I want everybody to recognize that you are reading the ramblings of one student veteran on Maryville College’s campus. I do not speak for every veteran, and there are a myriad of stories different from mine.
My name is Ryan, and I am a six-year veteran of the United States Army. I was privileged enough to spend my time in the Army as an infantryman. I spent my days shooting guns, camping, picking up cigarette butts and chasing bad guys. I was good at my job, but I wanted to have my autonomy back.
In July of 2013, I separated from the military, which allowed me to pursue my dream of growing a glorious beard and obtaining a college degree. I originally went to school in Florida, but I wanted to get out of there and move to the mountains. In the spring of 2015 I enrolled at MC.
My experience at MC started in January of 2015 when I was introduced to Professor Higgs, the faculty advisor for the Student Veterans Association, and the rest of the SVA. SVA is an excellent society that welcomes new student-veterans and the dependents of military veterans.
This campus has an extraordinary faculty that genuinely cares about students. Other schools might ask students questions and only care about the right answer. I am lucky to attend a school that not only encourages students to find the right answer, but also requires students to understand the principles that make an answer correct.
I am often asked how my status as a veteran affects my view of having college-aged peers. It’s as if others feel there is some cosmic divide between my younger classmates and myself. I’d like to make it clear that, although I have been on earth longer than the majority of my peers, I am not necessarily more mature than any of them.
I only recently feel I have a handle on this whole adult thing. This is apparent in my capability to compulsively binge watch Netflix and feel no regrets about it. One of the things I love about being a student-veteran is that it signifies that I am not finished learning or growing in life.
I have learned a lot from my peers at MC, but most of all I have grown to appreciate the youthful energy and exuberance that I see across the campus on any given day. Being near the MC student body has helped keep me young rather than become a cantankerous old man. For that I thank each and every one of my peers.