Alumni Spotlight: Clay W. Found Satisfaction Through Education

Please enjoy this personal essay from Clay Williams. After learning he was about to become a father, Clay worked hard to earn his degree and achieve his career goals. Clay earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and is currently earning his MBA at Aspen University.  

My journey began after graduating high school, and it wasn’t as smooth as it should’ve been. I was running with a bad crowd and didn’t have plans to further my education. Eventually, I started to attend a technical college and was offered a job in Canton, Georgia. This job offer saved me from making bad decisions as my life progressed down a dark and narrow path. I moved to Canton and was living with my father and was working as an electrician. I wasn’t making great income, but I knew my future was going to be brighter than it was before.

However, my journey hits a roadblock. After about seven months of working at this job, I was injured and eventually let go from the company because I couldn’t complete the tasks they required.

At this point in my life, I had no job, no income, no degree, and was still living with my father.

After speaking with my family and girlfriend, I decided to go back to the local tech school, and I received my Associates of Applied Science in Computer and Electrical Engineering Technician. At this same time, I was working roughly thirty hours a week at a NAPA Auto Parts store in Woodstock, Georgia. After I received my degree, corporate saw interest in me and decided to move me into a Computer Operator position. I finally moved out of my father’s house and married my girlfriend. We were excited to be married, but there was a sense of unhappiness from my end because I knew that I was limiting myself. As time progressed — two years — we built our house and moved out of the apartment, but something was still missing. I knew that I wanted to be a leader within my career, but I seemed to lack motivation in doing so. My manager told me one day, “If you want to get into a management position or higher, you have to go back to college.”

I put this decision on hold for roughly a year and continued to work at a lower level in my career. After speaking with my step-mother, who attended Aspen University, she told me that this was the university to attend.

After doing weeks of research and figuring out which online school would work best for my full-time job, I decided to attend Aspen University. I was about nine classes into my degree when I started to feel that I wasn’t interested in finishing my degree anymore. Then something huge happened! My wife Facetimed me while I was working and told me the news that she was pregnant. I was beyond excited and couldn’t hold the tears back. This was when I knew that I had to finish my degree. I wanted my son to be proud of his father and have the drive to go to college one day. After long nights, countless hours, and hard work, I can say that I have completed my goal and earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration.

After my son was born, I realized once again that I wasn’t satisfied. In November of 2019, I started my Master of Business Administration in Information Management. I refused to stop my educational journey until I felt satisfied, and now I can happily say that I met this satisfaction. I’m currently in a position to grow in my career through management and obtain my overall goal: become a business owner.

I don’t have to list every challenge that I faced in my life and nor do you. However, you should never forget those challenges because that is what made you who you are. The one piece of advice that I would give all graduates is simple, never give up. Life will always throw challenges your way, but that is what makes us stronger. We build our weaknesses on challenges, and we become stronger than we were the day before. I could’ve stopped many times in my life, but I didn’t. I had outside factors that motivated me to continue my drive and to not let off of the pedal; I am confident that all of my fellow Aspen alumni had those factors too.

Some of us here are parents, previous addicts, lost a great job, a veteran, and much more. Each one of us has faced a challenge that was hard to overcome, but you eventually overcame it. Let that motivate you in your drive for bettering your future for yourself, your children, your spouse, your dog, or cat, it doesn’t matter but let it motivate you. Keep your head high, dig your feet in, and hurdle every challenge that comes your way. Never. Give. Up. 


*In addition to earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Aspen, Clay Williams recently started a business called CP Smoked Meats. You can check out his YouTube channel here: CP Smoked Meats

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