03 February 2015

Think you can’t earn a college degree while being on active duty? Think again!

RallyPoint Team
Sometimes, when people reminisce about where they’ve been and where they’re headed, profound thoughts that are so simple, but so powerful, will emerge.  About a year ago, while Alan Arnold, Master Gunnery Sergeant for the United States Marine Corps, was preparing for Grantham University’s commencement program, he dropped one of those gold nuggets of truth. 

“I tell everyone,” he said, “do one of two things, join the military or go to college.”

Then he paused and added, “And if you’re lucky, you can do them both.”

What a remarkable goal: Be a part of the greatest fighting force the world has ever known and earn an online college degree at the same time. 

Arnold isn’t the exception to the rule, but rather part of a group who has found the solution that helps service members do both: a 100% online degree program.  

Consider another Grantham alum. Staff Sergeant Kevin M. Murphy, US Army, Associate of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies – stopped by to give his perspective on pursuing a degree while in the military.  

Q1: What’s it like earning an online college degree while serving active duty for your country?

If you want it that bad, you can make it happen. With the help of the discussion posts and teachers with good hours, it comes together and you find out it isn’t as difficult as you would think going into it.

Q2: Why do it? Why work so hard for a degree while on active duty, whether you’re deployed or not?

Preparing myself now to transition to the outside world will make that transition that much smoother. Knowing that I have the military experience and a degree from Grantham sets me up that much more for success. It also doesn’t hurt that while I am in, earning a degree is something the Army is looking at more and more for promotions.

Q3: What does a degree do for your career?

The Army is drawing down from the battle rhythm of multiple deployments. Being deployed every other year is no longer an excuse. They are more focused on who has taken the time, in conjunction with what is going on at work, to earn a degree and not stop at just one, but continue to earn it as long as they can. Why stop at an online associate degree when you can earn a master’s?

Q4: Do you have tips for military service members considering pursuing a degree on active duty?

At the end of the day, just get your degree. I have known soldiers in all different situations, duty stations, jobs and so forth that have been able to earn a degree. It’s a matter of how bad you want it. There are so many ways to get your degree - even if it is one class at a time, you’re earning it.

Do more than be inspired by Kevin's story. Do something about it! Check out Grantham today.

Learn more about Grantham University!: http://rly.pt/GranthamUniversity

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