Today, we have a guest blogger and military veteran here to share some advice on what it takes to attend college after the military. ~EMP
Leaving the military for the civilian life is shocking regardless of how long you served. Knowing what to do next is not one of your biggest internal struggles. However, on the surface it is a big deal. If you are in a position of not knowing what to do, I recommend pursuing a degree.
This can be difficult as you already have training and there are jobs available to those who served our country, but for many veterans PTSD is a part of coming home. Doing a job within your trained field may be the worst thing you could do. Sure, you can get a decent paying government job, but at this point you may want to do something completely new.
If college is the next step in your life you may want to keep a few things in mind…
You are not Entitled
Sure you are entitled to the benefits you earned while serving our country. Take advantage of the educational benefits served by the GI Bill. You deserve a free education and it is there for you to take. You are also entitled to be treated equally. This should go without saying in every aspect of life.
With that being said, nobody owes you anything. This may sound harsh and you could very well disagree, as will many other people in this country. However, as a whole your peers and educators are not going to jump through hoops for you solely because you served our country. You will have to do the work and it may be difficult at times.
You will See Things Differently than your Peers
Through military training, we have been set to a different type of standard. Your route was much different than your peers. This means you are not only physically older than the average student, you are mentally leaps and bounds more advanced. In the military, we learned a set of institutional values that is not shared outside of the military. Accept that your peers are different from you and try to not get too annoyed by their behavior.
You are NOT Alone
When it comes to choosing a college you may want to look into the clubs they have that cater to your needs. Many universities have organizations lead by veterans. This is a great way to find peers who are on the same wave length.
For example, Cornerstone University has a student led group known as the Student Veterans Club. This is a group that keeps their values and extends it to campus life. So not only can you find exemplary Christian graduate programs through this university, but you can also be a part of an organization that understands the transition from military life to civilian life.
It was a natural instinct for me to think that the 18 year old kids sitting in my classes had the stupidest views around. This was particularly true when it came to topics such as foreign policy. I found myself constantly feeling the urge to criticize their opinions. I am thankful that I opted out of sharing my thoughts. Through listening, I found myself interested in their theories.
My point of view has not been altered, however by opening myself up to their convictions I learned a lot. I have found growth through the opinions of others. I have learned that all we really have our opinions. No one knows who is right or wrong. The truth is even we don’t know EVERYTHING, so don’t act like you do.
This adjustment won’t be easy. In fact, it is actually difficult for everyone attending college for the first time. Think about the single mother of three who just enrolled. Do you think she has it easy? The 18 year old high school graduate is also experiencing culture shock. We are all in a transition and are only doing the best we can.