Senior psychology major Ben Eldred says that he always dreamed of coming to Rocky.
The 29-year-old from Olympia, Washington, is currently living that dream and has had experience as both a traditional and nontraditional student.
Eldred first attended Rocky right out of high school from 2005- 2007, after which he left college and eventually joined the military. He served three years of active duty in the Army with the 125th Infantry Division based out of Fort Wayneright in Fairbanks, Alaska. His active duty service also includes a one year deployment to Afghanistan in 2011-2012.
Eldred now serves as a Sergeant in the National Guard. He says that returning to school was one of the reasons he joined the National Guard. He believes that his service in the military has helped him as a student.
“My time in the military gave me the time management skills necessary to be successful in col- lege. I’m usually 15 minutes early to classes. It also gave me the ability to work with different types of people.”
Eldred says there are advantages to being a non-traditional student. “My maturity level has gone up a lot since being eighteen or nineteen years old. It used to be more about being in the party crowd and trying to fit in. Now being a non-traditional student it’s more about focusing on me.”
In his spare time Eldred runs a podcast which can be found on SoundCloud at soundcloud.com/ user-809538951/Tracks. He airs the podcast from a recording studio in his home.
“I’ve always wanted to be a radio DJ,” said Eldred. “I was always mystified by the guys on air behind the controls and cueing up songs and having that voice without having to worry about appearance so much. People don’t judge your appearance as long you sound good. It’s you and the microphone and the listener.”
According to Eldred the podcast is new and he has run several shows, but he plans to talk about his time in the military and as a non-traditional student. Eldred’s DJ name is DJ BMDoubleE. The name is in honor of a younger brother who inspired him to do a podcast and who passed away last October.
Eldred says that he would recommend Rocky to other non-traditional students, especially to individuals serving in the military and to veterans. He noted that Rocky has a veterans club which is advised by Jill Washburn. One project the veterans club is working on is getting a flag pole on the Rocky campus. “They have a veterans club here on campus, which is really nice because it gives us a place to come together and meet like-minded people and have a presence in the student body.”
After graduation, Eldred plans to attend graduate school, after which he will pursue a career in counseling in either substance abuse or with Veterans Affairs.