HER take on switching gears: A conversation with Elyse Segebart

Elyse Segebart
Elyse Segebart

After working in sales and insurance, Elyse Segebart, of Perry, decided she needed to switch gears.

“The jobs I held didn’t light my fire,” she said.

Her curiosity about technology, combined with her lifelong interest in art, inspired her to apply to ITT Technical Institute, where she started her college education. Segebart will graduate in September from Capella University with a bachelor’s degree in information technology, specializing in software development.

“I want to develop apps that make people’s lives easier,” she said.

Although her interests in art and technology might not seem related, Segebart’s artistic abilities give her an advantage in Android app development — apps have to be aesthetically pleasing to work well.


Balancing her job at Musco Lighting in Oskaloosa with college classes wasn’t always easy.

“I experienced burnout during the first year and a half,” she said.

Determined to complete her degree, she started reading books, like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” by Stephen R. Covey, which helped transform her thinking. She realized she was internally yelling at herself to get things done, rather than motivating herself. “Don’t shame yourself into producing something,” she said.

She also decided to learn about self-care. She became such an advocate for self-care that she was invited to speak about the topic at the Eastern Iowa EntreFest conference that was held virtually in June.

“I wanted to share the things I learned to help people protect their energy,” she said. In her presentation, she emphasized that self-care is more than just relaxing with a bath bomb — although that can be part of it.

“It isn’t something you do to escape life. It’s the things you do on a consistent basis to ensure your wellness,” she said.

For Segebart, that includes meditation, exercise and realistic calendar planning.


For example, she adds items to her calendar that she has to get done, like school assignments, and things that will keep her energy up, like meditation. She also takes care to schedule only what she can realistically get done and adds in “buffer” time for extra things that might pop up.

Meditation is her No. 1 tip for those who are trying to balance multiple priorities.

“Whether it’s a guided video on YouTube or an app, anything that makes you stop and just breathe for fifteen minutes twice a day will reduce your stress exponentially,” she said. It’s how Segebart got rid of the persistent feeling that her mind was racing and helped her focus on the task at hand — a crucial skill for a multi-year commitment like completing a degree.

She also recommends tossing out any self-care practices that don’t work for you. Segebart quit trying to complete big Sunday meal preps, which she found overwhelming. “I switched to just making overnight oats — that was one meal at least,” she said

For anyone thinking of going back to school, Segebart has a mantra that works for her — “It’s not forever.” Also, if you know a full class schedule won’t work for you, she says you shouldn’t try to complete your degree at warp speed. “I hear people say, ‘I have to have it done by this time.’ But why? Take it at your own pace,” she said.

Now that she’s almost done with her degree, Segebart could continue working full-time and develop apps on a freelance basis or perhaps work for an app-building company. Either way, she’s ready to celebrate. “It’s a major accomplishment in my life,” she said.

Quotes on learning

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

“Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.” – Rose Kennedy

“The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is to running.” – Simone Weil

Books about learning

“The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage” by Mel Robbins

“Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide” by Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella, Lisa M. Baumgartner


“Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential” by Barbara Oakley

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