Alumni Spotlight: Jeremy Richard Colson, BA Management
It can be daunting going back to university for mature students. Jeremy Colson, a Webster University Thailand alumni shares his personal story of how he continued his Bachelor’s degree education in Thailand which led him into the Master’s program for Sustainability and Environmental Management at Harvard University in Boston.
I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to attend a presentation on further education. After all, even though I had dropped out of my undergraduate course at the University of Surrey (United Kingdom) some 50 years earlier, I had had a fairly successful career in business and journalism, and did it without a degree. Yes, I had occasionally thought it would be nice to have some letters after my name, and I secretly regretted dropping out, it had never occurred to me that I could pick up where I left off and finish the degree I had started in 1964.
However, I happened to be in Bangkok when Webster University Thailand made a presentation at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) a few years ago, and I got into conversation with a representative who told me there was every chance I could transfer my credits from Surrey and use them to pursue a degree with Webster University Thailand. “You don’t understand,” I told him, “They won’t have my records anymore; we didn’t have computers in those days”. He replied “you never know, you might be lucky”.
So, the following day I sent off an email to Surrey not believing for one second they would still have my records. A month went by, and of course I heard nothing. A couple of weeks later, I bumped into the person I’ve met from Webster, and told him what I had ‘known’ all along. “Even the police and the banks don’t keep records going back 50 years,” I told him. “My pen rai,” he replied, “it was worth a shot”.
And that would have been the end of the story, except that about three months later, completely out of the blue, I got an email from Surrey with a scan of a micro-fiche record. They had retrieved my file from their archives. It painted a pretty dismal picture of my academic performance all those years ago, but it also showed I had some credits. The next step was to go for an interview at Webster University in Bangkok where I have met James Jain, a Webster University employee. He said Webster would be happy to help me restart my studies. It would be hard work, but there were others who had ‘gone back to school’ at an advanced age, and many of them had succeeded.
Three years later, after burning gallons of midnight oil, and going through several crises of self-doubt, I passed my final exams and emerged with an Honors Cum Laude degree. It was tough, and I would not have got through it without the encouragement and support of James and his colleagues.
Was it all worthwhile? Would I do it again? Absolutely yes! I am now 70 years old and three years into the Master’s program for Sustainability and Environmental Management at Harvard University in Boston. I could never have got here if it hadn’t been for Webster. Yes, it was I who put in the work, but it was Webster Thailand that gave me the opportunity to have a ‘second’ chance, and a new life. Thank you Webster for your encouragement, support, and excellent tuition. I will always be grateful.
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