By LaQueshia Jeffries
It was early 2007 and our family (a soldier, a wife, and three boys) had just arrived on Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. As far as moves go, this one was pretty seamless. The flights, although sleepless, were manageable enough. And thanks to the competent and friendly housing staff, we were quickly placed in a nice home. Situated atop a beautiful hilltop with a bit of an ocean view, I was in heaven. Then, for good measure, all of our household goods arrived undamaged.
My husband was tasked with immediately jumping into his new job, which required frequent TDYs (temporary duty) back to the States. Majestic as Okinawa was, I knew I was at a place where I needed more to keep me mentally stimulated. To say my hands would be full in our new duty station would be a hilarious understatement.
Always a go-getter, I had fully intended to complete a bachelor's and master's program by this time in my life. Perhaps it was the peaceful aura of the island that brought my personal dreams back to the forefront. Either way, they were back and I wasn't going to let them slip away. After the unpacking and settling-in frenzy ceased, I started a search of my own.
I knew going to traditional classes was out of the question. At home with me were a kindergartner, toddler, and infant. Needless to say, it was during the nighttime hours that I researched online schools. Pretty aware of "diploma mills," schools that take your money and hand you a degree, I was determined to find rigorous courses. An avid information gatherer, I wanted a place where I could truly learn and expand my knowledge base.
Enter Western Governors University! A Google search for Teacher Programs produced WGU's link. That evening I read EVERYTHING on the website. I knew this was the school I was looking for. No mandatory chats and replies like other schools. Just competency-based learning – exactly what I was looking for. Additionally, my husband qualified for the post-September 11 G.I. Bill®, which fully covers my tuition expenses.
The military lifestyle calls for many spousal sacrifices. But online education gave me a way to reclaim my personal dreams. It made school possible for me again. One day I will be a highly qualified instructor, and when that day comes, I will have Western Governors University to thank.
LaQueshia Jeffries is a WGU student working toward her bachelor's degree in social science in the WGU Teachers College. She lives in the Chicago-land area.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.