Career/Education National Guard/Reserve

Twelve Years Out, and I Wanted to Go Back…

200314321-001Twelve years out of school and I wanted to go back. What was I thinking? Could I do it?  The answer at the end of a two year program was YES and I loved every minute of it.

Becoming a National Registered paramedic was the best decision of my life, not to mention a life long dream of mine.  To get started I just needed a push. Thankfully I had just the person in my life to give me that push, my husband Jason.  Getting started was the challenging part but with the support and encouragement of my husband, choosing a college close to home and one of the top three in the nation for my major, things went as well as could be expected.  I not only walked away with a degree, but I walked away knowing more about myself and who I was than I ever thought possible. I had a new found love for a career field I had already been in for 10 years. I also made some great new friends along the way. Yes there were bumps in the road but it was truly the best experience of my life.

How do I take care of a family, work, go to school and show my husband who is deployed support? My husband deployed the morning I took my placement test. Luckily I have a wonderful family and a great group of friends who wanted to see me succeed. They did everything they could to help. My mom became “Mimi to the rescue” for my daughter Laurynn. I am very fortunate being a National Guard family gives me the ability to stay in my hometown close to everything that is important to me.

My husband was also my rock going through school pushing me and giving me strength when times got tough and all I really wanted to do was give up. My husband had no problems extending his contract with the Army so that he could transfer his GI Bill to me. Not exactly a fast process so if you’re thinking about this I suggest getting the ball rolling 3-6 months in advance.  Once that process was taken care of, things went smoothly and my school was really great about working with me.  Once they knew I would be using the GI Bill they understood that it takes time, and that my bill for tuition would be paid but that we were waiting on the government.  Believe me there were far bigger bumps along the way than the GI Bill.

Working was also easy to work around. I already had my job I just needed a little help with my schedule to work around school. Since I was going to school to better myself in my career field that was no problem.  I also had some of the best professors anyone could ask for.  I never thought it was possible for people to believe in me and have so much faith in me when I didn’t have any in my self.  I’m not the best student, so school was tough for me.  I’m not one to sit and be lectured at, I have to be able to do it to understand and since my career has a lot to do with science it wasn’t always easy.

Support for my husband may have been the most challenging part.  Once again I’m one lucky girl because rather than me giving to my husband it was the other way around. This deployment was different he understood why he didn’t get boxes every week and if he did get a box he understood why it was just a bunch of stuff thrown in, without anything special.  He understood when we would go days without talking because our schedules didn’t match.  Sometimes I think that part bothered me more than him.  He even spent two days of his mid tour leave helping my class.  My husband showed me love, support, and encouragement the entire time he was gone, not that he didn’t on a regular basis but he really helped out while I was in school.

No matter how long its been since you’ve been in school if you have a dream and passion for something DO IT! I may have waited twelve years and struggled at times in those twelve years but I wouldn’t change one day of it.  I’m glad I waited and I’m glad I chose to go back.  College is truly a different experience for everyone but remember it is what you make it.  If you want it to be successful it may not be the way you envision it, but in some way it and you will be successful.  Good luck to all the future success stories.

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1 thought on “Twelve Years Out, and I Wanted to Go Back…”

  1. I just started school again after a 12 year break too, though all distance learning so far. I was feeling pretty in over my head and overwhelmed until I read this article. I need to prioritize, and finish writing down all my assignments for this week, and then I won't go nuts worrying if I'm going to forget an assignment or fall behind. I'm back to being excited again! I can do this too.

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