From Boot Camp to a Bachelor’s Degree

Getting An Education

I was at home studying. I remember my dad coming in my room and telling
me that there was not enough money saved to get me through college.
That was when I was in eighth grade. Since that talk, I always wanted to join
the military. It was my ticket away from home and a chance for me to go to
college. I met all the different service recruiters, but I finally decided to join
the Navy at seventeen in the Delayed Entry Program. I went on Active Duty
the following year, August 1984. Boot Camp and my apprentice school were
both a blast! My first tour of duty was incredible! I went to Washington,
D.C., and worked for the oldest Active Duty member in the military at the
time, Vice Admiral John D. Bulkeley, a World War II Medal Of Honor recipient.

During my tour in D.C., I was accepted in the Enlisted Commissioning
Program that allowed me to get my Bachelor’s Degree and a commission.
I graduated the University of Florida where I was commissioned an Ensign
in 1991. Then, during my free time at my next duty station, I took courses
through the Florida Institute of Technology earning a Master’s Degree in

Several tours later I earned another Master’s Degree at the Naval Postgraduate
School in 2001. I retired from the Navy in 2005 and later earned an
Associate’s Degree using my GI Bill. What I learned from going to school is
that there is so much information out there. More importantly, the military
supports their people going to school and being the best we can be!

My entire Navy career was about constant learning, growing, and evolving
as a person and as a sailor whether I was in class or at work. I learned
so much about leadership, professionalism, people, and myself. I met and
still in touch with many of my fellow sailors, Marines, Airmen, and soldiers.
I wouldn’t change anything from my service to the Navy and to our

(C) 2009 Michele Ruppert
Michele Ruppert is an Informational Professional, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy
Visit her website at

Published in Heart of a Military Woman:
Stories and Tributes to Those Who Serve Our Country

by Sheryl Roush and Eldonna Lewis Fernandez.

All original and true short stories, poems, and tributes from military personnel, their families and loved ones.

Purchase copies here.

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