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NEWS | Aug. 22, 2012

Diamond Tip – Back to School

By Master Sgt. Jennifer Crerar 16th Airlift Squadron first sergeant

When I woke up my seven-year-old for his first day of school recently, he rolled away and grumbled, "I don't want to go to school."

I rubbed his back and tried to encourage him. "It'll be fun! You'll get to see all your friends and its good exercise for your brain." I felt like such a hypocrite because I have been putting off school myself. I recently transferred education benefits to my children which brought a four-year service commitment. That was hard to do ...don't I want to commit a couple of hours a week to improve myself through education?

I know I need to go to school. I always have an excuse for why I can't go right now.

Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, states in several paragraphs that we should complete our Community College of the Air Force degree and continue to develop through on and off-duty education. It's simply a part of being a good Airman, noncommissioned officer and senior noncommissioned officer. As a leader in my squadron, I need to set the example. More and more young Airmen are earning advanced degrees early in their careers so it's getting harder and harder to maintain my place at the "head of the class."

The Air Force has made it so easy for us. We have counselors at the base education center to help us through the process of enrolling in a school and getting into a degree program. Classes are offered on base. We have tuition assistance. Short of taking the classes for me, there isn't much else the Air Force can do to make this any easier for me.

At the Virtual Education Center on the Air Force Portal, there is information about the AU-ABC program. It provides those with a CCAF, opportunities to earn their bachelor's degree. Right on the front of the brochure it says, "Earn your bachelor's degree on-line anytime, anywhere".

So, I'm going to bite the bullet. I'm going to the education center and signing up for classes. To quote Adam Sandler from "Billy Madison," sing it with me ... "Back to school. Back to school. To prove to Dad I'm not a fool."