There is no one set path or timeline to earn a college degree. Students only need a goal, support and determination to achieve their academic dreams.
For example, Sean Ciorciari started his educational journey at Lone Star College-Kingwood in 2009 at age 19. He understood that taking a full load of college courses plus working would not equal success.
“I realized early on that if I wanted to finish my degree plan, I had to go at a pace that was best for me. Taking one class per semester allowed me to work full-time, get an education, and enjoy life,” he said.
When Ciorciari’s mother became ill, he took a break to care for her. Once she recovered, he enlisted in the United States Army in 2020. Stationed in the Middle East, Private First Class (PFC) Ciorciari re-enrolled in college courses, determined to complete his degree.
“Although I occasionally took breaks, I always remembered a professor’s advice that if I took one class per semester, I would earn my degree when I turned 30. That thought resonated with me because even though school was too much sometimes, I always did my best to take at least one class,” Ciorciari said.
That sage guidance paid off when the private first class graduated from LSC-Kingwood in 2021 with an associate of arts degree. Ciorciari will use this achievement to gain promotional opportunities within the Army.
“It took me 12 years to finish, but I knew how great I would do if I took one class at a time instead of four,” he said. “To anyone who’s struggling, I advise that you do college at your own pace. No one knows how well you study more than yourself.”
Ciorciari is a resident of Kingwood and the second generation of his family to attend LSC-Kingwood. His father, Joseph, earned various certificates and enrolled in the Police Academy in 1994.
“Being in the Army, I had the option to attend any college. I chose LSC-Kingwood because I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps, and I wanted to complete my degree in my hometown,” he said.
Ciorciari is a satellite communications systems operator in the Army. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the American Military University. Ciorciari plans to graduate in two years and return to Kingwood to start his civilian career and be with his family.