Life is the sum of the decisions you make along the way.

As this is the first week of my master’s program, I have reflected a little on how I got to this place in my life.

I was born deaf but after many surgeries, I was able to hear, but not hearing during a key development phase, I am dyslexic. I did not learn to read until I was 12 years old and was in remedial English classes until I graduated high school. I attended some college classes in 1997-1998, but after failing English 101 three times I gave up on earning a degree.

I was tutoring me, now, wife in 2015 in history 101 and government 101 and she asked me why I didn’t have a college degree. I told her how I only needed English 101 and a Speech class and I would have enough for an associate degree. She convinced me to re-enroll in college and then she tutored me in English. With the use of Microsoft Word and Grammarly, I earned my associate degree in 2016.

After I finished with the classes in 2016 to earn the degree, my wife asked me what I planned on doing when I retired from the army. After some thought, I told my wife that I had always wanted to own a business, so I didn’t need a degree to pursue that goal. My wife pushed me to investigate a degree that might help me learn how to run a business. After some research, I found a degree that would offer classes that I thought would help me get closer to the goal of owning a business. In the fall of 2016, I started my journey into pursuing my bachelor’s degree. In the summer of 2019, I conferment of my bachelor’s degree with Summa Cum Laude honors in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

I had the opportunity to finish my degree a year earlier had I chosen to forgo my concentration on only pursue a Business administration degree. Joking, I told everyone that my associate degree which was a general studies degree was for everyone else, but my bachelor’s degree was for me, so I pick what I wanted.

When I was nearing the end of my degree, I looked around at the affordability of a master’s degree that would add to the bachelor’s degree. When I found the M.E. degree at Western Carolina University, I found a degree that had the affordability I needed with the student reviews that I wanted.

This blog will be my thought as well as assignments for my pursuit of earning my Master’s of Entrepreneurship.

2 thoughts on “Life is the sum of the decisions you make along the way.

  1. Hello Dustin,
    Thank you for sharing your personal journey! I am impressed with your perseverance and willingness to fight for your future. Great job to you and your wife for not giving up and for believing in achieving greatness, and for the emotional support through the tough times. Many people have all the means necessary to get educated and better themselves, but they chose not to. You are an inspiration to all of us that believe in achieving greatness no matter the circumstances. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors and may you soon run a successful business.


  2. Dustin,
    You have an amazing story, that makes my learning challenges seem somewhat trivial. I know you (and your wife) are proud of what you have accomplished so far. Ironically, I met another amazing person last week, who overcame a similar challenge. He was orphaned in Kingston, Jamaica, born blind due to congenital glaucoma. While he was learning to read braille at the age of 12, his eye sight started to develop, eventually to full sight. That may be where your stories differ, but I find it fascinating that I hear from two different people who overcame such similar obstacles within a week.


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