Kim Thompson: Army wife learns it is never too late to complete your education
Program Completed: Human Resource Management at American Military University
What 3 tips would you share with military spouses to help them reach graduation day?
- 1. Utilize a “to do” list/calendar to stay organized and on top of assignments. It’s easy to get distracted or let things slip through the cracks.
- 2. Set aside quiet time (even if it’s at 1 AM after everyone’s asleep) to focus on YOUR schooling. Too often we are busy taking care of everyone else (laundry, cleaning, packing school lunches, etc.) that we don’t set aside time for what’s important to us.
- 3. Believe in yourself ~ don’t give up! You will have such a feeling of accomplishment when you hang your diploma on the wall. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at mine and think all my hard work finally paid off. Every research paper, every midterm, every discussion board was worth it.
What has your journey with education been like?
It started out on a good note as I began community college right after high school. It then stalled as my part-time job turned into a 25-year career with a great company. On-the-job experience and a culture of “promotion from within” replaced the hours spent attending a brick and mortar school in the late 1980’s. A job requiring me to work long hours did not allow for the time to attend classes. Since my job was secure and I moved up the corporate ladder, I did not mind this path my life had taken. However, life events and circumstances can change things and when presented with the opportunity to utilize my husband’s Post 9/11 GI Bill; I jumped at the chance to finish what I started 25 years ago. I knew that our recent PCS would take me away from the company I had worked for and that a college degree was now required for even the most entry-level type of job.
Human Resource Management was the obvious choice. The majority of my jobs over the years were within the realm of HR so it made sense to select this degree program. The HRM classes covered topics that I had dealt with on a regular basis, and I found that I could easily apply real-life work experiences to the lessons.
Did you face any challenges in pursuing your education? If so, how did you overcome them?
Not a one! Luckily, my family was very supportive of my decision to return to school and my determination to finish my degree by the deadline I created (35 credits transferred from community college ~ this left 90 credits to complete toward my bachelor’s…took me 18 months from the day I signed into my first class until I submitted my final paper…all while working full-time). Online learning is perfect for anyone who also works full-time, has a family, etc. and still wants to have a life outside of work and school.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
I had hoped to secure a job with my degree. Sadly, 25 years of experience meant nothing when applying for a job. So many employers require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum qualification. When applying online, if I didn’t have a bachelor’s degree, I quickly received a “thanks but no thanks” type of reply. Having my degree gave me the confidence I needed to show a future employer that I had both on-the-job experience as well as higher education. After our PCS last summer, I am happy to say that as my 25-year-career came to an end, I was hired 2 days later by Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley Northern Nevada, Inc. where I currently work in the Human Resources Department.