Touring the world is a dream for many aspiring musicians. For Seth Blake, 27, this has become a reality. The Ocala, Florida, native always knew he wanted to go to college, focusing his studies in the health sciences field. His educational plans became a little more challenging when his band, Wage War, was signed to a record label when he was just 21 years old.
While Seth was thrilled to perform and tour the world most of the year right alongside some of his best friends, he didn’t want to leave his educational goals behind. One of his goals was to graduate from his dream school, the University of Florida. Once Seth learned about the University’s online pathway to a UF degree, UF Online, he knew he had found a way to succeed and graduate, pursuing his music career while also simultaneously earning his UF degree.
BALANCING THE LIFE OF A ROCK STAR AND STUDENT
At 16, Seth never imagined spending his college years touring the world. The small band Seth and his friend started in High School soon turned into a professional music career for both of them. Today, Wage War has become a popular name in the heavy metal music genre, earning millions of views on their music videos and a growing number of followers on their social platforms.
Early on, Seth was able to take classes in-person while touring around Florida, accumulating enough credits to earn an A.A. degree from Lake Sumter State College in Leesburg, Florida. Yet when his band went next-level and signed a record deal with Fearless Records out of Los Angeles, California, Seth knew that doing the hard work to earn his bachelor’s degree would be a lot more challenging. He had originally planned on attending nursing school, but those plans quickly changed once he saw his new touring schedule.
Seth wanted to earn his degree from the University of Florida, but he wasn’t sure how he’d be able to do that while pursuing his successful music career. It wasn’t until he found out about UF Online that Seth knew he had found a way to pursue both of his dreams: music and going to college at UF.
FLEXIBLE FORMAT, SAME UF DEGREE
Seth wanted to stick to his original plan of earning a degree related to health sciences. While he knew most health-based majors require a lot of in-person labs, he found UF Online’s Health Education and Behavior (HEB) major taught by UF’s College of Health and Human Performance to be the ideal route for him.
“Doing classes online was the only way I could do school,” Seth stated. “I ended up calling UF Online, and they said that they offer online classes for students who can’t come to campus, such as those in the military, all the time. They even said that if you tell teachers your situation, they can be flexible with your schedule. That conversation made me decide that I can do this.”
Seth was relieved that UF’s HEB major would enable him to complete health and science courses online so that he could earn his B.S degree while on tour. He continued to say, “I was glad that I would have my bachelors under my belt as I would be a step ahead to another career once the band comes to an end in the future.”
UF FACULTY GOING THE EXTRA MILE FOR EVERY GATOR
Seth admits it wasn’t always easy to finish his coursework on the road. There were times where he had zero Wi-Fi or data while his band was traveling. Starbucks became one of his favorite travel stops as he knew he would be able to use their Wi-Fi to access his classes. Since Seth knew his course deadlines may interfere with his tour schedule, he always made sure to let his professors know about his situation at the beginning of the semester.
“I can’t even express how much the professors were willing to work with me. There were times where if I knew for a fact that we had a long travel day and something was due, I would ask my professors to unlock assignments earlier or give me an extra day to finish something. They would always do it,” Seth emphasized.
With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a pause to Wage War’s touring schedule, Seth was then able to shift back to a full-time focus on his UF studies and complete an internship in-person at Absolute Health in Ocala, FL. As an HEB student via UF Online, Seth was required to complete a 15-credit hour, full-time internship to gain hands-on learning before graduation. Interning at a doctor’s office during a global pandemic was a change of pace for Seth, as he is used to performing on stage in front of thousands of fans.
“There were some days where I was helping with COVID testing and doing some really cool things that I never expected to do,” Seth said. “So, it was amazing to have that hands-on experience in the internship.”
Dr. Holly Moses, one of Seth’s Health Education professors, mentions that Seth always made an effort to stay professional. “Seth’s situation was unique and presented challenges. However, he communicated with me early and often.” Dr. Moses went on to say, “because Seth is a true professional and dedicated to his studies, he not only successfully completed his HEB degree but excelled throughout his internship.”
Seth, like all UF Online students, also had the benefit of a dedicated academic advisor that worked with him every step of the way. Erica Alexander, Seth’s academic advisor, thinks fondly of her time advising Seth over the years. “Seth was always on-top of everything, even with the demands of touring. I enjoyed being his advisor and seeing him through to the completion of his educational journey,” Erica said. “I know he will go on to do amazing and great things in this world.”
NOW A GATOR GRADUATE
As a recent UF graduate, Seth couldn’t be prouder of himself for continuing to push towards his degree. He says that one of his favorite experiences as a UF student was the professors and his academic advisor being so helpful to him throughout his journey.
One piece of advice Seth has for other students who have demanding careers or lifestyles is that there is no rush. “I knew whether I graduate at 27 or 30, that time is going to pass no matter what. So, I figured I can chip away at 1 or 2 classes at a time over the years.” Seth continued to say, “just know that you’ll be happy after you finish. It’s a great finish line to cross.”
Join us in congratulating Seth on this tremendous accomplishment. Seth’s story highlights how our online Gators go above and beyond to achieve their educational goals. No matter your career, lifestyle, or ambitions, UF Online opens the pathway to a UF bachelor’s degree without compromise. Go Gators!
The health sciences field is growing, and the need for experienced professionals is in high demand. With a degree in Health Education and Behavior from the University of Florida, you can expect to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to help your community live a healthier lifestyle. Focuses in health education and promotion as well as health studies allow students to design their coursework to fit their interest. This degree offered via UF Online prepares students for careers like environmental health emergency response specialist, protective services worker, fitness counselor, and much more. To learn more about our online Health Education and Behavior major, please visit the degree page .