Even when Justin Westfall was just a kid, he loved being a deejay. When he got older, he turned it into a profession and now, 11 years later, he runs DJ West Quality Sound & Lighting. Without missing a beat, or lowering the lights, Westfall completed a BS in Business Administration with a minor in entrepreneurship from IU Online, graduating this May.
Working and going to school can be a juggling act, and Westfall credits the flexibility of the online program with giving him the opportunity to earn a degree. “My work schedule is all over the place,” he says. “With IU Online, I could fit classes, work, projects, lectures, and quizzes around my schedule. I even took an exam at 2:00 a.m. One semester, I worked full time and took 10 hours; the next semester, I reversed that. Timing was in my hands.”
Westfall also credits the program for inspiring a new angle in his professional life. For the class "A New Venture Creation,” he had to design and grow a completely new business from the ground up: the vision, marketing, financials, accounting, and human resources. “This project provided the structure and the opportunity to add an entirely new [wedding] offshoot to my business," says Westfall. "Weddings are full of details. My organization, Weddings with Ease, handles everything: contracts, finances, and event coordination with the external vendors, including photography, entertainment, catering, floristry, and everything in between.”
After three years at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, Westfall wanted more experience and asked, “What will make me stand out in my career?” He did the research, and IU Online stood at the top of the list. The transition to online learning seemed effortless. “The people at IU Online were there for me,” he says. “I got quick answers. This was the easiest transition I’ve ever experienced.”
To anyone considering online learning, Westfall has only positives. “In online classes, I could work at my own pace. In face-to-face, if I don’t get it, I might be reluctant or embarrassed to ask a question. But here I have the video, the class materials. Modules are clear. I can move quickly through the content I get, and spend more time with things I’m less sure of. There’s no competition to keep pace.”
Westfall’s professors made all the difference. “I give credit to the professors,” he says. “They get it that it’s not a face-to-face classroom experience. They get it that they need to be attentive and responsive. They encourage us to call and text. They’re never rushed. They often follow up to make sure I’ve understood.”
Westfall’s business is thriving. “I may need to expand. Now I see so many options, I’m excited to see where it will go. Thanks, IU Online!”