Pursuit of learning builds confidence for a new career

Posted on

Casey Jones

Casey Jones describes himself as a naturally nervous person. A bespectacled young man with a distinctly intellectual bearing and a purposeful way with words, Casey comes across as the kind of nerdy-cool college kid you would find in the library of any university in the country. But pulled out of public school after the 6th grade, he had become accustomed to homeschooling alone, away from the stress of other people.

While he was still in his teens, he began to recognize that homeschooling wasn’t getting him to where he wanted to be in life. His longstanding appreciation for the profession of nursing was driving him to pursue a career in medicine. However, without even a high school diploma, a medical career felt like an impossibility. He knew that in order to move forward with his life, he would have to face down his social anxiety and figure out another way.

He finally made the choice to pursue his GED (General Equivalency Diploma) at Southern Regional Technical College’s Tifton campus. After years away from public school, the prospect of classrooms filled with people made him feel even more nervous than normal. At the beginning, he fought an uphill battle with anxiety while making up for the years of high school that he had never attended.

“Every day, I was shaken, even a little nauseous. But soon, I found that everyone in the class was here for the same reasons I was. They were all driven, and polite, and accepting.”

He also found a teacher, Judy Abell, who saw that he had exceptional potential.

“Casey was very dependable, and displayed excellent study and work ethics. Other students would often turn to him for assistance if they were struggling with an assignment.”

Mrs. Abell encouraged him to take part in the Blitz Program, an accelerated GED option that is more intense, and more difficult. For Casey, Blitz was a perfect fit.

“I was able to move at my own pace. Yes, some of it was challenging, but I was thriving.”

In just a few months, Casey earned his GED. After working hard and pulling off the equivalent of four years of high school in a fraction of that time, Casey now unpretentiously admits that even he was impressed by what he was able to accomplish.

“I am proud of the fact that I not only passed my GED, I passed with honors.”

For most of his life, Casey had furtively dreamed about going to college. Because of his family’s financial situation, he had practically given up on his hopes of becoming a college graduate.

For a long time, I thought I would never get the chance to go to college. Literally no one in my family has ever gone. College just seemed unattainable for me.”

As he worked toward his GED, Casey began realizing that adding a college degree to his resume was a realistic goal for him. With the help of SRTC’s faculty and staff, he discovered grants and scholarships that would make attending college a financial possibility. By the time he earned his GED, he had also uncovered a new sense of confidence, so he decided to make the leap and he is now working on his ASN (Associate Science of Nursing) degree at SRTC. After he earns his ASN, he plans to take advantage of the articulation agreement between Southern Regional Technical College and Valdosta State University and earn his BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

As Casey talks about his bright future, his posture visibly changes. Success in college, career, and a better life ahead are ideas that suit him well. Casey might describe himself as a nervous person, but the impression he leaves is one of a young man who is compassionate, considerate, and appreciative of the opportunities ahead.

Now that I’m actually here, and everything is working out so well, it’s nice, it really is.”

SRTC offers free adult education (GED) classes at 11 locations in Southwest Georgia. For more information on the GED program, visit SRTC’s Adult Education online at: http://southernregional.edu/adult-education-ged.

SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to www.southernregional.edu.