Getting to Know Angela McLeod Stocki
Angela McLeod Stocki is an Early Childhood Education major at UMO at Wilmington. She works at Winter Park Elementary School in Wilmington as a teacher’s assistant. She was recently married on May 24, 2014 to Teddy Stocki. She plans to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in the spring of 2015. Read below as Stocki answers a few questions about her educational transformation at the University of Mount Olive.
Everybody has a story. What is your story?
I grew up in Northern Virginia, the only girl out of four children. Growing up education was very important to our family, and I always did well in school, graduating with a 3.75 GPA. My mom was, and still is, a special education teacher. My dad was a truck driver for over 20 years. Once the kids were mostly grown, my dad decided to go back to school. He hadn’t taken a college class in years, and was basically starting from scratch on his degree. It took a lot of hard work, by him and the rest of the family, but after a few years he graduated with his degree in physical education. He is now a PE teacher working at the same high school as my mom. He is my main motivation for going back to school. He told me, “Time is going to go by either way. You can either have a degree in a couple years or keep doing the same thing.”
When I first started college, I expected it to be easy. School had always been pretty easy to me in the past, so I was shocked that I actually had to study, and start writing papers before 10 p.m. in order to get them done. In short, I was not mature enough for college at 18, especially since I had not discovered my calling yet.
What previous college experience did you have?
My freshman year of college was 2005 in Swannanoa, North Carolina. Like a crazy person, I decided to go to an expensive private college with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. After that year, I attended UNCA and AB Technical Community College for a little while. Then I decided to move back home to Virginia, not even having finished an associate’s degree.
What made you decide to enroll at the University of Mount Olive at Wilmington to complete your degree?
It was an easy choice after working for several years as a teacher’s assistant in the public school system, and making a crummy salary. I was living in Northern Virginia at the time and my only choices for going back to school were community college, which didn’t really make sense since I already had 60 credit hours, or a larger university that would require hours of commuting a week. I relocated to Wilmington and got a job at a childcare facility. One of my coworkers was pursuing her degree in ECE from UMO. I picked her brain, and was excited about a program that could accommodate the schedule of a working adult.
Why did you choose the Early Childhood Education curriculum?
Working with children has always been what comes naturally to me, but I want to eventually be the person in charge and not taking orders anymore. I have been weighing several options for once I finish my degree. Becoming a teacher in the public school system is one possibility, getting a job as a director of a childcare facility is another, and staying in school for a master’s degree or additional certification is something I have considered. There are quite a few possibilities with ECE.
What is one thing that you have learned thus far, that you will definitely use in your new profession?
Specifically, learning about assessment in Early Childhood Education has been a huge benefit, and something that will definitely separate me from others in seeking a job in the future.
What did you think of the modular style of programming?
The UMO style of programming has been the main thing that has helped me succeed thus far. Only having to focus on one class at a time has given me the opportunity to delve into every class with intention and get more out of it than an entire semester of traditional classes.
As you are probably aware, the tag line for UMO is transforming education and transforming lives. How has your life been “transformed” by UMO?
Like most people, I don’t come from a lot of money, so being able to work while attending class fulltime is a must. A few years ago I felt confused and frustrated about how I could ever go back to school, but since I’ve been at UMO, I am able to look at my future with excitement. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
What would you tell other adults thinking about returning to college?
I have recommended the University of Mount Olive’s Wilmington program to friends and neighbors. I would encourage anyone who wants to return to college to go for it. Like my dad said, “Life is busy, but time passes just the same.” I would encourage them to think about where they want to be in a year, or five or ten years? Getting a college degree just makes the most sense!