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At 20-years-old, Metropolitan College participant Neill Smith is proud that he is on track to graduate debt-free from the University of Louisville (UofL) in the spring semester next year. Smith works the night shift at UPS through the Metropolitan College program to receive tuition-free education benefits.
“This journey has not been easy … but hard work and perseverance pay off,” says Smith who has already earned nearly $30,000 in tuition benefits, book reimbursements and academic bonuses.
Smith started at UPS as a package handler in Small Sort Primary, and his natural ambition to be a leader paved the way to his current role as a frontline supervisor in the Customer Service department. In this position, Smith supervises and trains employees on safe work methods, conducts weekly audits to ensure packages are handled correctly at all times, and ensures that hazmat packages are in compliance to ship.
Smith graduated from Oldham County High School in Crestwood, Kentucky. While in high school, Smith completed 49 college credits hours through Jefferson Community and Technical College’s (JCTC) dual credit program; as a result, Smith later earned his associate’s degree in May 2018 through UofL’s reverse degree program.
Smith, a UofL senior and marketing major, has maintained an impressive 3.930 cumulative GPA while working nights at UPS. Smith chose to major in marketing because he loves to interact with people and help others achieve their goals. He is actively involved in the UofL Student Marketing Association where he engages in monthly discussions with local leaders on various marketing and sales opportunities. Additionally, Smith is an active member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity and regularly participates in philanthropy events such as RaiseRed, a dance marathon to raise funds for kids with pediatric cancer.
As for plans after graduation, Smith aspires to be a successful sales person and will explore career advancement opportunities at UPS or move on to a new opportunity.
Learn more about Neill Smith’s Metropolitan College experience in this Q&A.
Q: When you are not at UPS or in school, how do you like to spend your time?
A: I enjoy watching sports, my favorite being NFL. I am a Louisville Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I love to spend time with family and friends doing a variety of different activities. I enjoy learning new information about what’s going on around the world and especially in the business world.
Q: Who has been the biggest influence or inspiration in your life and why?
A: My family. My parents always led by example. Always pushing me to be the best person I can be in every aspect of my life. They taught me how to be loving to everyone, and to always work hard. They were always in my corner and there for me no matter the situation. My brother was always a great role model and always set the standard very high. Always there to give me life advice and push me to do my best. My family definitely has had the biggest impact on my life and played a big part in shaping who I am today.
Q: What has most contributed to your success with balancing academic, work, and personal life?
A: Metro College students don’t have the stereotypical college life. I am working 35+ hours a week during the night so I have to manage my time carefully. I have to plan around the class times and sometimes that only allows me a couple of hours to sleep, make time for homework, have a social life and to get enough sleep. Being disciplined has been my biggest success factor. I prioritize what is most important and make sacrifices on things I want to do to achieve the things I need to do. I am extremely ambitious by nature. Continually setting high goals and always trying to improve myself. I am never content where I am, but I am always trying to improve myself.
Q: What steps have you taken to prepare for your career field and/or gain related skills and experience?
A: I participated in the University of Louisville Mentor Program. It was a great program where I was paired up with a mentor in my field that is a successful business leader in Louisville. He is a great mentor and great example of how to work hard and give back to your community. I am learning a lot from him.
Q: How has working at UPS prepared you for your career field?
A: UPS has prepared me many ways for my career field. It has taught me the importance of hard work and building relationships at all levels of the business. It has taught me how to prioritize and meet deadlines and keep people calm while under stress.
Q: What is your favorite quote or life motto?
A: Loyalty is a two-way street. If I'm asking for it from you then you're getting it from me.
We are proud of our current students and alumni and their incredible accomplishments! The MC Spotlight is a way for us to highlight the amazing things our current students and alumni are doing. As you read their stories, you will learn how their Metropolitan College experiences helped to shape their futures and influence their careers.
We are always on the lookout for inspiring MC Spotlight stories. If you or someone you know is interested in sharing a story with us, contact Renecia Griffie Davis, MC Student Development Counselor at firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com or (502) 852-2534.
Note: At Metropolitan College, we consider our alumni anyone who has ever completed coursework and received tuition benefits with us.