2017 Orange Honors | Julia Kyser

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Julia Kyser

Earning a college degree would mean that I had enough education to move up on the pay scale in my employment in order to be able to not rely on my husband’s paycheck. For the last five years, my husband and I have shared a vehicle, meal planned, created free date night ideas, and more in order to save where and when we could. Moving comes at a price and while getting to see different areas and experience new things is often fun and exciting, there are certain downfalls as well.

Our family has moved four times in five years and has had to essentially restarted in each new area. Because one of the military’s requirements is moving frequently, I am not guaranteed employment or a steady income. While I actively look for employment at each new location, sometimes, the market isn’t all too receptive. In our current location, it took about four months to find a job in the field that I was practiced in. I am so thankful to have the opportunity that I do at the moment, but know that there is so much room for growth and promotions. I am considered “entry-level” because I have not worked for the business for very long. As anyone could guess, an entry-level position equals an entry-level paycheck. (And by all means, I am thankful for whatever money I do earn so to you, the person reading this, please do not think I am ungrateful. I know I am fortunate to have the ability to work!)

Because of this, I have been forced to be creative within the limits of my husband’s paycheck. Sharing a vehicle has been a great way to cut costs and to also have peace of mind knowing that my husband’s paycheck can pay for that vehicle if needed. If I were to get a vehicle for myself, I would have to worry about relocating and paying all of the expenses that come with a vehicle. While those expenses would hopefully be minimal, it would simply mean another thing chipping away at the amount my husband earns. With a college degree, my resume would stand out even more for potential employers.

A college degree would mean that I could walk into an interview and say “Yes, I understand that you, as the employer, are taking a risk on a military family, but I have the experience AND the education to make hiring me worthwhile.” It would mean that I could be more confident when someone asks me what I do. It would mean that I could take pride in knowing that while my husband is busy building his career, I am building mine at the same time.

Striving for a goal that not all have the opportunity to accomplish is another example of what a college degree would mean. Many military spouses often do not have the time to even think about attending school. There are a million different reasons as to why, but the numbers prove that many spouses are not as fortunate as their counterparts because of their counterpart’s employment demands. A college degree would change that and I would make those numbers decrease. I would also show the spouses that I come into contact with that it IS possible to be a military family and to better oneself at the same time. I would be living, walking, talking proof that earning a degree can happen, even during moves, or promotions or schools. It CAN be done….one just has to have the right mindset.

In addition, a college degree would be something that no one can take away from me. I will forever have the knowledge gained and have a document to prove it. Education is one of the few things that one can keep; can never not know; can never have stolen from them. It is something that sets one a part from others and can be built upon, as one can never learn too much.

Earning a college degree would mean the difference between being a wife (which is by far, the best accomplishment of my life) and being a wife that can stand proudly next to her husband saying “We did it.” I would be able to say that proudly, knowing that I not only supported my husband but did something for myself in order to create the life that my husband and I wish to have. It would be the building blocks of not only my career, but my character as well, as it could only make me stronger by pushing through any obstacles that might arise throughout my life.

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