Balancing Family Responsibilities and College While Serving in the Military

SFC Julian Slocum earns a college degree while in the military.

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Sergeant First Class (SFC) Julian Slocum resided in Morton, Mississippi until he enlisted into the United States Army in 1999. Once in the Army, he served as a heavy equipment operator and a dental technician at multiple duty stations, eventually transitioning to recruiting. SFC Slocum sat down with Excelsior Life to share his experience working towards a college degree while serving in the military and raising a child as a single parent.

Career Path and Goals

Excelsior Life: Can you tell us a little about your career path?

SFC Slocum: I served as the station commander for Ridgeland Recruiting Station and Lakeland Recruiting Center. I am currently the assistant center commander of the Lakewood Recruiting Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Excelsior Life: How does your job fit your career goals?

SFC Slocum: I excelled in recruiting. I have a desire to continue in assisting young men and women to accomplish their goals, so I decided to stay as an Army recruiter.

College Experience

Excelsior Life: Did you have transferable military training or previous credits to help with earning your college degree?

SFC Slocum:  I had 35 semester hours that transferred from Jackson State University that I earned prior to joining the military. I also completed applied professional courses and received 62 semester hours from my military training as a dental technician and an army recruiter.

How did you stay motivated for school while balancing other responsibilities?

SFC Slocum: Motivation thrived from the need of self development to be an effective leader in very demanding leadership positions within the Army.

Excelsior Life: How did your background in the military help you earn your degree?

SFC Slocum:  It provided the needed discipline required for distance learning.

What advice would you give to service members considering completing their college degree?

SFC Slocum:  I would advise all service members to take full advantage of the opportunities to self develop. The military and several colleges highly support our educational advancement.

Excelsior Life: What will you earn your degree in?

SFC Slocum:  My degree will be a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts with a focus in health. I realized I had a profound interest in healthcare over my military career.

Excelsior Life: What intrigues you about healthcare?

SFC Slocum: Throughout my six years as a dental tech and dental hygienist for the Army, I knew healthcare in general would be what I wanted to pursue past retirement from the Army.

The Working World

Excelsior Life: How will this degree impact your career?

SFC Slocum: In the military, this degree will allow me to be competitive for promotion as well as self development. Also, this degree will be a stepping stone for life outside the military.

Excelsior Life: What are your career goals?

SFC Slocum:  My goal is to retire from the military in the next five years and work in the medical field as a hospital administrator. My short term goal is to complete Master’s Degree in Healthcare Management.