Fear of Commitment - Overcome!

Posted by Paula Paine on August 4, 2014 in "Your OU" Louis Monroe graduated from OU-KC in May with a B.A. in Communication and Psychology. He recently shared his winding but ultimately victorious educational journey with us. And he’s not done yet!
In his own words….
When I was in high school, the best thing for me was the sports but, aside from sports, I literally hated school. It wasn’t that school was hard, it was just that I didn’t like it and at that time, there was absolutely no way that I was going to college. After high school I joined the U.S. Navy where I served for four years. During that time, I enjoyed several successes and received two Letters of Commendation from the ship’s captain. While in the Navy, I married my high school sweetheart in 1991, and we are still married today 23 years later. We enjoy four beautiful children - 1 son and 3 daughters - with only one child (daughter) remaining in the home.
Needless to say, with a family that size there is much work that needs to be done, as well as being financially stable. Fortunately, I have been with the same company ever since 1994 where I have been able to provide my family the stability that was previously mentioned. I have worked several positions ranging from laborer, conductor, machinist apprentice, machinist, supervisor, Union representative, to my current position as a foreman general I. With working all of those different positions, I still felt that I had more to offer the company. However, one obstacle was holding me back and that was lack of a college education.
After talking to my wife on several different occasions about my desire to advance but my unwillingness to go back to school, she intervened. My wife found Ottawa and scheduled a visit with an advisor whose name was Carol Adams. Carol made school seem so simple and that anyone could do this, but I was still reluctant. However, I decided to give it a try and started out with one class to see if I was ready. The class was Ottawa’s Pro-seminar class and I have to say that I truly enjoyed the class.
As I mentioned earlier, I was a Union rep and issues at work caused me to drop school after that one term. I decided that work was too demanding, therefore school was not going to work for me. Initially I was relieved and disappointed at the same time, but I quickly got over it. In 2006, there was a power struggle between management on my job, and it was all I could do to keep it together. The damages from that collapse in management lasted for several years. My saving grace was that I was promoted to my current position in 2008 that removed me from the situation and gave me some much-needed relief. God is good!
In 2012, I received disability from the military for complications lingering from the first Gulf War. It was at this time when I decided to go back to school. I was determined that nothing was going to stop me this time, and as long as my family supported my decision, it was a go. It was no cake walk and there were times when I didn’t think that I would make it. With my son getting married, one daughter joining the Army, and one daughter going off to college, my plate was full. What I learned about myself was that I could express myself well in my writing. Having said that, I was able to connect the relevance of my real life situations with some of the subject matter, and it suddenly made school a little easier.
Once I got into a rhythm with the homework, the hardest part then became the commitment. I was committed because, for the first time in my life, I cared about my grades, which really surprised me. My goal quickly became to graduate with honors. My approach was a work-like approach, and since I successfully made every deadline at work, I was determined to school that effort. Soon I was challenging myself to make a better grade at a higher percentage that the previous class. Since I was so goal oriented, school actually went by faster than I had imagined. In the end, I achieved my goal of graduating with honors and graduated cum laude. “Thank you Jesus” was my cry!
My advice to other adults and especially other men with similar life situations to mine is just to commit. The hardest thing about going back to school is committing the time. This is something that my wife told me all along, and I found it to be totally true. Keep your eyes on your ultimate goal and find a way to challenge yourself. Once you make a game of it, thing become much easier. Believe it or not, I am now preparing my mind for grad school (MBA) at Ottawa. Just don’t be afraid and step out on faith. Before you know it, you too will be writing a letter encouraging someone else to achieve the same successes that you have.
God Bless!  
Louis Monroe ’14 KC
B.A. in Communication and Psychology