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Never Too Late

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Never too Late

I am sitting in Iraq November of 2011 after spending 8 long years which included two tours of combat with the 3rd Infantry Division / 2nd Brigade of Fort Stewart, GA and 6 years with Kellogg Brown and Root a US Contracting Company thinking: what shall I do next? I thought: it’s never too late to return to school and start a new career. I already have one retirement and I am young enough to start another. I contacted the Veterans Affairs, filled out the necessary paper work and my approval was granted. I said to myself, “This Tour Is OVER!!!” I had already started packing when suddenly I received an unsuspected notification that my wife of 15 years was medevac’d to Savannah, GA, with severe chest pain. At that very moment, my mind was in a state of emergency. I had to get home. Education was far from my mind, and prayer was in order. I realized this was going to be a long flight home.
Arriving and running through the Dubai Airport as I have done many times before was a nightmare because it was Ramadan and there were long exiting passport lines. Still, I had to remain calm so that I could get to my seat without feeling challenged by the diverse cultures surrounding me. Finally in my seat, I made a phone call to my oldest daughter to see how my wife was doing and to speak to the doctor or nurse if they were available, but they were still in surgery. This flight was 16 hours long and I realized that worrying would do no one good so I eased my mind; and begin to think what I wanted to study in school. I realized that back in the state’s education would be the key to all successes therefore; if I was going to make a living without bullets flying over my head, then becoming literate in a choice of study would have to become a solid new mission and personal quest. The plane landed at my final destination and I quickly moved through the terminals to retrieve my baggage and catch a taxi to the hospital. My mother in-law met me at the entrance of the hospital to give me some good news. I became calm, but was still eager to see my wife. When I laid eyes on her and heard her whisper, “Stand down Soldier, I’m ok”, I began to smile with tears of joy. After two months of settling in and caring for my wife, I began my quest to further my education. I made a choice to start my quest at Midlands Technical College because the reviews from the VA were comforting and many soldiers alike spoke well of the college. The course of study I chose was Early Childhood Education because of my love for children. I prepared myself to take the entry exam to see where I was on the college level and did better than I thought. I have not been in a school since 1991 so, the challenge was on. My very first semester was in the summer at the Airport Campus taking three core classes. Each day after class I would go home and sleep to prepare for work at nights; I’m an Armed Guard on Fort Jackson. I have plenty of down time after ten o’clock at night so; I would study and do homework. On my weekends off I would read and highlight all my notes from class. Every time there was an upcoming test, I would participate in a study group at different restaurants with individuals that I trusted and participated in class. I finished the Summer Semester with all A’s. Now, in the Fall Semester at the Beltline Campus, I am being challenged with the different environment at a different campus. The classes are so much larger than what I had adjusted to at the Airport Campus and it seems as though some students lack maturity. On my very first day at the Beltline Campus I thought I was at a strip show or some type of beach party. There were five young girls pulled out of my Child Development class because they were too exposed. WOW! What a day that was for me. I went home making calls to advisers to see if it was too late to return to the Airport Campus. I was advised to stay and return after the fall semester. So, I had to deal with the situation, readjust myself, maintain my integrity and focus on my goal of passing all my classes. This mission is important to me and failure is not an option.
The benefits of being educated and literate to me are knowing how to read, comprehend, communicate and have the opportunity to work higher paying jobs which can raise my standard of living. Traveling around the world in diverse cultures and environments has influenced me to expand my knowledge for knowledge is power in the eyes of all mankind. People will respect you more when they notice that you have a good head on your shoulders. I believe that a person who speaks with integrity and confidence will survive better than an individual with uncertainty stumbling in his/her course of actions.

To conclude my quest for higher learning, I would observe it is never too late to improve your quality of education. People often fail because they lack self-discipline and zeal and rely on others to direct them. Education is the key and it is never too late.

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