Two weeks in, I was told our unit would be deploying to Kosovo before the class ended. I had to drop out, putting my education on hold.In 2007, I deployed to Afghanistan. A benefit of six years of settlement was that internet access was almost everywhere. When I lived on Bagram Air Base, I even had internet access in my room. Access proved more difficult on other bases, where I had to wait in line for my turn at the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation computer labs. Schoolwork kept me busy between missions and proved a positive distraction during my fifteen-month deployment. I decided to change schools for my bachelor’s degree, and enrolled in CSU Global. I then became a drill sergeant – a job known for its long hours and demanding schedule. Basic training is split into three phases, Red, White and Blue. Red phase is the most time intensive, and my day usually started around 4:00 am and ended after 8:00 pm. During that phase there were countless nights when I would sink into my recliner after work and be woken by my wife on her way to bed. Despite the time challenges, I still completed college courses. I would plan around red phase, as best I could. Completing courses was not always easy. Towards the end of the course, I would have a final exam or a long paper to complete, which was a challenge to complete at home. Sometimes my wife would take our children to the park so I could have a quiet house for a couple of hours. I found an unintended benefit of online education is becoming comfortable with virtual group work, which is required by some classes. Working together over different time zones was good practice for the business world – and exposed me to virtual collaboration methods. Virtual teams are becoming used more frequently, and the experience has proved invaluable.
Working together over different time zones was good practice for the business world – and exposed me to virtual collaboration methods.I understand firsthand the difficult demands military service asks of its enlisted personnel. Online education provides the flexibility and freedom to balance education with a military career. Carving out a little time for your education will pay off greatly. Not only is it part of the career map, but it will better equip you for your life after the army.