Illustration of figure, half in military garb, the other half in civilian clothes
Many military college students are enrolled in the school's ROTC but some have also served and are now veterans (Illustration by Alicia Paauwe)
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Illustration of figure, half in military garb, the other half in civilian clothes

You can also just watch ‘Cadet Kelly’ if you want to save time.

When people think of college students, they generally think of recent high school graduates whose move from home to a freshman dorm or apartment is a quick and easy transition. However, not all college students fall into this category.

College students range in both their ages and backgrounds: some come from out of state, some from foreign countries and some can even be teenage phenoms, if you’re lucky enough to have one of them at your university.

However, the class of college student most often overlooked are those serving our country. Their education is based off their service, as the government offers them special opportunities and benefits that help them easily apply, attend and obtain a degree within their university.

These military college students also offer the college campus a different feel and perspective when it comes to the manner in which they gain their education, and they can provide other students a different perspective in how they interact with professors, other students and fellow military members.

Military college students can be those currently serving, those who have enrolled in the campus ROTC and plan on serving or those who have served in the past and are now veterans. Whichever category they may fall into, these men and women are to be honored, as they are involved in matters separate from civil and citizen affairs.

If there are military college students on your campus, there are many things that you can learn from how they live their lives as individuals seeking a higher education. Here are some practical things you can learn from befriending or observing the characteristics of a college military student.

1. Discipline

From the very first day that military college students decide to serve in the armed forces, discipline has been instilled in their daily lives. From basic military training to college-course classes, discipline is the center of their daily regimes.

College students can learn the importance of discipline from a military college student’s life by watching how they comport themselves at school and work, as well as by mimicking how they apply other skills they’ve learned in the military, such as time management, to their college careers. The ability to obey rules, receive correction and apply a code of behavior on a current work ethic can help any college student achieve the best college experience they can.

Discipline is an important attribute within the military and should be developed and applied to the work life of a college student, as it will help instill diligence, good character and success in their current stage of life.

2. Good moral character and leadership skills

Another important lesson college students can learn from military college students is the importance of integrity within a person’s life. Military members are encouraged to develop their characters and build leadership skills during their time serving in the armed forces.

College students can learn the fundamentals of being a great leader and how to continuously build your character by using the discipline, physical activity and academic practices military members have gained through their time of preparing to live a lifestyle that is set apart from civilian life.

Military college students can also work well in teams, are taught to respect authorities and are encouraged to see their fellow service members as brothers in arms. Observing this type of ideology can help mold them into men and women worthy of serving our country.

3. Gratitude and service

One of the most relevant things that college students can learn from military members is gratitude and the importance of service. As a regular college student, there are lots of things in your daily life that you may take for granted when contrasted to the life of a military personnel.

Military members are usually deployed and separated from family members as they move across the country and, on some occasions, across the world. As a college student, you are privileged to go wherever you want and visit family as many times as you need.

However, for military members, they must abide by their orders and serve at whatever military base they are placed.

When looking at a military college student’s life, you can start to feel a sense of gratitude when you realize the privileges you never thought you had are put into perspective.

The acts of service that military members convey also prove a valuable lesson to the college student. College students can learn the importance of serving others and the impact it can have on individuals, communities and the country. Learning to be selfless and place care and attention on others is another way of fulfilling a more meaningful purpose while attaining a higher education.

Writer Profile

Briana Perez

University of Texas at San Antonio
English/Professional Writing

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