After two and a half years I finally completed my Bachelor of Science in Human Services Psychology. Something I was told from the get go after I was injured was that, “your brain does not function the same as it used to,” and “you will be lucky if you will ever run again.” Since those words came from a doctor, I made it my personal goal to show them the difference between a person who gives up and a person who strives to better him or herself. Fortunately, having a strong network and some of the nations top veterans in my corner I have made a lasting impact on myself, my family, and the people who doubted my success.
Completing college has been difficult but nothing compared to some of the longest days I experienced in the Army. Trying to convince me that I was not going to perform well, only added fuel. That fuel raged inside of me. I spent almost a year seeing a Speech Therapist to retrain my brain to get back to functioning where it used to. Was it easy? No, nothing easy is worth doing. I needed to expand my knowledge and re-tool myself to better fit the civilian world. Has it been seamless? No, there have been some ups and downs, actually a few times I had to walk away from college in order to stay focused on the objective. Is school going to be the last obstacle I face in this world? Absolutely not. Understanding that life is full of obstacles and challenges is key to staying on a successful path. You have to learn to analyze the risk involved and see if the suffering is worth it. If its not, walk away. Reorient yourself on a new azimuth and move the f*** out.
Is sitting in a classroom full of 18-21 year olds that bitch about things that are absolutely irrelevant difficult? Yes, being a chameleon in the classroom is imperative to getting out of there without everyone hating you. Have I wanted to make the walls sweat with every little “XBOX malfunction issue” and “its too early comment,” you bet your ass I did. But leaving my comments to myself and understanding that when I was 19 I was jumping out of airplanes and blasting the enemy in the face. Something most people at that age will never experience. I look at myself as a person that has a skill set, high above the rest. What I learned throughout my military career is more than most learn in a lifetime. I can choose to walk away from those skills or carry them with me only to use them in the necessary situations. College tested me in a dynamic capacity, it is over now but a test is something that keeps us all honest, our work ethic fine tuned, and gives us an opportunity to succeed on the outside. As a veteran, I know the odds are against us, striving to raise the bar is something we need to keep burning inside of us.