Jonathan Price joined the Army at 18 after he lost his job at Macys. He worked as a unit supply specialist for three years. When he was released from service in 2010 and transitioned back to civilian life, he was unprepared for the changes that had taken place.
“When you’re in the military, you’re living in a sort of protected bubble, separate from the rest of the world,” said Jonathan. “You receive your paycheck like clockwork every other week, and your expenses never really change. And you don’t have to worry about rent or a car or anything like that. You’re pretty insulated. I had always assumed that when I got out there would be lots of opportunities for vets, but it wasn’t like that at all. There was a recession going on and it was extremely hard to find work. That was a huge eye-opener.”
He began looking into 4-year colleges but found them to be too expensive to fit his budget. Then he found San Bernardino Valley Community College, which he felt would give him a good basic foundation of classes to build on. The Go Smart Program was additional bonus. As a student enrollee, he would be eligible for unlimited rides on Omnitrans for a per-semester fee of less than $10.
“Go Smart definitely has had a tremendous impact on my life. The $10 fee is nothing compared to what I would have had to pay monthly. It saves me a lot of money. Now I can just swipe my student I.D. and take the bus to school, to my job at the Family Dollar store and anywhere else I need to go. It’s great because I’m not comfortable carrying cash around.”
Jonathan has now been taking classes Valley College for the past 1 ½ years. He’s found that his military training has helped him stay focused.
“You learn in the military to adapt to unexpected changes and not to take things personally. If I have to switch my schedule for some reason or can’t get a class I had planned on, I just take it in stride. I never worry about liking or not liking an instructor. I don’t harbor those kinds of emotions. My focus is simply to get it done and get out.”
Jonathan has also started a new hobby—growing plants. “It really surprised my girlfriend,” he laughs. “But I enjoy it and find it relaxing. I really want to start a garden.”
His long-term goal is to make a difference in his community. He eventually hopes to work in communications and public relations, helping those who couldn’t normally afford those services.
“My dream is to one day own and operate my own PR firm,” said Jonathan. “I’d really like to help small businesses get their name out there without robbing them. PR agencies are generally very expensive, and geared towards larger companies. I want to be able to work with small businesses and help them succeed in the marketplace.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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