How Military Service Prepared Courtney for College

courtney rorick

Following high school, Courtney Rorick enrolled at a traditional four-year college but soon discovered that wasn’t the right path for her. The success she had as a driven high school student, where the class schedule and sports activities instilled discipline, didn’t translate to her college environment.

Coming from a military family – her dad is a Marine veteran, stepdad an Airforce veteran, and grandfather an Army veteran – Courtney knew that military service would provide her the rigor and structure she needed to thrive. She decided to follow in her family’s footsteps and enlist in the New Hampshire Army National Guard.

Ten years later, as an adult mother of three daughters, Courtney returned to college, enrolling in an online degree program. This time, she would not just succeed – she would flourish.

Finding Her Path Through Service

Not only did military service help Courtney develop the discipline she needed to succeed, it also helped her to discover her passion for the field of public affairs. She always knew she had an interest in storytelling, photography, and public speaking, but her firsthand experience solidified it for her.

It’s really powerful to tell the story of a sailor, soldier, airman, or marine. Those stories go back to their hometown newspapers and their families get to see their son or daughter doing great things.

Courtney is now a staff sergeant in the NH Army National Guard. In her role with the Guard, she serves as a public affairs non-commissioned officer in charge. She also works full-time as the grants officer representative for the NH National Guard.

Inspiring Her Daughters

Courtney found love through her service, too, meeting her husband Tony, who also serves in the Guard. Courtney and Tony have three daughters: Scarlett (9), Audrey (5), and Claudia (3).

Becoming a mother served as a catalyst that inspired her to finish her degree. She knew she wanted to be a role model for her daughters.

How can I possibly ask my daughters to further their education if mom hasn’t done it?

Selecting the Right Degree Program

Courtney sought out a program that would help advance her career goals as a public affairs professional while balancing motherhood, full-time work, and her military service. Courtney knew that several of her fellow guardsmen were alumni and that the college has a long history of supporting military students.

She decided to request more information and soon connected with an academic advisor. Courtney’s advisor helped her navigate her military benefits, including the NH Army National Guard Tuition Waiver. Her advisor also helped maximize her transfer credit, including credit for her previous college coursework and military experience.

Courtney Earns Her Degree Efficiently

Enrolling in the A.S. Business program, Courtney started with one class to get her footing. Soon enough, she was taking two classes at a time and moving on to her B.S. in Communications Studies. At one point, toward the end of her program, she even took four classes in one term.

The online flexibility is amazing. I could go through my workday, focus on my career, come home and focus on my kids, and then do my coursework in the evening. I’m a mom. I’m a solider. I’m a careerist. And a kids’ soccer coach. But I was also a student. And I could be a student because of the online environment.

Just four years after returning to college, Courtney finished her bachelor’s degree, walking with the Class of 2022.  She reflected that attending graduation, with Tony and their daughters beside them, was one of the most monumental moments of her life.

I can look back on a few years ago, and I don’t know if I ever really thought I would get there. Let alone walk and have my daughters there to see me accomplish something so big.

Opening Doors for the Future

So, what’s next for Courtney the supermom? Her goal is to become the state public affairs officer for the NH National Guard.

With a bachelor’s degree, I can become an officer instead of staying enlisted. A bachelor’s degree opens doors.

Inspired by Tony, who earned his M.S. in Leadership at the college, she’s even considering taking the next step and earning a master’s degree.

Thinking back on her success, Courtney said she was especially grateful for the support she received from the Guard.

In addition to my family, the NH Army Guard and the leaders within were huge proponents of my success. The tuition waiver allowed me to pursue my education without putting any financial strain on my family, and my leadership continued to push me to be the best version of myself.

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