Around this time, Bustamante saw an ad for University of Phoenix (UOPX). Traditional university programs, however, required a four-year investment of time Bustamante didn’t have.
UOPX, on the other hand, was designed for adult learners. It offered the education of a traditional, four-year university but with the timeline of a community college and the flexibility of nighttime classes not offered anywhere else.
“Of course,” Bustamante adds, “[UOPX] couldn’t promise me [a specific salary] after graduation, but I knew anything was better than the amount of money I was making at the time. So, I signed up and hoped for the best.”
It wasn’t easy, of course. Bustamante drove 50 miles round trip from the outskirts of Texas to the New Mexico campus to attend classes. Sometimes, when a snowstorm hit, he’d spend the night in a hotel.
But school brought some distinct advantages too. Bustamante recognized emerging leadership skills that, combined with his background in teaching, would shape his career after college. It also brought him closer to his dad.
“I’m proud to say that my father was able to see me graduate before he died,” Bustamante says.