Spotlight Series: Pamela Armstead

November 08, 2021 - By Lauren Rios

Returning to school might not be an easy decision, but it can be the most rewarding. Pamela Armstead, CBU Online English major, went back to college after age 50 to make her goals and dreams a reality.     

After working as a journalist for a local newspaper for 15 years, and serving 23 years in the United States Army, Armstead jumped faith first into pursuing a degree in English with CBU Online to fuel her love for writing and fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an English teacher.  

“My faith is very important to me,” said Armstead. “I wanted to couple that with my education and what I have enjoyed most is how the classes implement the Christian perspective. No matter what you are learning from science, history or English coursework, they always tie it back to scripture.”

On top of being a full-time student, Armstead is newlywed, a mother to two children ages 12 and 14 and works full time at Bethany School in Long Beach, California. She says community is one of the most important elements of her success on the journey to graduation day. From friends and family praying for her, to the support and encouragement of her academic advisor and professors, Armstead can tackle challenges that come her way while implementing a plan to reach her goals.

“Before I began (at CBU Online) I was able to talk with my advisor and lay out a map of what I wanted to accomplish and not waste time, because I didn’t have any time to waste,” said Armstead. “We figured out what classes needed to be taken and when. I could take the classes I was comfortable with first, and then focus on the more challenging classes later. Having an advisor sit down and talk through my goals was really helpful for me.”

Learning in an online format, Armstead was able to connect with her professors beyond the computer screen. From virtual office hours and phone calls, Armstead felt that her professors went above and beyond to make sure she was successful in her coursework.

“With my English professors it was such an amazing connection,” said Armstead. “They were always encouraging, they always understood, and they were always able to pull the best out of me.”

Attending college right out of high school, Armstead found herself struggling to complete her coursework. She joined the military on a whim, but the lessons she learned from her 23 years in the service carried on with her through the rest of life and in her studies.

Armstead credits her discipline, structure and work ethic to her time serving in the U.S. Army. During her time in the military, she worked in a field hospital as a medical / unit supply specialist, supplying everything her unit needed from medical supplies to ammo. She served in Desert Shield / Storm from 1990 – 1991, and was stationed in Stuttgart, Germany and Fort Ord, California on active duty. She finished out her reserve duty in California and retired in 2012.

“It grew me up. It taught me responsibility, dedication and hard work,” said Armstead. “I told myself I wouldn’t go back to college until I could finish it, and that is what the military taught me; finish what you started.”

Armstead is set to graduate in December of 2021. CBU Online extends our congratulations on a job well done and thanks Armstead for her many years of service to our country. If you are interested in pursuing a degree in English or looking to see how you can make your return to school, please visit this link.