San Jac Certified: Veteran student edition
11.08.2016 | By Andrea Vasquez
HOUSTON – Natashia Tyler says that serving in the U.S. Army was one of the best decisions she ever made. Deciding to enroll at San Jacinto College was another.
“Before I joined the military I attended a university,” said Tyler. “I was going to school for the wrong things, and I think that’s why I didn’t finish; I was just looking at certain industries and their paychecks, but deep down I knew I would just be doing a job as opposed to enjoying a career.”
Gratitude and appreciation are two things that Tyler reflects on about her time in the Army. While working as a transportation operator driving troops and supplies to their destinations, Tyler also served on funeral detail. It was this assignment where Tyler says she experienced the most gratitude. “To be able to fold and present the American flag to these families and listen to their stories makes you beyond grateful. It’s a different type of appreciation. People genuinely express their gratitude for your service when they know you’re a veteran and in those moments, you know that you matter.”
After separating from the military in 2010, Tyler worked as a chef and was later employed at a local post office, but had to resign after the physical toll it took on her with a knee injury she suffered while in the Army. Tyler had begun the process of starting her own photography and graphic design business, so in 2015 she decided to return to school in order to help advance her design and business skills.
“I decided to pursue a general studies degree because it will allow me to be flexible with my business goals,” said Tyler. “I’m open to any kind of design challenge because that also allows me to learn as I create. I used to design things for friends a long time ago, and other small projects here and there, but it never occurred to me until now that this was my passion all along. Now it’s time to embrace it and see where it takes me.”
Tyler also adds that the San Jacinto College veteran centers have had a major impact on her student success. “The veteran center is definitely one of the best resources on campus. If there’s a question or issue I need help with that they may not have the answer to at that moment, they always follow up with me with the answer or an update. Advising in the veteran centers is also unique because the veteran educational planners take the time to go through your degree plan and provide insight into what your workload may be. They’re familiar with your work and family situations, so they make sure you don’t overload yourself as you plan classes each semester.”
San Jacinto College has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, Inc., six times. The national list highlights the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s service members, veterans and their spouses. In addition to the quality education, caliber of faculty and affordable tuition, Tyler says there’s also a sense of personalization at San Jacinto College that’s hard to find elsewhere.
“Coming from a university experience, it’s a totally different world here. Being in a setting where you are encouraged to engage with your professors helps you become more successful as a student. The atmosphere at San Jacinto College is so much more welcoming, and it gives you the drive and motivation to accomplish whatever you set your mind to.”
For more information on veteran student services at San Jacinto College, visit the San Jacinto College veterans student website.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. As a fiscally sound institution, the College currently holds bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively. San Jacinto College is a 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10 finalist and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. Approximately 30,000 students each semester benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success. The College offers seven areas of study that prepare a diverse body of students to transfer to a four-year college or university or enter the workforce with the skills needed to support the growing industries along the Texas Gulf Coast. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.