Taking the First Step: Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton’s college experience started in 2011 when he was stationed in Ventura County, California on naval duty. He realized if he wanted to propel forward, he would have to earn a degree, so went on to pursue Associate's Degrees in Electronics and Supervision Management. Shortly after graduation he began searching for bachelor’s degree programs and discovered ASU from an article in the Navy Times as a “Best College for Veterans.”

Jesse applied, and was accepted into the online Software Engineering Program in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, but after reassessing his timeline and future goals, shifted his focus to Organizational Leadership.

“In the military I’m in leadership roles everyday, so this program correlates directly to my job. I could see this being applied to our leadership development curriculum in the Navy program. I’m planning on writing a paper around how my learnings in this program can be spread Navy-wide.”

Juggling school, work and a family makes for a full day, everyday.

“I’m up around 4:30 or 5:00am, get to work around 6:00am, hit the gym, then work a full day. I get home and take some time to relax and be a dad and husband, then use the evening for schoolwork. It's all about coordination, if something falls off my plate, I have to reorganize and prioritize.”

Two main factors influenced Jesse’s decision to pursue higher education; the encouragement from the Navy to take advantage of the tuition assistance, and being a role model for his children.

Parents looking at tablet with child

“Statistically speaking, kids that have parents that graduate from college are more likely to go to college. I have plans to go on and get my masters degree. I want my kids to remember their Dad working full time while getting his bachelors then masters degrees.”

In terms of support services, Jesse has found help through tutoring services, ASU 42 (ASU Online student orientation), Financial Aid Advisors and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center. He especially appreciated the writing support around APA formatting and citations.

Jesse’s piece of advice for future Sun Devils; take the first step!

“The hardest part is taking the first step, it’s 90% of the challenge. The rest is keeping the momentum going. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 credits or 15 credits, make a plan and get it done. There will always be distractions, a demanding boss, family obligations, but you just have to navigate them and figure it out.”

Learn more about military benefits as an ASU Online student.

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