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Jeanne Long, Reception & Switchboard
Interview with Dr. Dorothy K. Moore, October 12, 2007

DKM: Tell us a little about your employment here.

Jeanne Long: I work for Student Services. Yvonne Sutherland is my boss. I work the switchboard, but I’m kind of like a hub, in that I catch overflow if other departments get overwhelmed, or if they have special projects, I’m there to help them.

DKM: And you’re the Answer Lady too, I know, ‘cuz I’ve called you a few times with some obscure question. So, tell me your story.

Jeanne Long: I’ve been here forever. 1982 is when I first started taking classes. But there would be gaps, like it would be ’82 and then maybe ’84 --- it was just whenever I could afford it, or whenever I had the time.

DKM: And when did you actually get your degree then?

Jeanne Long: 2004. It was an Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communications… But, see, for years and years and years I was taking classes for no reason…I didn’t get my degree until 2004, so it took me a while.

DKM: Wow – it took you 12 years to get your degree?

1967 Photo
Jeanne as a High School Senior

Jeanne Long: Well, because I didn’t know exactly what I was doing, and I would take a couple of classes here and a couple of classes there, and the years would go by where I couldn’t afford to go to school. Plus I was working full time and I had kids at home and two things happened: Bobbie, my daughter, grew up, graduated and went out on her own. And then I got laid off from the telephone company. I had to find something else to do with my life, so I went back to school and got focused. See, the skills I learned at the phone company were totally un-sellable in the real world…

DKM: So in 1982 you decided to go back to school because you got laid off from the phone company? And did you have any idea at that time what you wanted to do?

Jeanne Long: I was taking classes more to improve myself...it was one of these things where I would get a schedule in the mail and think, you know, this class might help me in my job, or this looks interesting. And this was when I was first exposed to Karen Martin: I took a psychology class --- because the brain always fascinated me. I was thinking mostly in terms of interest and of things that would help me with my job, but nothing like getting a degree, because I did not realize that the best way to do this was to go talk to somebody.

DKM: Oh, really? You didn’t talk to an advisor? You were just taking things willy nilly? (laughter)

Jeanne Long: Pick and choose. (laughter) And you know, a lot of that stuff doesn’t go towards a degree. And so it really was not until I got laid off at the phone company – and that was in 1997.

DKM: So, what then was the wake-up call in ‘97 or what changed in ‘97 besides being laid off?

1967 Photo1967

"...if these other people can do it, then so can I. "

Jeanne Long: Well, I kept applying for jobs, and even though I had almost 25 years in a variety of jobs in the phone company, they weren’t sellable out in the real world, so I had to start focusing my direction into finding something. I’m not a nurse-type person – and I really was leaning more towards education, which is what initially got me started back to classes. Then they (GBC) started the graphic design classes and since I just loved art, and I just loved doing that kind of stuff, so I got hooked into exploring more of the graphic design. That was when the light bulb lit --- that if these other people can do it, then so can I. And then I was told that the best thing to do was to go talk to an advisor (laughter).

DKM: (laughter) What a novel concept – see an advisor.

Jeanne Long: But you know what, it’s surprising how many people come in the front door that still want to do it on their own. They don’t want to talk to an advisor.

DKM: And you’ve been down that route yourself. By now you see other students coming in that just want to do it on their own too. For you, what was the difference between doing GBC without an advisor and doing GBC with an advisor?

Jeanne Long: First of all, I got direction. You know, [with an advisor] you can see light at the end of the tunnel. There’s hope. When you’re taking classes [without an advisor], you really don’t know how these classes are going to all meld together. I had no one in my family that I could go talk to and say, Okay, when you went to college, what did you do?

DKM: Oh, right, because you were the first in your family to go to college.

Jeanne Long: Yes. And eventually my mom did go to college, but she’s all the way down in California, so when we would talk on the phone we would share about how our classes were going, but the bells still didn’t ring about everything else about college procedure.

DKM: Who was your advisor?

Jeanne Long: Kathy Schwandt. She made the world of difference in my life.

DKM: Tell me more about that.

Jeanne Long: I went for the Associate of Applied Science in Graphic Communication. And they told me that Kathy Schwandt would be my advisor, and from the time I walked in Kathy’s office, my life has just grown. It was Kathy Schwandt who encouraged me to get involved with the Ambassador Program. Kathy told me that one of the best ways of being successful and feeling part of the campus is to get involved, so she encouraged me to not only take my classes, but find the time to get involved with something. At the time Sharon Owens was on campus and she was doing the Ambassador Program…and I was accepted. But it was really hard for me because I was born in ’51, and it’s really hard when you’re that old and you see all these young puppies running around, you know, you feel really old, and you feel like, :Okay, I just want to do my classes and go home. I don’t want to get involved in anything. They’re going to think I’m stupid. They’re going to think it’s taken me all these years to get the idea of what’s going on.”

DKM: Which it has! (laughter)

Jeanne Long: In a way, it has, but still, my family took priority and I felt committed that I had to do my job, but when my job was gone, I had to go find another job because my husband’s job was at times seasonal, and in order to live a decent life, we had to have two incomes. My husband eventually went to college and obtained his CDL, but he still can’t understand how even though I’ve got one degree, I can’t seem to stop taking classes. I guess I am kind of addicted to taking classes.

DKM: Well, that’s good though. That’s a good addiction. It keeps you off the streets. Keeps you off drugs.

Jeanne Long: I couldn’t handle going to college and drinking - that would defeat my whole focus! (laughter)

DKM: (laughter) That’s good, since we’re a no-alcohol campus. That would defeat the purpose of the learning …So, you’re addicted to learning… Tell me, if you could have done it (GBC) differently, what would you have done?

Jeanne Long: Right off the bat, I wish somebody would have introduced me to an advisor. I wish that the options were exposed to me, that there is advising and financial help out there of all sorts. Especially for women. There are so many avenues out there for financial help and guidance.

DKM: So, let’s say a prospective student comes walking in the door, and let’s say they just want to take some classes for whatever. What advice would you give them? What should they do?

Jeanne Long: My first thing is, I ask them if they’ve ever taken college courses before, just to get the initial paperwork flowing. And then I hand them a schedule, a catalog, and I walk them over pointing them down to the end of the hallway, to show them where to go (Advising and Career Center). And I tell them, “You really need to start there and talk to an advisor. They will help you find things you are interested in; they will introduce you to the people that you need to know.” Then I show them the direction to Financial Aid, and I say, “On your way back down the hall, stop there.”

DKM: And do you find that they do that?

Jeanne Long: Yes, most of the time.

DKM: Good. See, we need people like you in that position, doing exactly what you’re doing because you’ve been there. You’ve experienced first-hand what it’s like without an advisor.

Jeanne Long: Well, [without an advisor] you spin your wheels without reason…

DKM: Well, thank you, Jeanne. I never would have known this stuff about you if we hadn’t talked like this.

Jeanne Long: Well, it’s not like my life is super-exciting, but right now I’m just so involved with art, it’s like I can’t get enough of it…and…I love my job.