How “The Spirit of Rocky” Helped Veteran Jason Hall Pursue a Degree (Student Profile)

By John Koehler May 11, 2019

Founded in 1951, UA Grantham was "military friendly" before the term existed. Nearly seven decades ago, this school was built for our military heroes, helping them gain the tools they needed to transition into the civilian world. Today, offering one of the lowest military tuition rates in the country as well as unique support systems like our dedicated student advisors, UA Grantham continues the mission to help students with a military background successfully transition into a new into civilian life.

Jason Hall, veteran and UA Grantham student, understands this. With just a few classes to go before graduating with his bachelor’s degree in business administration, Jason knows his education can help him work with established organizations or even start his own business. And given that he’s an up-and-coming artist in the music scene – the possibility of entrepreneurship is greater now than ever before. The educational foundation this program provides will help him leverage all his resources, skills and military experience to capitalize on any new opportunities that come his way.

We talked to Jason about the journey that led him to UA Grantham — and how it will prepare him for future success.

The spirit of Rocky

Jason was raised in a household with two military parents. They bounced around a lot; it was a rough, difficult upbringing. He found himself lacking direction, trying to figure life out. He was a wild teenager and he says there wasn’t a discussion about whether he would apply for college or join the military; people assumed he just wouldn’t go very far.

"I wasn’t encouraged at all," Jason says. “Nobody cared.”

He doesn’t sound bitter when he talks about this — everyone was just in their own worlds, worried about their own things, he explains — but he knows it’s that kind of apathy and self-involvement that can create painful situations.

After high school, however, his mindset changed. He was ready to be responsible. He was prepared to do the right thing. Tired of feeling “less-than,” Jason decided he would refuse to lose from there on out. He adopted what he calls “the spirit of Rocky.” He keeps fighting; he doesn’t tap out. He joined the Marine Corps. Some people, he says, enlist for country. He enlisted to survive.

When it was time for reenlistment, though, the position he really wanted was already filled. Another officer asked him, “You want to be a soldier or are you just looking for a job?” Jason admitted he just wanted a job. He loved being in the military and appreciated the opportunity, but his heart wasn’t in it. After an honorable discharge, he pursued a paralegal certification and then decided to go for his bachelor’s degree – with help from his G.I. Bill funding benefit.

The benefit of an online program

Jason deals with anxiety and depression as well as issues with his back. He says the chance to pursue his education online was a game-changer. Students struggling with chronic pain or other mental or physical issues, like many veterans, may find it difficult to make it out of the house at all, much less to maintain pace with a traditional on-campus class schedule. Self-paced online degree programs make it possible for students like Jason to choose how and when to fit classes into their schedule. They can keep making progress rather than feeling forced to leave school.

Through the VA, he sought vocational rehabilitation training, which helped him while dealing with his anxiety and back problems.

“They gave me an opportunity to pursue my education, as well as be an inspiration to others.”

Keeping clear of procrastination is essential. Jason advises other students to make sure keep up with their studies. Staying mindful of how they manage their time and breaking up the work makes it easier to get it all done. He admits that it can be hard to have those spur-of-the-moment conversations with instructors and peers in an online environment, but that it’s worth the extra time he might have to wait between messages to keep those discussions going.

Self-discipline is also crucial. It can be easy to stay on your phone all the time or to find yourself in a rabbit hole of internet videos, but Jason says to get off YouTube and start working.

“You gotta have self-discipline, that’s the greatest thing,” Jason says.

He says that being in the military helped him learn to value discipline, honor, courage and commitment, and that those are now essential to his success and to setting himself up for the future.

The value of a team

At UA Grantham, Jason is getting great support from a team that’s dedicated to his success. He said other schools he’d requested information from treated it like a telemarketing game, just trying to get him to buy in. He’s grateful that UA Grantham didn’t pressure him with constant phone calls and that the admissions team genuinely wanted to understand his educational and life goals before he committed to a program. Once enrolled, he was able to create authentic relationships with his financial aid advisor, his student advisor and his teachers.

“It’s like calling an old friend,” Jason says.

That connection has helped him turn his passion and his military experience into an education that will serve him for years to come.

If you’re ready to pursue an online degree and build on your own military experience to create a path to a successful civilian future, contact UA Grantham today to learn more. Classes start every month. We can’t wait to talk to you and to help you begin the admissions process!

About the Author

John Koehler
John Koehler is a senior marketing specialist on University of Arkansas Grantham's marketing operations team. John is passionate about enabling education opportunities and a positive experience for prospective students. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Marketing from Rockhurst University.
« Previous Post5 Skills to Help You Thrive in Computer Programming
Next Post »A Guide to Organizational Resources and How to Manage Them

Explore our Programs

By submitting this form, I agree that University of Arkansas Grantham may email, call and/or text me about education programs at the number provided including a wireless number, possibly utilizing automated dialing technology. Message and data rates may apply. Providing this consent is not required in order to enroll. If I live outside the U.S., I am giving consent to transfer my data to the U.S. I also agree to the terms in our privacy policy.