something I thought I never would do,” he confesses. “After graduating high school, I went straight to working full-time and never had any intentions of attending college because I didn't quite know what I wanted to do.”
He adds, “After working several years and feeling kind of stuck in life, I came across the Digital Animation and Game Design program at Ferris and signed up. I will be the first in my family to graduate college, which means a great deal to me because it sets an example for my children as they grow older and start thinking about college.”
Petz credits support from faculty, staff and friends at Ferris, and in particular, the support he received from his family as the foundation of his success.
“My biggest supporter is my wife, Amy,” he says. “She endured a lot of sacrifices because of the time that was spent on homework and projects over the past five-and-a-half years. I can never thank her enough for her support and patience.”
Now, as Petz graduates from Ferris with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Digital Animation and Game Design and takes the next step toward his future, he plans to explore business or freelance opportunities, or a teaching position involving visual effects, and hopes to work on a feature film.