Our Staff would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank all of our ELI veterans and their families.
We would also like to highlight a story from one of our students about the impact that ELI has had on her military family to further their education.
We are proud to serve our veterans and hope that you can find inspiration from this story:
Adjusting at 30
I graduated high school in the year 2000, “The Millennium”. Just like most others, I did what I was expected to do right out of school, I enrolled in college. Although, I had three small scholarships and a job, my parents still paid quite a bit for my education. During my second semester, 911 happened. From then on my life took a different path. My high school sweetheart joined the Army and went to basic training and I quit trying and started worrying. After his training, we decided to get married (I was 20). We moved away from the only home I ever knew and 2 months later he was deployed to Iraq (for the first time). I was in a new place, knew no one, had no job and I was scared. I spent the next 7 months with my phone glued to my hip (hoping for him to call) if I left the house, I forwarded my calls to my cell. The only channel I watched was the news. Going back to school was the last thing on my mind. I became involved with the FRG (Family Readiness Support Group) and the friends I made will be bonded to me forever. When my husband finally came home I became pregnant with our first child. I was now a stay at home mom and when our daughter was 8 months old my husband deployed again, this time for 13 months. I had to take care of the home front (again).This time I had even more responsibilities. I took care of our baby, the house, the bills and remained part of the FRG. He decided that when his enlistment was up, he was getting out of the Army. I decided it was time for me to go back to school so I could get a job to help out with the unknown life outside of the military.
Unfortunately, the courses I took would not transfer to the college at our new home. I got frustrated and decided we needed money more then so, I got a job. I worked customer service for Cingular Wireless (now AT&T). It paid the most I could get with the education I had ($11.00/hr.). I had to work there for a year before I was even eligible for a raise ($0.25!). During a recession though, I was just happy to have a job. I knew that I didn’t want to do this type of work for the rest of my life and started entertaining the idea of going back to school. Before I set my plan in motion, I became pregnant again. Although, this gave me a reason to quit my job it also put school on the back burner for me once more. Online learning was foreign to me. I had always attended classes.
After the baby was born, my husband’s business started suffering due to the recession and with me not working, things got tight. So tight in fact he spoke to a recruiter to re-enlist in the Army. Luckily, he had placed his resume online and 2 days before he was to go re-up, he got offered a great job doing what he did in the military but in the civilian world. The catch, we had to move 1000 miles away AND he had to deploy one more time. The familiar new place, no job, no friends, 2 children and husband deployed (6 months). He came home and we’ve been here since. We were happy and stable. Then, it happened.
My father passed away very unexpectedly. I was devastated! That was the deciding factor. I was going back to school at 29 this time on my dime. My Daddy always wanted me to go back and it meant a lot to him. I kept promising him I would, now I HAD to! My girls were growing up and I needed to show them school is important! Problem, in order to make it happen, I had to take online classes. YIKES!
I was terrified but determined and I started slowly with only 2 classes. I was surprised at how different it was but at the same time, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Although, I prefer to attend classes, I like the fact that I can work at my own convenience. It will take me a little longer because of my adult responsibilities but at least I’m going. I wouldn’t recommend someone to wait until they are 30 to go back to school but, if life doesn’t go the way one plans, it’s not impossible. The best part, because of ELI, my husband has gone back to school for the first time since he graduated high school in 1999. It has definitely been an adjustment but, if we can do it, ANYONE can!