trucker article

trucker article - Learning for the long haul By Kristin...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Learning for the long haul By Kristin Walters It took 29 years behind the wheel of a truck before former tanker hauler Richard Patterson realized his true dream. Patterson spent his last 18 months as a trucker earning an associate’s degree in interdisciplinary studies through an online program at Kaplan University. Then he went to the police academy in his hometown, Columbus, Ga., and in November 2006 became what he’d always wanted to be — an officer of the law. “I’m loving it,” Patterson says. “This is something I wish I’d done 30 years ago.” Like most truckers — 53 percent, according to the 2006 Truckers News Reader Survey — Patterson bypassed college and went straight to work after high school. After spending six years in the Army, he had a family to support and no time for the associate’s degree required to enter the police academy, so he became a trucker, like his father. “When I got out of the Army in ’78, my dad said the best thing to do right now is go into driving,” he says. “And I just stayed with it.” But two years ago, the 51-year-old Patterson says he had enough of life on the road and trucker stereotypes. “Everywhere you went it was like, ‘you’re worthless,’ and I knew I was better than that,” he says. He researched distance learning programs online and decided on Kaplan because of its competitive pricing and convenience. (Tuition for undergraduate/graduate programs at Kaplan begins at $305 per credit hour, including instructional materials.) “Kaplan had everything sent to my house a week prior, so I had time to get home and pick it up,” Patterson says. Though he had little computer experience, he bought a laptop and wireless Internet service and jumped in with both feet. “There were many nights I’d have to call my son and find out how to fix it,” he says. “It was a learning experience.” Once he got the hang of it, he studied in the truck every day to complete his weekly assignments and tests. “If I pulled into a customer, and they said [loading time] was three to four hours, I’d sit in the truck doing my schoolwork,” he says. “When they changed over to the 10-hour rule for sleeping, I’d spend a couple of that doing my schoolwork.” Distance learning is an education method tailor-made for the driving lifestyle, whether you want to change careers entirely like Patterson, move into management, improve your business skills or simply have the satisfaction of earning a degree. “To keep working and pay your bills and also go to school, that’s the only way to do it,” Patterson says. “You can work your job, and whenever you get a free minute, you can study your lessons for that week.” A serious commitment But learning in the truck takes time and dedication — even more dedication than a traditional education, according to The Sloan Consortium’s 2005 online education study. Sixty-four percent of the educators at the 1,000 colleges and universities surveyed said students need more discipline to succeed in an online course
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 7

trucker article - Learning for the long haul By Kristin...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online