Make a Real New Year’s Resolution: Take a University Class
By Wes O’Donnell, Veteran of the U.S. Army and. Air Force; MBA Alumni, American Military University
Every year, people make a variety of New Year’s resolutions. Veterans aren’t immune to what I call the “resolution trap.” As we bid adieu to 2016, we feel the unbridled optimism of a new year’s possibilities, just like our nonmilitary counterparts.
Education: A Resolution that Sticks
I advise making a different type of resolution this year—focus on something that is important and obtainable. Your New Year’s resolution should be to take a small step toward achieving a lifetime goal.
A few years back, I transitioned out of the Air Force and into a leadership role with a top corporation. However, I found myself in a different type of trap. I soon realized that my calling was entrepreneurship. I had a vision and the fire inside to make it happen.
But I was also now committed to my career and responsibilities at home. What I needed was the right information and the opportunity to learn it. I discovered American Military University. It afforded me the freedom to utilize my Post-9/11 GI Bill, learn online at my own pace, earn prior credits for my service, and put me in touch with some great faculty.
Starting Small Led to More Classes
I started with one course. What surprised me was how well I liked learning online with fellow military veterans during active duty, on a flexible schedule that didn’t interfere with my other responsibilities. One class turned into other classes. I wasn’t fulfilling a resolution; I was invested in gaining skills and building a network that serve as part of a foundation for success today.
AMU’s Transfer Credit Program Helped Me Acquire My Degree
Using AMU’s credit transfer evaluation, I submitted a group of academic credits that I had earned while on active duty, as well as some community college credits I had stashed away. I quickly made progress on a bachelor’s degree in international relations with a personal focus on Russian studies. At the time, I believed a career in the intelligence community would provide the challenge that I sought.
I was still working in corporate America when I finished my bachelor’s degree. Within my company, the best path to advancement was to continue my education with an MBA.
Master’s Program in Business Leads to Entrepreneurship
AMU came through again with an incredible master’s program in business. The management tools that I learned convinced me that I had the knowledge and drive to start my own business, and taught me the value of lifelong learning.
I moved away from an interest in the intelligence community, quit my nine-to-five job and started a medical company in Dallas, Texas. What followed was an emotional roller coaster with extreme highs and severe lows.
I was able to forge through those tough times because of my military experience. Veterans have the stomach to take risks, to deal with ambiguity and to exhibit composure and creativity under extreme pressure. These abilities, together with the knowledge gained during my time at AMU, were a killer recipe for a lethal entrepreneur.
AMU Classes: Designed For Military and Civilian Needs
What’s the best part about keeping a resolution so life-changing? You can start right away. Classes at AMU begin monthly. Why wait for a traditional semester school when you can get started on your own schedule?
I am a vocal advocate of AMU because I trace my personal and professional success back to my education. AMU is a nontraditional school, but we in the military are nontraditional people.
While I’m a huge proponent of change and personal growth, I believe they come from within. It’s an instinct that has served me well in my military career. It’s time to make a resolution that you will actually keep—one that will develop you personally and professionally. It’s a resolution that can make your dream of lifelong learning a reality, one class at a time.