Focus on education and work at the same time!

Today’s post is from a close friend of Jack’s: Sir Kurt Williams. Raised by a single mom with two younger brothers, Kurt entered the workforce at 16 and has been toiling away ever since to support himself and help his family. Meanwhile, he’s been chipping away at his education and is now ready to take on the final chunk!

After sporadically piling up credits from community college in his 20’s, Kurt recently wrote this essay to transfer to an excellent university. Of course, he was accepted, and you’re about to read why! Kurt has a bachelor’s degree finish line around age 33-34, and he’s recently accelerated his efforts to complete his degree.

The amount of work that Sir Williams has accomplished, both professionally and as a student, has proven to be a great example of Progressive Overload. Just a little bit more each year, and he’s built the discipline and habits to accomplish more than he ever thought possible. And he’s just getting started!

Sir Williams is renowned for his diligence in matters of most importance. He evaluated five colleges for their costs, quality of education, attentiveness of staff, and overall value. Many backs of envelopes were sacrificed in the calculation process.

Enroll in an adult education program to complete your degree

With one month down and fourteen more to go, Sir Kurt Williams will be the first member of his family to earn a bachelor’s degree!

At this stage of his hustle, Kurt is working 40 hours per week while managing 12 credit hours. He has one final community college course to complete his associate’s degree, and he’s also enrolled in an adult degree program.

That’s a helluva a commitment, a load that requires intense management and dedication.

Grind it out, dear friend!

Without further ado, please extend a warm welcome to Sir Kurt Williams!


Challenges Returning to Higher Education

My most challenging obstacles for going back to school are time, money and self-doubt. To grow up on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder is hard. This upbringing develops into a cycle of myopia, causing failure to invest in the future. To live paycheck to paycheck hinders time management skills and creates a lack of confidence that is difficult to change. I believe that I am closer to breaking this pattern of hindrance.

Self-belief is the most important trait I need in order to achieve my goals. Though I struggle with insecurity on daily basis, it decreases a bit with every accomplishment. Failure is underrated. It is okay to fail as long as one bounces back up, with the determination to gain knowledge on how to improve. After I lost my fear of failure and used it as a learning tool, the timidity slowly started to erode.

To juggle family, friends, work, and school is challenging. Finding enough hours in the day is almost impossible. Time management is essential for me to have a healthy balance of each facet of life. I make sacrifices at times, putting more time in one area and not the other. I achieve equilibrium by weighing the consequences of my actions and looking at the final outcome, a cost/benefit analysis of where my time is needed most. Have I studied enough this week? Do I really need to go over to my friend’s house? My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, but do I sacrifice schooling in this case? I have found a system that works best for me. This routine is not glamorous or fancy, but it is effective. I work for 8 hours, return home and study for about 2-4 hours Monday through Friday. On Saturday I study for another 2 hours at least, and then again for another 2 hours on Sunday. This system gives me the balance of a social life and provides structure to achieve my school goals.

Money has been the hardest obstacle to overcome. Without a college degree, my earning potential is limited. This conundrum is a catch 22: I need more money to pay for college, but I need a college degree to make more money. I am in the low-income bracket, and often I hear the answer is “federal aid can pay for a good amount of school. This is true, but most grants are for full-time students, not part-time students. My solution to this problem involved discipline and luck. I applied for scholarships. These financial gifts help me to believe in myself and to have the faith that other people believe in me. I know that paying for a four year university will require a combination of grants and loans, and I am prepared to invest in my future even if it means going into debt.

I am under no illusion that the next few years will be easy. All of these obstacles will still exist, and more might appear. The financial burden will be heavier than community college. I have control of my self-esteem. I know that even if I stumble, I will pop back up and grind out the challenges I am faced with. The final payoff will be worth the sacrifices, and my life will be better for tackling these struggles. I will have broken this cycle of poverty and self-doubt.