Commitment to His Studies:
Donald Collins’ Story with ANU
As a veteran, Donald Collins wanted to pursue his education after struggling with an injury and being unemployed. With friends of his working at a large retail pharmacy chain, Donald wanted to become a pharmacy technician. He utilized the VRRAP before it closed in December of 2022 and that allowed him to pursue an education in his new field of pharmacy. Donald has been able to dedicate his time to learning the ins-and-outs of being a pharmacy technician with American National University’s 100% online diploma program. With his ambition and his drive to change his future, Donald became Term 232’s Pharmacy Technician Diploma Student of the Term!
Donald began pursuing his pharmacy technician career through his friends who worked within a large retail pharmacy. With the pain from his injuries, Donald worried about joining the field. However, he found ANU’s online program because of the reputation of our campus locations. “I really didn’t think I could do this because of the pain, mostly, but it’s getting better!” He says. With our 100% online programs, Donald earns the skills he needs to join a pharmacy without leaving his home. Donald learns from at-home lab kits and online access to the PioneerRx software used in today’s pharmacies. He gains a better education than one he would receive from on-the-job training!
Being a veteran, Donald wants to work closely with other veterans to ensure they receive proper care like he has before. He wishes to work in the Veteran Affairs hospital in their pharmacy. With those goals, he feels that ANU’s program is preparing him more than needed in other pharmacies.
“Everything [my professors] are teaching me is preparing me for that,” he describes, “I’ve taken a class to [use PioneerRx] on the computer, but the VA isn’t up to date with that… so I figured it would be a lot easier!”
His classes have allowed Donald to get the one-on-one attention he needs from his professors. He says, “two of my classes, I have been the only student… at first it was kind of scary being the only student. But it went well, I learned a lot!” Not only does he get to have a small class size, but he got to learn first-hand how experienced his professors are in their field.
“I learned a lot about the professors… a lot of their history and how they got where they are.”
Not only that, but he learns a lot from his textbooks. He mentions having stacks of notes for every bit of information he learns to commit it to memory. “And having the book read to you is pretty awesome. I just put it on my TV and just listen!”
Donald served four years in the National Guard, and he describes he was only activated one time in that four years to assist during the disaster of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Because of his service, he was able to utilize the VRRAP benefits awarded to veterans in March 2021. That covered 12 months of tuition and a housing allowance for him for his education. “I just made it,” he says, regarding the deadline of December 2022 to put in applications.
“I tried to encourage a lot of people to do it – why wouldn’t you?”
His future goals include working in the Veteran Affairs hospital near him to not only make beneficial change to veteran healthcare, but to give back to those who have helped him.
Donald would definitely recommend ANU to those looking to pursue their higher education. He says, “because it’s online, you can be anywhere. One of my instructors was teaching from Hawaii one day!”
His advice to new students at ANU is: “Do not give up. I wanted to throw the towel in several times and I’m glad I didn’t!”