James - 73
I had very low student discipline while attending high school although I had a high IQ, so I was told. Put off doing the required home work. But I was attentive in the classroom & read all the required books. My test scores were always high, top 10%, but the missing home work was a major factor in my failing nearly every subject for the first two semesters. In my second year I changed and started studing in earnest but it was too late. Because I was so far behind at the end of my 2nd year I was expelled. Being now just turning 17-years old, I felt that I had made some major mistakes and the military would give me the second chance. My entry tests, academic, physical etc were all very high, so I was admitted. Later I was told that the tests were high enough for OCS admission, but I lacked some requirements such as; not being 18 1/2 years old and not having a HS diploma, this was in 1956. I was getting regular promotions ahead of others, E3 in 10-months & E4 8-monthes later plus while a E3 I was a squad leader with some of the squad that out-ranked (E4s & E3s) me. I immediately proceeded with acquiring my GED which I accomplished with a high score, top 10% then started taking “home” accredited study courses. All these had supervised (Officer and/or NCO) tests to assure non-cheating. Some were through The United States Coast Guard Academy (Navigation & Math) and others from USAFI. When I became 18 1/2 with a HS GED certificate and some college, I applied for OCS (my CO recommended me) and was turned down, the requirements had been raised to two years of college, bummer. So now I continued with my studies, when I finally got my two years of credits, they had yet again raised the requirements to a full four year degree. By this time I was at the end of my enlistment and decided to not re-enlist. Later during the Vietnam war the OCS requirements had fallen to a HS diploma and for battle field commissions to less than that. Upon discharge, I continued taking classes at night and also took two-years full time in addition along with additional engineering courses and supplemented with some non-accredited home study courses. I now have aprox 270-credit hours of which aprox 235-hours are accredited of which half of those are actual class room time. I have a good reputation in my industry (Structural Engineering & Metal Fabrication) and never have a difficult time finding meaningful employment, always being contacted by businesses that heard about me. And this was thanks to the GED tests. Considering that the average high school grad and 25% of the college grads cannot pass the GED, it should say a lot.
Thank you for sharing your story with us! It sounds like you’ve really done a lot with your life so far. You’re an inspiration to students everywhere!