As a military mom with two small children and a husband deployed in Iraq, Joy Mattocks shows no obvious signs of stress when discussing her ability to juggle her family, career and education. Even though her husband, Zatochi, has been in Afghanistan twice and is on his second rotation in Iraq with no knowledge of when he'll return home, she shares hilarious stories about child rearing, marriage and all the joys and headaches in between.
She makes life on the "home front" sound so amusing, that it is easy to imagine this outgoing Army commander as a marriage counselor-an occupation she is seriously considering these days. Just to make certain her plans for a career in counseling would materialize, she enrolled at Fayetteville State University as a sociology major, and in spring of 2007, she received her bachelor's degree.
Even with that goal now behind her, the fresh alumna is already making arrangements for graduate studies. She explains, "I know I want to get my master's degree, and I would like to stay at Fayetteville State. I want to be at a university where I am already familiar with my teachers and they already know me."
Joy, who is from Warren, Ohio, says she has finally found a home in Fayetteville. Although, the military landed her in various destinations like South Carolina, Georgia, Italy, Alaska, and Virginia, Fayetteville has proved to be the most ideal and unique.
Denouncing the military stigma she once had about her husband's hometown, she affirms, "Fayetteville has good neighborhoods and schools. It is a relatively safe area, and the weather is great...When my father comes to visit from Ohio, he talks about how peaceful it is and the friendliness of the people."
When Joy lived in Fayetteville from 1996-1997, she couldn't really appreciate the entire community outside of the base. She reflects, "The first time I was in Fayetteville, my life was on Fort Bragg. But this time around, being in a military town does not bother me as much."
With fifteen years in the military under her belt, and plans to retire once she has devoted twenty-one years, Joy will definitely value her post-secondary education as she transitions into the civilian workforce.
Of her past experience as an undergraduate student at FSU, she says, "All of my teachers were excellent, even the ones who I thought were hard on me. They pushed me out of my comfort zone. Up until then, school was always easy to me, but they made me use my brain by challenging me-which was good.