Truck Driver Follows a New Route at CCM

Christian LymanA truck driver since the age of 18, Christian Lyman initially planned on attending college after he left the Navy 10 years ago. It was not until last fall, however, that he was able to start realizing his dream for a higher education.

When his wife, Constanza, a revenue director for the hotel industry, was transferred to Florham Park, they found they had both the resources and a good community college nearby so Lyman could enroll in college full-time.

“I had to go full-forward, not part-time,” says Lyman, 42. “I’m the kind of person who has to have a hot poker in the middle of my spine to keep me motivated.”

Although he has yet to settle on a major, he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree when he finishes his studies at County College of Morris (CCM), most likely in a healthcare field. His chief goal, he says, is to increase his earning capabilities.

The Need for a Degree

The son and brother of college graduates, Lyman as a teenager steered away from higher education believing he was not college material. So he became a truck driver who has “touched every state, except Alaska and Hawaii,” driving everything from flatbeds to triples.

“When I was growing up there was work for men and women who didn’t want to go to college. Now it’s hard to make a living with those kinds of jobs. You really need a college degree to support yourself, especially if you want a family,” he says.

In the Navy, he also drove trucks and worked as a rescue swimmer.

Success Breeds Success

When he first enrolled at CCM, Lyman says, “I was completely lost.” He soon found, however, that success breeds success, and as he did well in one class after another his confidence grew.

Additionally, he has enjoyed connecting with his classmates. He was interviewed by a fellow student, a reporter for the student newspaper who was interested in Lyman’s perspective on the September 16, 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting.

Other students, he adds, also easily recognize and remember him. “Hey, that’s the old guy in my class,” he relates with a laugh.

For other people like him who might be thinking about college, Lyman says, CCM is a good place to start.

“The teachers are here to help you succeed to the level that you are willing to put in,” he says. “It feels good to be here. I’m gaining momentum.”