I am sure that there are many people that made the decision to further their education many years after High School. Some, may not have achieved receiving their High School diploma, and went back to achieve their GED. One of the strongest considerations could be that they don’t like their current job or career. With today’s recession, there is a possibility that landing a job is far more difficult then before; with jobs closing or laying people off.
I did not have a job at the time I decided to go back to school, but that was not the reason. As crazy as it may sound, I decided to try online-college to keep myself busy. Why was staying busy important to me? Because after an earlier attempt, (which I failed miserably) to stop drinking; I felt doing something would keep the urge at bay. That never became the case after 3 months of treatment in Saint Cloud Minnesota, which is a veterans hospital. I had no desire to drink anymore, but I wasn’t taking any chances. I can’t say that the treatment deserved all of the credit, cause I still had to do it myself.
I was in the United States Army from 1986-1993. I did not get too involved with the VA until 2007 when my drinking problems were at an all-time high.(No pun intended) I learned from a fellow veteran that with the GI bill, I could still achieve a college education online, if I didn’t have the means to get to a specific college. It definitely caught my interest but unfortunately, you can’t be out of military service over 5 years in order to receive benefits for any kind of education. I was able to enroll in Vocational rehab mainly because I have partial hearing loss in my right ear. And since that was considered a disability, Vocational Rehab would pay for my education.
When I made up my mind that I was really going to do this, I had to decide which online college would be right for me. I found three that caught my interest. After I applied, all three of the colleges called me. I decided to pick the college that got to me first, and that was American Inter-Continental University. Since this was a one time shot, I looked at what degree I should be able to handle, after all I never did any schooling at a college level, and I am 44 years old. I chose Associate in Business Administration. My student adviser gave me pointers on how to fill out my second application, and just like that the president of the school approved it.
After I passed my first 2 classes, I finally landed a job at Hy Vee. (retail, groceries) My biggest fear was that my job would make it more difficult to complete my assignments. But since I worked graveyard shift it worked to my advantage to study after work. I had such a difficult time with Algebra that I came so close to dropping out. Then I realized that was the old me talking. It was definitely the hardest class to get through but I somehow managed to get a B. My classes lasted 5 weeks at a time before the next one started and had until midnight at the end of the week to complete them.
It became such a routine every week that it became easier as the weeks passed. The weeks turned into over 2 years, and I graduated on the 11th of June, 2011. Last week to be exact. Since it was online, I was unable to make the ground ceremony in Chicago, Illinois but viewed it on a link the school provided. When it comes to me and learning, it usually grabs my interest if what I am studying seems interesting to me. Otherwise I don’t focus as much as I would like to. I hate numbers so that is probably why I didn’t like Algebra. I will receive my diploma 4-6 weeks.
Although 2 years of sobriety to me is considered a very long time, it took that long to act or think the way I did before my drinking started. I guess if your mind is so used to thinking a certain way, a sudden change in your habits took longer then I though to adapt. Not because of the lack of drinking, but the lack of focusing on everyday life. Sobriety is strongly under-rated.