By Brittany Garcia-Ortiz, Air Force Spouse
Hi, my name is Brittany Garcia-Ortiz, and like many, I am a military wife and mother. Many people who write these essays will probably tell you that getting a degree would mean financial security for them and their family in the future, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t in the same boat. Of course, a financially secure tomorrow is something I would love to have, but my degree means so much more to my family and me. I hope to show you what obtaining my degree could mean to me and why it is so important that I reach my goal.
Right now, I am working on my B.S. degree in Microbiology and hope to go on to medical school. With my degrees, I hope to go into research to help people who suffer with substance abuse issues and have personality disorders. My father inspired my degree choice when he passed away from his drug addiction two years ago. I grew up watching my father go in and out of rehabs and jail because of his addiction, and watching him slowly disintegrate before my eyes hurt me in ways that can’t be described. I honestly believe that people with substance abuse problems do not want to remain stuck in that particular lifestyle and hurt themselves and their families. I know, even with my research and possibly designing a program, I can’t help/save everyone, but even if I can help some people, reduce the amount of repeated offenders, and save some people some unnecessary pain, it would all be worth it.
Working on my degree has not been an easy task thus far. I obtained my AA degree May 2012 from Brevard Community College while living in New Jersey (husband and I were stationed there). While trying to obtain that part of my degree I worked full time to pay for my tuition and bills. After obtaining my AA degree, we were moved to Wyoming, where I found out I was pregnant with twins June 2013. Shortly after my stepfather passed away from a heart attack. I was determined to keep pursuing my B.S. degree, so I kept going to school while I was pregnant during the Fall semester. I was unable to attend school during the Spring since I was due to have my babies in March. Unfortunately, I gave birth to my babies 5 weeks early, and my son’s sister did not make it. I returned to school in May as a full time student and mother. I know many men and women are full time parents and go to school, but my heart is truly broken and made it very hard to go back even though I am glad that I did. I also did not want to give my son any excuse to not go to school and make something of himself in the future.
Here is the part where the financial security comes into play. It is no secret, the military is making cuts and many are fearful for their jobs. Unfortunately, my husband and I have no idea if/when his time will be up with his service in the Air Force, and having a 5 month old son has us on more pins and needles than what it would have been if it was just us alone. It is hard to find a job with or without a degree, but obtaining a degree would increase my chances of gaining stable employment. Even if my husband was able to remain in the military, obtaining my degree would put us at ease for when he was to retire, and be able to maintain a steady income. I do not want my husband to come out from his time in the military to only worry about what happens next, and if we will be able to survive. I also want to make sure my son has everything that he needs, and we won’t have to worry about not having enough to live on.
I know you have hundreds, if not thousands of essays to read and many deserving candidates, but I hope you take mine into true consideration. I am determined to obtain my goal and will be ecstatic when I do. I already have dreams about graduation day when I can walk across that big stage with the crowd cheering, and my husband and son in the stands. This degree is more than just a piece of paper or job security, it is something that shows the world that no matter what you go through, you can make something of yourself and depending on what you choose, help pay good fortune forward.