Gateway Hall, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
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John Woods is an Army Veteran who served from 2007 to 2012 as a human resources specialist and was deployed to Afghanistan during 2009 to 2010. Stationed at Fort Carson, he grew up in Colorado.
After the Army, he planned to earn a degree but wanted to stay in the Springs. UCCS was both convenient and part of the CU system, which was important to him.
“As a veteran, I was uncomfortable about going to school, going from something very structured to an ambiguous environment,” John said. “But as I got used to being a student and settled into a routine, then it was fine.”
Although he started off studying psychology, he soon switched to philosophy.
During his time at school, he worked at the UCCS Office of Military and Veteran Student Affairs.
“I had a lot of camaraderie and community with my veteran co-workers, which was a big help with transitioning and fitting in,” he said. “Plus I had navigated the VA, so it was good to help other veterans as they made their way through the system.”
After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, he went straight into graduate school for his Master’s in Counseling and Human services, which he completed in 2016.
The program required 100 hours of practicum followed by a 600-hour internship during two semesters.
“UCCS’ counseling program is considered one of the best in the nation – it helped set me up for the reality of the job. They have CACREP (Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs) accreditation and it is top-notch,” John said. “I couldn’t have received this level of education elsewhere in the region.”
Now a high school counselor in Colorado Springs District 2, he is also pursuing retail and entrepreneurial ventures in men’s fashion.
His advice for other veterans entering college is to be practical to ensure your degree will help you go in the direction you want.
“But don’t avoid challenges. Maybe you could pursue engineering if you push yourself,” he said. “And follow the VA rules the best you can. Do things early so it will be smoother with your housing allowance and tuition funding.”
One final piece of advice: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions in or out of the classroom. I wish I had asked questions sooner – all of the professors are great and willing to help,” John said.