G.I. Jobs Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Virtual Job Fair   |   July 25

Journal of a Vet: Back to School

back to school tips for veterans

Stop the presses. Through very reliable sources I have secured access to the diary of Veteran 1st class (VO1) D.D. Tofortean (cue two drums and a cymbal). VO1 is new to the re-civilization process and this unprecedented access uncovers some of the challenges of returning to school after active duty service. Let’s take a look and see if we can find some back to school tips for veterans in the weeds.

First day of the semester

When my alarm went this morning off, I realized, two things:

  1. The sun was already up (they call this early?)
  2. I could stay in bed and not one LPO would call me (I get up anyway…thinking of that jerkwad LPO pisses me off).

Waking up on time to prepare for your classes is just as important as it was to get to duty on time. Hey, it’s nice that you don’t have anyone supervising your attendance but that’s because the college world expects you to adult. I know you’ll meet a lot of non-adults in college, but their mom may call them every morning at 7 to wake them for class. Unless you’ve hired your mom or your former supervisor to do the job, you best get on it. Check your schedule, take a look at your syllabus, see what’s on the agenda today.

I get to my first class 15 minutes early. I wonder if I’m in the right room cause no one is here yet. A kid wanders in, he’s still in pajamas, puts his head on the desk and goes to sleep, drool and all. Restrain myself from telling him to “go unfuck himself.”

Meet exhibit A, pajama kid has not reached adult level 1. He’s only in class early because either his mom (see above) or he never went to sleep. Tips for veterans going back to school, lean in here – that 15 minutes early thing was a great idea. Kudos to VO1, “go unfuck yourself” is generally frowned upon in the civilian world. Seriously, the regular world actually finds this statement quite offensive and may cry if you say it. Yeah, it’s freaking ridiculous.

What’s that? You don’t mind making people cry? Shit, you got a good point there.

Checked my voicemail: Command hasn’t taken me off the recall rosters yet, I’ve only been a civilian for three months. I snort laugh while in line at the Starbucks kiosk, it quickly turns into a cackle. The barista wrote “psycho” on my coffee cup.

One of the great pleasures of crossing the threshold from active duty to civilian-hood are command phone calls. They are wonderful. Laugh when they call, do a victory dance when you tell them that you own a DD214, let there be joy. Call your active duty buddies and taunt them. Let them all call you psycho.

No shame, no shame at all.

We did writing exercises in English Comp….can’t seem to stop writing in block letters. Closed out my Psych notes with “ALL SECURE.” Maybe I should talk to my instructor about this.

You will find yourself doing military things. It’s sort of like having OCD, you’ll see jacked up gig lines, you’ll curl your hands over imaginary rolls of quarters while you walk, you’ll generally annoy the crap out of yourself. Don’t worry it’ll be alright, one of these days, the gig lines will only mildly irritate you.

Someone told me my shirt was cool, said they almost joined the Army and asked if my brother was a soldier. It’s a freaking ship, man, with sails and an anchor, I don’t even have a brother… I breathe, look him in the eye and say, “You have offended my family… and you have offended the Shaolin Temple.”

Tips for veterans going back to school – stay calm. Lots of people just think “the military” means “the Army,” they also assume only men are in the military. It’s pretty dang infuriating sometimes, but consider this is a teaching moment. VO1’s use of the Bruce Lee quote is outstanding.

You’ll also meet a lot of “almost serves.” These folk run the gamut of: talked to a recruiter once, went MEPS to watched Zero Dark Thirty. Most of these same folk are respectful and recognize that it’s not the same as actual serving.

But sometimes you’ll meet that one person who seems to believe that their “almost served” is the same as “served.”

In this case, I recommend using the phrase, “go unfuck yourself.”

Have fun at school.