Casey Jones describes himself as a naturally nervous person. A bespectacled young man with an intellectual bearing and a purposeful way with words, Jones comes across as the kind of nerdy-cool college kid you would find in the library of any university. But pulled out of public school after the sixth grade, he had become accustomed to homeschooling away from the stress of other people. While he was still in his teens, he recognized that homeschooling wasn’t getting him to where he wanted to be in life. His appreciation for the nursing profession 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, he would have to face down his social anxiety and figure another way. He 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 nervous. In 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.” Abell encouraged him to take part in the Blitz Program, an accelerated GED option that is more intense and difficult. For Jones, 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, Jones earned his GED. After working hard and pulling off the equivalent of four years of high school in a fraction of that time, Jones now admits that even he was impressed by what he accomplished. “I am proud of the fact that I not only passed my GED, I passed with honors.” For most of his life, Jones 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, Jones began realizing that adding a college degree to his resume was a realistic goal. 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 is now working on his ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) degree at SRTC. After he earns his ASN, he plans to take advantage of the articulation agreement between SRTC and Valdosta State University and earn his BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). “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.
Source: Tifton Grapevine