So the time has come where your disillusionment for continued military service trumps your misguided teenage visions of honor, conquest, and becoming the next Maverick. The idea of standing watch on the U.S -Mexican border or engaging in Byzantine nation building offers no appeal. You’ve made up your mind. It’s time to get out.
Getting out of the military can be a challenging time, especially for those who only served one enlistment and are heading to college. In my case, I dropped out of school in 2008 and enlisted, then in 2012 left the Marines and returned to college, except this time I had a new identifier permanently affixed to myself. I was now a veteran, but I had no idea how that one little detail was going to impact and alter how I behaved. I felt like I was equipped with a wealth of experience far beyond my peers. I’d gone to war, done some stuff, and now I was going to show these civilians just how easy they had it. Post-military life would be a cinch and I’d be making mad bank in no time.
The transition from military to civilian life is many things: a new beginning, and an exciting, scary, bittersweet ending to a unique way of life that we call military service. This transition can be particularly stressful for those who entered the military straight out of high school or college without having previously experienced a civilian career. Prior to stepping foot into the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School on a warm October day in 2003, I already had three years work experience under my belt after graduating college. Therefore, when I discharged from the military, I certainly had the anxiety that many of us feel making the transition, but I was at least familiar with working in a civilian environment.