I spent the first two years after I separated from the military in business school. Heading back to a degree program gave me a chance to learn how to negotiate civilian culture in a relatively safe environment. I didn’t realize at the time how much more difficult it would be than I expected — and how critical that time would be to my future success, too.
I served in 5th Special Forces Group in Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries. We worked hard, and were constantly either in intense training or on deployment. Drinking alcohol for this unit is a time-honored tradition, complete with games that call out soldiers. Anytime someone said, “This is my first time to…” or answered a similar question in the affirmative, they owed the team a case of beer. This kept the fridge full and allowed for regular rituals in the team room, where we’d have a brew and talk about daily logistics before heading home.