“Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead”

Joshua Breitag's Headshot

Joshua Breitag has the above quote on his life-size whiteboard at home, it keeps him motivated and on track to graduate in fall 2016 semester. After finishing his duty in the military in 2007, Joshua went on to complete his Associate's Degree with a focus in AutoCAD engineering. He currently works as a level 2 designer for structural and geotechnical work.

Last fall Joshua received a letter that his GI Bill would expire in 2017, so it was pretty much a “now or never” decision to go back to school. With only one year left of benefits, but two years of school, he knew it would be a sprint to the finish line. He looked all over the country, local on-campus programs and national online programs, and decided that ASU Online’s Operations Management was a perfect match.

"I looked at several different degree programs. ASU had the best fit as far as my work/life balance and personal life balance and a degree that made sense for my field. It was a convenient program, and I saw Veterans programs set up so I knew they had dealt with Vets before.”

While most students may prefer to ease into school after a few years off, Joshua started at ASU with more than a full-time schedule, taking 15 credits his first two semesters and 17 in the summer. Even with his demanding summer schedule he still fit in a vacation, but he did have to drive around looking for an internet connection mid-vacation.

“While most people take the summer to relax or take a light load, I had to work extra hard and put in longer days over the summer.”

Joshua has been on the Dean's List more than once and attributes a lot of his academic success to his academic advisor, who advised him to stay organized through the use of a very large white board. He color codes quizzes, assignments and readings, so he immediately knows what’s ahead of him that week.

Another key to his success is rewarding himself with things he enjoys. He tries to finish all of his homework by Sunday so he can kick back and watch football. He also schedules a date night with his fiancee (who is pursuing her master's degree) at the end of the semester.

Last year Joshua started a new job, started school, got engaged and moved, all within 3 months.

“It can be overwhelming, and there are times when I’ve fallen behind, but I remain hard-headed and determined and have my ultimate goal, graduating this fall, in mind at all times.”

His favorite part about his classes is seeing how relevant it is to his work.

“I’d study something then see it in my workplace. I’d think “are they writing this book about us?” I could see what it meant and how to apply it.”

Joshua’s piece of advice to ASU Online students?

“Stay on top of your school work every day. I check my email or put some mental effort in every day. A lot of effort goes into scheduling and planning your school work, so make a plan and stick with it. Thanks to my whiteboard, instead of sitting around for 15-20 minutes trying to figure out what to work on, I come right in, look at my white board and know exactly what i need to do.”

Learn more about using your military benefits for ASU Online.

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