The Associate of Arts degree will contribute to my career goals in two ways. Firstly, it will enhance the skills that I use every day in my current job and secondly, it will allow me to pursue a change of career.
Firstly, as defined in most publications, an Associate of Arts degree helps an individual acquire the writing skills, oral communication skills, and critical thinking skills associated with the foundation experiences in the arts and sciences. Even though I have not been in an academic role for over 20 years, I work with these skills every day. This includes activities such as participating in working groups, giving daily briefs and working on time critical projects associated with the Department of Defense. Completing the Associate of Arts degree will help me to acquire and develop these skills which can then be applied to my current job.
Secondly, the Associate of Arts degree is essential in helping me manage a career change into a new field outside of the armed forces. The degree is a stepping stone that will give me the educational background I can then combine with my work and life experience to move on to a new career. The ultimate goal is to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology. The Associate of Arts degree will help me prepare for the Bachelor of Science degree which will ultimately lead me to a new career outside of the armed forces.
B. Present Status in Military or Reserves
I am proud to say that I have served for over 20 years in the armed forces. I am currently in the United States Navy and plan on staying in for four more years. My current position is Assistant Strike Officer for Commander Carrier Group 7. In this role, I assist the Strike Officer in preparation and dissemination in Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) operational task, weapons doctrine, strike plans and training directives to ships in our battle group. I review TLAM exercises and recommend courses of action required to achieve and maintain proficiency in weapons delivery. I am personally involved in the improvement process of present and future Tomahawk weapon systems and tactics.
C. Purpose of Paper
Promotions within the military are very tight, especially when they want a younger and smaller force. This means there is not a lot of future for me in the Navy. For this reason, I am keen to prepare myself for civilian employment.
In the remainder of the paper I will discuss my learning experiences. This will include the most important things I have learnt from military training, college education, academic courses and life experience. I will also relate some specific examples of things I have learnt and how I have applied them in the past, at the current time and how I plan to apply them in the future.
This information will all relate to how my background will help me achieve my career goal, which is to complete the Associate of Arts degree. The Associate of Arts degree is needed for my next step in life, which is to prepare myself for a change of career and for civilian employment. My ultimate goal is to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology, which will lead me to a new career. Completing the Associate of Arts degree is the first step to achieving this career change.
II. Description of Learning
A. Military Training
My time in the military has been a learning experience, where I have received training and had many experiences that have taught me a lot. The most significant learning experience was boot camp, which I attended in 1982. Boot camp taught me all the rules needed for a successful career in the Navy. This included being taught about honor, courage and commitment. While these core values were focused on how to have a successful career in the Navy, they apply equally to all aspects of my life and will also apply to the civilian career I intend to pursue.
In my daily life these core values have helped me develop relationships with peers, superiors and subordinates. They have also made me willing to make honest recommendations and accept those recommendations of junior personnel. The core values have also acted as a guide and have given me the moral and mental strength to do what was right, even in the face of personal or professional adversity. The training taught me to treat each individual with human dignity and be committed to positive change and constant improvement.
The ideals learnt at boot camp were the qualities I based my Navy career on. As well as this, these qualities also extended to my personal life and to my relationships outside of the Navy. Even when I leave the Navy, I will continue to apply these values to my life and to my future career. These are the core values that have become part of my overall perspective. I apply these values not only to my Navy career but also to study and to a future career. These values will continue to guide me and help me to achieve my goals of completing the Associate of Arts degree and building a new career outside of the Navy.
B. General Education -College Level
Most of my time in the Navy was spent away from the opportunity to attend school. This means that my college level education is very limited. I did get a chance to attend a lower level college English course in 1995. This course was a review of high school English. This course taught me techniques for gathering ideas, showed me how to use brainstorming and also showed me how to group ideas.
A applied this information to my work in the military and found the information improved my problem solving ability and my ability to work with ideas and think creatively about problems I faced.
C. Other Academic Courses and Academic Tests
Most of my college level credits were attained from the many technical courses I completed throughout my Navy career. Early in my career, Fire Control "A" school taught me theories in electromechanical, microwave, radar and solid-state electronic fundamentals. Next, I went to "C" school and learnt about gun fire control, harpoon and tomahawk weapon systems. This core curriculum enabled me to hone my skills in troubleshooting and maintaining computer and electrical/electronic systems.
After many years working on the Navy's weapon systems, I went to Instructor "C" school. This course enabled me to transition from being a technician to working on instructional methods and task-based curriculum development including instructional design.
A then completed various leadership and management courses, which introduced me to planning, budgeting, organizing and problem solving.
D. Life Experience
My life prior to the military involved growing up with my parents. These were my first learning experiences and formed the basis for the methods I still use to learn. In third grade I had a very difficult time trying to learn the multiplication tables. My father purchased multiplication flash cards to try and help me learn. With the flash cards, I learned the tables in a week. This was the first time I was introduced to flash cards. This showed me that using them repetitively was an effective way to reinforce my learning. I still continue to use flash cards at work to memorize specific technical items.
During my military career I also became a parent. Becoming a parent was a major experience. It taught me a lot and it will continue to teach me a lot. I have found that parents need to be educated in psychology. For example, my daughter will graduate high school next year and she did not intend to go to college. However, after seeing me enroll in college, she now wants to attend.
My daughter also helps me learn. She has a freshly educated mind and is used to the learning process. She helps me get through some of my course work.
Throughout my military career I traveled a lot and have lived in many countries outside of the United States. One place I will reflect on is Japan. I lived in Japan for two years and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a lot of respect for their culture, I spent a lot of time touring the countryside and I also joined in at their festivals. As well as learning about the culture and the people, I learnt how to drive on the left side of the road, how to convert dollars to yen and I also learnt to speak a little of the Japanese language.
III. Application of Learning
Typing class was one of the most beneficial classes I took in high school. I learnt more than just memorizing the keys in typing class. It taught me how to organize and format my thoughts.…