G.I. JOBS VIRTUAL CAREER EXPO   I   MAY 25TH

Central Texas College Success Profile – James Stanley

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Tell us about yourself:

I’m from Texas. I’m married with one daughter. At the age of 17 I didn’t want to just sit in a classroom anymore so I went to the Army recruiter, sat down, and told them I wanted to join the Army. I just retired in 2013 after 20 years in the Army.

What prompted you to return to school?

In December 2010, I was told I had to go back to the States. I was in Russia at the time, and my wife was beginning to grow tired of all the moving. So she told me if I retire and go to school full-time, she would get a job. And I said, “DONE.”

Why did you choose Central Texas College?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought I’d be in the military until they kicked me out. When I was told I couldn’t stay in Russia anymore, I had this great desire to continue my education. So I started taking online courses from CTC while I was in Russia. And when we came back, I started taking more online courses from CTC until I retired. We own a house in Killeen, and since I was already taking CTC classes online, it was an easy transfer.

What military education benefits, such as the GI Bill, did you use?

I’ve been using the Post 9/11 (Chap 33) GI Bill since January 2013.

What has your experience been like as a student?

I’m studying business administration. I like those online classes. I told my wife, “I really like this, I think I’m going to be a professional student!”

What challenges did you have adjusting to campus culture after military life?

It has actually been really exciting. I enjoyed it. My wife wasn’t sure how I would take coming out of the army and adapting to civilian life, but she said I took to it like a fish takes to water. She was really surprised. I had spent 5 years working in the State Department, so being around people in the civilian world in a suit and tie all day helped make the transition easier. One day I’m wearing a uniform and the next day – Goodbye! And now I’m a full-time student at CTC.

Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student?

Yes I do. My military experience has given me a better ability to focus and work. My many travels have given me a better perspective. Attending college in my 40s has given me experience and insight that I didn’t have at 18, 19, 20. I appreciate it more now. I believe if I had gone to college out of high school, I would have been an average student. Now I am a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member, and I will be attending Arizona State U’s W.P. Carney School of Business come January.

What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?

You need to decide what is it you really want. What are you looking for? If you want to further your education, you need to know what you want to do to graduate. If you’re not disciplined, try to work with someone who can help you to be disciplined. There are benefits that are out there to help you.

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