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April 11, 2011

From the Air Force to the classroom: discipline required

South University Newsroom

South University’s outstanding reputation for legal studies is not the only thing that brought Alicia Parler to study in the Columbia, South Carolina, program.

“I loved the overall ambience of the school,” Alicia says, just after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies.  “As soon as I stepped foot onto campus, and started contacting professors like Carolyn Horner, the whole experience from start-to-finish has been welcoming and encouraging.”

Alicia is a native South Carolinian, who grew up in Swansea, a city just south of Columbia.  She graduated from high school, and then decided to join the U.S. Air Force in order to finance her future education.

“I never take for granted my experience in the military,” she says.  “Nor the expectations from my parents to always do my best.”

Three months after Alicia enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, came the unexpected events of September 11, 2001. Alicia admits to being just like so many other Americans in the United States at the time – in shock.  The only difference was she had just signed on the dotted line to preserve and protect her country.

“I won’t lie; I was scared, but I do not regret my decision to be a soldier at any time,” she continues.  “I was sort of one of those ‘bad’ kids who was always smart enough to get myself out of trouble.  That can be a good and a bad thing sometimes,” she laughs.

The comradery among service men and women exists due to hardships and discipline soldiers confront together on a regular basis, Alicia testifies, “More than anything, military life has taught me to appreciate my freedom as an American, something I took for granted before I joined.  I learned self-discipline, which made me a better student, and ultimately, helped me realize my career aspirations.”

Now graduated Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies, the 29-year old plans to take the LSAT and to enter law school in 2011, “I want to be a lawyer.”

“I’m really grateful to my parents who always encouraged me to do the very best I can at whatever I am confronted with.  Because of this incentive, I’ve never wanted to be mediocre.  I want to do the best I can.”