My college story is different than most who attend college. My father was in the Air Force, and as a student I attended Department of Defense schools in many different states, and even in Japan. In 1992, my family moved to Monahans, Texas to live with my grandparents due to my dad becoming sick and not being able to work. When entering Monahans High School, I had more credits than I needed to graduate so I only had to attend school for two hours a day, while working the rest of the day. Upon graduation with the other 150 plus students in my graduating class, I knew two things: I did not want a desk job and due to my travels with my family in the Air Force, I wanted to be anywhere but the Permian Basin. So, two weeks after graduation I found myself in San Antonio attending Air Force boot camp. From May to September 1992 I completed all my basic and technical training required and had earned several college credits from the United States Air Force Community College.
However, it was at my first duty station at Minot Air Force Base in Minot, North Dakota that I realized that I was going to need a college education if I was going to achieve my goals in the Air Force. It was during this time that I met a Senior Master Sargent who had been stationed with my dad several times. It was while in the breakroom that we were interrupted by a young 2nd Lieutenant who had only been out of officer training school for a few months who was giving orders to a 2nd Non-Commissioned Officer, who had served in the Air Force before the Lieutenant was even born. Seeing someone so young serving as an officer and giving orders to someone much older, I asked the man how he felt taking orders from someone so young who could give orders because he had a college degree, while he did not. This was when he told me that he also had a degree and that if I wanted to retire at a higher rank than most, I would have to get one as well to help set myself apart from the others. This is the day that I decided that I needed to go to college.
The problem with decision is that even though the Air Force wants you to attend college and they promote this, the needs of the Air Force come first, which makes it difficult at times to attend college. So after 6 years in the Air Force and almost 70 hours of college credits from many colleges and universities in the areas I was stationed, I decided to leave the Air Force and pursue my college degree full time. When returning to Texas, I attended Odessa College, but was new to attending college full-time. Even though I had attended colleges in the past, this process was different. The classes that I had previously taken while in the service lacked the rigor of the classes at this traditional college setting. It was also more difficult as throughout high school college was not on my mind and the classes that I took were more in the trade route (such as welding and auto shop) than academic. Also, it was more difficult as I was now 24 and was having to work 60 to 70 hours a week so that I could pay my bills. After my second semester at OC I transferred to Angelo State University where I pursued my Bachelors in Government, with a minor in history with a teaching certificate. However, after 3 years (due to only 18 of my 70 hours transferring to ASU) or working full time and taking 12-15 hours a semester I was tired and fearful that I would not finish, so I decided to drop the teaching certification portion of my degree and concentrate on my Bachelors in Government. It was not until many years later and after being married, that I returned to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin in Odessa