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Bachelor 's Degree in Public Health
In one more semester, Eric, 30, will graduate from the University of West Florida with a bachelor’s degree in public health. In addition to his school responsibilities Eric serves in a leadership role in the Naval Reserves and works as a substitute teacher several times a week.
“I thought when I switched from active duty as a flight medic to the reserves in April, I would have a little more free time, but that hasn’t been the case,” Eric said. “Also, I recently got married, so now I have a wife and a nine-year-old. Plus, I am helping my mother remodel her Florida house since my father passed away this summer. Doing everything is definitely a balancing act. I read about people being a part of the sandwich generation, and now I am the poster child for it.”
Eric’s military training prepared him amply for his current status of working and going to school at the same time.
“You get used to documenting everything, being responsible, managing projects and sticking to deadlines, you have to because you wear so many hats in the service,” Eric said.
Eric and his wife, Whitney, keep up with all their chores and other checklists that include a breakdown of his assignment schedule with Excel spreadsheets and notebooks, including a Google calendar that syncs to their phones and laptops.
“Whitney went back to nursing school to get her RN, and she was raising a child by herself at the time,” Eric said. “We sat down and talked about me going back to school, and she said, ‘You can do this. We will find a way to make it work.’”
Eric recently applied to schools for graduate degrees. He wants to be a physician’s assistant, and he is waiting to hear where he gets accepted. He and his family will move for the ultimate part of Eric’s student journey.
“I found out about Complete Florida through a UWF email, and I can’t say enough good things about it,” Eric said. “Not only are there scholarship opportunities, which really help because the G.I. Bill is great, but if only covers so much, and there are always more expenses such as books and fees and such, but you get a coach who is good for answering questions and giving pep talks and playing with hypotheticals about the future.”
After finishing graduate school, Eric plans to return to active duty and pursue his dream of becoming a physician’s assistant for the Navy.
“I want to serve my community and my country by helping others when they need it the most,” Eric said.