Here's How To Make College Your Next Mission

Education
Photo by Senior Airman Alexis Siekert

When I talk with my friends from the military, I am always astonished at how many of them are not using any of their GI Bill, especially the active-duty veterans since under the post-9/11 GI Bill they would get paid to go to school! Many of them would rather work various part-time jobs or struggle with underpaid positions than attend a class. Undeniably veterans face different challenges in the college environment, but I can promise you all of these are conquerable and the most difficult part is finding the willpower to get started. By ignoring your benefits, you are not only cheating yourself out of a better job in the future, but also the many other incidental bonuses of going to college like recreational programs, networking capabilities, career services and advice, and even just having a schedule. With this in mind, I wanted to share a couple of starting points with readers in hopes of encouraging some to reconsider your non-student status.


Related: How veterans screw up college »

Don’t sell yourself short. Let’s face it, the military is not full of academic enthusiasts. Sure, some of us joined for the college money, but a majority of us signed up when bartending seemed like a more viable career than biology after high school. But just because you set the record for worst class attendance pre-military, does not mean trying again will lead to the same results. Your time in the service will buy you back some credibility with most educational institutions and if it doesn’t, your incoming federal dollars should help. Look for a school that offers programs that not only appeal to you, but that will appeal to potential employers. You made it through the military, so take on a little more of a challenge than the “Anyone Can Do It” online University. Do some research on which schools will give you the most credit for your military service and which ones have well-established veteran’s programs on campus. Very little criteria is required for a school to promote that they are “military friendly,” so don’t get scammed by advertising.

Take morning classes. After years of early morning physical training, I know it sounds enticing to sleep until noon every day, but avoid creating that bad habit now. Night classes are great for those who work full time during the day, but can be much harder to motivate yourself to attend. By 6 pm, you have had all day to think of reasons not to go to class. You truly have no appreciation for a regimented schedule until you don’t have one. For most veterans it is not liberating, it is madness!

Find a battle buddy. You are probably going to be older than the traditional college student and have different perspectives and experiences than most. You thought that your lieutenant’s two- hour Powerpoint presentation on field sanitation made you dumber? Just wait until you are forced to engage in a class discussion with “generation iPhone.” Don’t get discouraged, there are plenty of older students and even fellow veterans around campus who are great points of contact for you. Find these people quickly so you have relief when you need it. A great place to start is by asking your school if they have a student veteran organization on campus. If they don’t, consider starting one and build yourself an entire alliance.

Give yourself some time. Not sure where to start? Go for an easy elective or something enjoyable like Basic Woodshop. Easing yourself into things will allow for a better transition into the college and civilian atmosphere. Get comfortable with the campus and your new routine, that way, when it comes time to take more serious courses, it won’t be overwhelming. There is also no shame in using a semester or two as a way to make rent. I spent a summer in “Introduction to Acting” and “Stained Glass” as an alternative to a summer job and I ended up really enjoying both.

It’s your duty. If you are having problems motivating yourself, think of it as continued service to your county. While you’re stuck in class next to someone updating his Tumblr page or tweeting his every emotion, before you lose faith in all millennials, remember that you have the power to change the status quo. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the GI Bill might I remind you that the post-WWII era of veterans changed our country’s entire disposition and helped to foster one of the greatest economic periods in U.S. history because they used the advantages given to them. It is now your turn. America needs you to go back to school and get your education!

Here are five smart degrees to consider when applying for college.

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Oh, honey, that Axis of Evil getup is so 2002. You need to get with the times and try on this little number called a Wolf Pack of Rogue States, designed by Mike Pence.

Yes, the Axis is Evil is out, and the Wolf Pack of Rogue States is so, so in.

The vice president mentioned the latest and greatest phrase to describe anti-American super-villain states during a conference in Washington on Wednesday, and clearly, they must all be running around the desert together looking for strippers and cocaine.

The Hangover! Alan's wolfpack speech in Vegas hahaha www.youtube.com

Enter Pence:

"Beyond our global competitors, the United States faces a wolf pack of rogue states. No shared ideology or objective unites our competitors and adversaries except this one: They seek to overturn the international order that the United States has upheld for more that half a century."

According to Pence, the Wolf Pack includes Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Notably absent: China and Russia, the two states that actually have a shot at seeking "to overturn the international order."

As Daniel Larison notes at The American Conservative, the Wolf Pack crowd's "ability to 'overturn the international order' is practically nil, and it isn't even certain that most of them desire that outcome. If North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are our main adversaries, we are as secure as can be and we have very little to worry about."

Pence's wolf pack phrase follows another tried by National Security Advisor John Bolton back in November, when he labeled Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua as a "troika of tyranny" and a "triangle of terror," which make for interesting death metal band names, but seem kind of lame in comparison to the infamous 2002 "Axis of Evil" phrase from David Frum.

But perhaps they can consult with Stitch Jones, the Ayatollah of Rock-and-rolla, for some better branding.

Heartbreak Ridge - Stitch Jones meets Gunnery Sergeant Highway www.youtube.com


Maj. Matthew Golsteyn in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse.)

Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn – whom President Donald Trump has called "a U.S. Military hero" – will face an Article 32 hearing in March after being charged with murder for allegedly killing a suspected Taliban bomb-maker.

On Dec. 18, the convening authority for Golestyn's case decided to hold the preliminary hearing in connection with the Feb. 28, 2010 incident, Army officials have announced. The proceedings are slated to start on March 14 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

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In the city of Savannah, Georgia, an Army veteran and entrepreneur has a plan to end veteran homelessness in his community. It starts with building a village of tiny homes.

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The new Marines of Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, conduct a motivational run at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, January 10, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/ Lance Cpl. Jose Gonzalez)

Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Coming to recruit training near you: American-made standard-issue sneakers.

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