VJ Kumar: Learning Has No Age Limit
Spotlight on REV/G3 Scholars
by Steve Vehorn / Community Outreach & Student Recruitment
VJ Kumar is a lifelong learner - he says: “Don’t let your age stop you from going to school.”
A native of Dubai, India, VJ is a Pharmacy Technician Career Studies Certificate program student and is excelling in his classes. After his education was delayed due to his genetic polycystic kidney disease, family responsibilities, and assisting in building a start-up company in Dubai, VJ at age 67, knows it was never too late to pursue his college dreams.
After serving in the financial consulting field for over 17 years, VJ is currently working with an independent financial consultancy practice. His job entails helping individuals with retirement plans, annuities, life and health insurance, long-term care coverage, and education savings plans to ensure his clients’ needs and goals are within their budget.
But, VJ is a true believer in being a lifelong learner as he noted, “It doesn’t matter what age you are (when) going back to school, and it doesn’t matter what challenges you are facing. You can still pursue your dreams. It’s imperative to continue with your education to help you diversify in other high-demand career areas.”
VJ is always looking for ways to diversify his skills and knowledge. While working as a financial consultant, he researched high-demand jobs and realized jobs in the cyber security field would continue to be in great demand - meaning qualified professionals would be needed. This realization led VJ to pursue cyber security classes in hacking, networking, and troubleshooting, as his new-found knowledge would enable him to be prepared if his company faced a cyberattack.
Recently though, VJ took a break from his cyber security studies to work towards a Pharmacy Technician Career Studies Certificate at Reynolds as he wanted to better understand how medications could impact the clients he works with in his insurance business.
Taking advantage of the Re-Employing Virginians (REV) and the G3 tuition assistance programs at Reynolds, VJ was awarded tuition assisting grants as both programs support Virginians in upskilling and pursuing career paths in selected high-demand fields. VJ had one semester of tuition paid for through the REV program, and he is currently using G3 grant aid funds to cover tuition and book/supplies for his classes this fall semester.
“Acquiring the Pharmacy Technician Career Studies Certificate also adds another career option,” VJ added, as the specialized knowledge will give him an edge over other insurance professionals in his field.
VJ describes a college education as not only a way to secure a job, but also allows a person the opportunity to acquire different skills to help their career advancement. After his wife lost her job as a travel agent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, VJ said it was confirmation to keep having the mindset of continuing his education.
“I love that Reynolds professors and faculty members are proactive for all students - as well as supporting students in their college education by helping them understand the course materials and answering any questions that students may have,” says VJ.
“The most important piece of advice I tell adult learners is to not look at school as just getting a job, because you can get a job anywhere. Instead, look at attending school as pursuing the dreams and passions you want out of life to become successful,” VJ said, as his consistent focus on academics has helped him obtain a 4.0-grade point average. “If students put in the required effort towards their academics, then they can achieve a high GPA, which will go a long way to carving their career path.”
Fun facts about VJ: He is the oldest of his brother and two sisters. He has a wife, a son, and daughter. His father was a first-generation student who inspired him to pursue a college education. His hobbies are playing soccer, table tennis, and chess. He enjoys listening to all genres of music, dancing with his daughter, traveling to the mountains, and looks forward to one day becoming a grandfather.