Have you ever realized you are wasting time and money? For me, this moment came in January of 2020. Actually, the day was January 21, 2020. I was working in the “box,” better known as the Fuels Service Center. The place where all United States Air Force Fuels Operations pass through. I had been in the Air Force for eight years, 11 months, and 21 days. If you have been in the military, you know the underlying mission is “education, education, education.” I joined the Air Force for education benefits and to travel the world.
Well, I sat in my chair staring at the computer screen, unhappy, unsatisfied. I went and looked at my college transcripts in my record. The first thing I looked at was my first college course. I failed it. Embarrassed, I did not want to keep looking. This course, an introductory course in Statistics, had been holding me back for the last 6 years and some pocket change. I scrolled down further and, low and behold, I only needed 17 credits for my Community College of the Air Force, Associates in Applied Science. I said, “Wow, only 17 credits? I could do that in my sleep.” The wheels started turning.
So, I got to work, looked at the options available to me, and had (pre-COVID) three months left on my deployment. I made some jokes to coworkers. I told them it was easy to knock this out before we went home.
They thought I was just joking, but I had made up my mind I would do this. The biggest reason my fellow airmen all thought I was messing around is that, before this moment, I said, ”college was dumb, college is a waste of time, you don’t need it.”
I looked at all the resources available to me, there are a lot. The most massive thing I saw, $37,650 had been wasted. I applied to university, got accepted (thankfully, someone took a chance). I started my first class, College Algebra. My fiancée helped me through the course; she has been my biggest supporter. I got my first “A,” a 4.0, WOW!
Next thing I know, I took a CLEP and a DSST—two kinds of college-level equivalent tests for credits. WOW! I had six credits, and only 11 credits left for my C.C.A.F. AAS.
I finished my AAS before the three months finishing 18 credits. I am still on this deployment, but I have now completed 36 credits since January 21, 2020, and will finish my bachelor’s degree from a private university I have wanted to go to for a long time. I met my mentor and am looking at potentially transitioning from the military. I say all of this with such optimism because when I was looking at my transcript; I was disappointed in myself; I had let my parents and myself down, and I had wasted thousands of dollars. Now though, I have finally #failforward.
Jacob Brown is a former professional athlete turned businessman, entrepreneur, and inspirational speaker.