By RYLEE GLAZNER
Many Amarillo College students are also military veterans. “They are usually a little older than the general student population, and they have had more experiences than what most people in general have been through,” Kelly Murphy, AC’s veteran coordinator, said.
Naturally, these experiences set AC’s veterans slightly apart from the general student body as they have learned lessons from serving their country.
“I think just being young and then being forced to do things you don’t want to do at all,” said Ben Bandy, a veteran and former AC student, “It changed me very quickly because you know you don’t have a choice, right?” he said. “It’s like, you go through basic training and then you go through technical training and you have to be at a place where you can start working.”
During their time in the military, many veterans said they not only learned skills, but became more resilient as a result of their training, which helped prepare them for college success.
“I would say that my military experience has influenced me to continually better myself, as well as having instilled those core values necessary to accomplish set tasks and goals,” said Kye Ramirez, a mass media major.
During their time in the military, student veterans say part of bettering themselves included learning effective communication skills.
“In the military, communication is everything,” said Bandy, “If you can’t communicate, you’re screwed. Everything is a team effort, you don’t do anything alone. So your communication is absolutely necessary on every level.”
As a result, the way in which veteran students perceive their peers can be unique. Often, they do not see their classmates as merely people who are in their classes, but rather like part of an interconnected team.
“Being a member of a highly functioning team is an experience like no other, and I look at my classmates as team members,” said Ramirez. “We all decided to seek higher education, so we should help each other succeed.”