Counselor inspires others to pursue, complete degree
Fort Benning Education Center /
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Working at the Fort Benning Education Center, we see a lot of Soldiers and family members that are interested in furthering their education, however, many believe that they do not have the time or resources to make it happen.
On the contrary, we also see a few that refuse to let anything stop them. Their stories are motivational and sometimes truly inspiring.
Our very own Army Continuing Education System guidance counselor, Kristin Wright, joined our team just a few months ago. We were impressed with how hard she worked to get where she is now, so we asked her to share some of her experiences in the hope it may inspire someone who thinks that it’s impossible to get a degree, to take the first step and believe that it is possible, if you just put your mind to it.
Here is Kristin’s story …
My name is Kristin Wright, and I am an Army Education Counselor at the Fort Benning Education Center. I have experienced numerous challenges personally, professionally, and academically all while pursuing a college education. Learning how to overcome the challenges I have faced have allowed me to be a source of knowledge and motivation for the Soldiers, military spouses, dependents, and veterans I work with every day.
What made you decide to pursue a degree?
I decided to pursue a college degree for a few reasons. Being a young mother taught me that having a college degree can open doors to many opportunities in a person’s life. As a young mother, I struggled with obtaining a decent paying job with only a high school diploma. I knew I wanted to provide a better life and provide my child with better opportunities throughout her own life, so I began my educational journey.
What were some of the obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
I faced a number of obstacles while I pursued my education. After getting married to a service member, being a military spouse, embarking on PCS moves and the difficulties that many families face during multiple deployments, I continued to pursue my education. I also became a mother to two more children along the way, so having three children all while balancing a consistent full-time job, and being a full-time student was difficult to say the least. These obstacles and more allowed me to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in a rather unconventional way. After dealing with life’s many challenges, I was able to complete my Bachelor’s degree in 8 years, and through much perseverance, I completed my Master’s degree in 15 months, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.
How did you balance school with work, family and everything else?
Learning to balance school with family and a job was certainly not an easy thing for me to do. I consider myself to be independent and self-sufficient by nature, so the hardest part of balancing school with work, family, and a job was learning to ask others for help. This proved to be especially difficult when my family and I were stationed overseas in Germany for four years away from our family, friends, and everything we grew accustomed to be “normal” in American culture. Balancing school with all of the everyday responsibilities I faced became significantly easier when I developed an excellent support system of other military spouses and families who helped me in a variety of ways. One of the most important tools I learned in helping me to balance school with work, family, and a job, was the importance of time management. When it came to school, procrastination was not an option. So many issues would arise unexpectedly…a child being sick, helping a child with a school project, staying late at work, the list was endless. Having proper time management skills allowed me to stay on task with things I knew needed to be completed. When I found myself inundated with responsibilities at home, work, and with school, I would plan ahead as often as I could to schedule in time to complete necessary tasks.
Is there anything you wish someone had told you about attending college before you started?
I wish someone would have told me that pursuing a college degree truly is difficult and requires a great deal of hard work for most people, including myself. Having said this, the obstacles I faced with completing my degree were mostly temporary and manageable. Looking back on my educational journey, I realize that the obstacles I faced while pursuing my education were worthwhile because they played a role in making me who I am today. I am a much stronger, more resilient, capable, and determined person because of the challenges I overcame. Even though I wish someone could have prepared me in knowing what to expect while pursuing a college degree, I realize that everyone’s experience will be different. Learning to overcome life’s many struggles will make the experience that much more meaningful.
What advice do you have for anyone considering college?
My advice for anyone considering college is to “go for it!” Completing a college degree is something that will be beneficial to you in so many ways. As a Guidance Counselor, I have worked with Soldiers who have been successful with completing a degree while balancing school with their military careers, others who are the first in their family to attend college, and those who are going to school to get a job and earn a decent paycheck. Whichever reason you have to go to school, set a goal for yourself. Try not to place all of your focus on your long term goals. Start small by making short term goals such as completing the class you are currently taking. Eventually, each class you finish is a step closer to yourlong term goal of finishing your degree. Make getting your college degree a priority, even if you need to take one class at a time. Don’t let anyone or anything stand in your way and keep you from achieving your goal of completing your degree.
What is your number one tip for being successful?
My number one tip for being successful is to stay focused, stay motivated, and stay positive. In reality, other responsibilities will arise while you are working toward your degree. Don’t let life’s day to day responsibilitiesdistract or deter you from achieving the goals you want to attain. Whether you are a Soldier, a military spouse, a military child, a veteran, or a civilian, you have the option of attending school and completing a college degree. Learning how to balance everyday life with school, being successful with managing your time among all of your responsibilities, and stayingmotivated, will help you to achieve your goal of pursuing your college degree.
If you or someone you know has an inspirational story that you would like to share, we want to hear about it! You can email Hillary.firstname.lastname@example.org