Betheny Jones ('11) | BAS in Communication
from Abilene, Texas
Persistence has paid off for ACU senior Betheny Jones, who after a decade of working on her degree will finally walk the stage this May to receive her diploma.
The reason her college education has taken so long is quite simple. She has spent the last several years serving her country as a soldier in the U.S. Army. Her military service forced her to halt her schooling three times, but she kept coming back.
"Every time I got ripped away from ACU, I kept saying, 'I will be back, and I will graduate,' " Betheny says.
After serving on active duty for two years upon graduating high school, Betheny went into the Army Reserves for nine years, and then moved to Texas to be near her parents. She enrolled in ACU in the spring of 2000. Shortly after, however, she was forced to drop out because she was pulled into active duty. She served six years in Army Recruiting and then went back to the Reserves.
Betheny enrolled at ACU a second time in the spring of 2006, but was called up for active duty in May of 2007 and deployed overseas. When her active duty expired, her husband was called overseas, and with only nine classes left to complete her communications degree, she decided to go back to school once more.
Study Abroad after living abroad
The first thing Betheny did upon coming back to ACU was take the Study Abroad trip to Oxford that she had planned to take before she was called into active duty.
"It was fantastic: the memories, the friends, the experience," Betheny says. "You don't get the same experience taking an intercultural class sitting in a classroom at ACU that you get in England."
Betheny turned her focus to intercultural classes when she returned to ACU to complete her communication major and political science minor.
"With my experiences in the Army, I decided I wanted to expand and not just be national, but be more global," Betheny says. "When you go to another country and see the way people are, it really opens your eyes. That's why I decided I wanted a communication degree. I started focusing on the intercultural aspect of it."
Her goal is to become a foreign ambassador or a liaison for the military. Her experiences overseas gave her great insight into the cultural impact of communications and how important it is to be aware of the people around you.
"Even though we do touch on some cultural training in the Army, there's only so much you can teach in a 10-hour class," Betheny says. "You have to learn a lot on the fly, and I saw a lot of mistakes that were made because people didn't understand the culture, the government, the people and the customs. From those experiences, I really wanted to go into the career field where I could learn that stuff and become much more culturally sensitive and learn how to communicate with people better."
The classes Betheny has taken at ACU have widened her scope on the world and current events.
"I can see how every one of my professors has impacted my thinking and opened my mind up, even with the vast experiences I’ve had," she says. "What we talk about is relevant to today. This is not a school that is stuck in the dinosaur age."
It’s never too late
Betheny has a message for prospective students, especially those who would be classified as "non-traditional" students: It is never too late to go back to college.
"It expands your knowledge, worldview, how you feel about yourself," she says. "Getting this perspective from other students and professors enhances what you know about yourself. You make lifelong friends and create networks. There is definitely room here for adult students at ACU, especially with the Bachelor of Applied Studies program."
Learn more about ACU's Bachelor of Applied Studies program
- Kevin Washington ('11) Communication
- Samuel Palomares ('11) Communication
- Betheny Jones ('11) Communication
- Hutton Harris ('10) Communication
- Keri Gray ('12) Communication/Political Science
- Dena Counts, Speech & Debate Coach
- Braid Blanks ('04) TV News Anchor
- Chandler Harris ('12) Communication
- Alyssa Beaird ('10) Communication
- Dr. Jonathan Camp Communication
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