I was enlisted in the Navy for a little shy of eight years. Separation was a bit tricky — not the separating part, more the time leading up to separation. I was excited for all the possibilities I’d been thinking about for all the years I was enlisted, but there was also a very real anxiety about leaving behind an organization in which I had become so established. It was like leaving behind a very weird family.
What was I going to do? A career in the Navy was never part of the plan, but that was one of the few parts of the plan that hadn’t changed over the years. As time goes on, you learn some new things and yesterday’s good ideas become less so sometimes. In the last year or two before my EAOS (end of active obligated service), the woman who’s now my fiancée moved to the Philadelphia area for work. At that point, I started really looking at schools in Philly and Drexel University came up.
Leaving the military can be like starting over in a very dramatic way, but it was made a lot easier by having people around with a link back to the military.
In all honesty, I hadn’t heard of Drexel before I started looking at colleges, but my first impressions from the research I’d done online were good. I started calling, asking questions, and was put in touch with a Veteran Representative in the Admissions Office. The Veteran Rep got me all the answers I needed, everything to do with Drexel, G.I. Bill tuition caps, and Yellow Ribbon Program guarantees. After a few weeks, I was working through the application process and in February 2016, I was accepted to Drexel University.
It was in the weeks after being accepted that some of the anxiety began to slip away. Lots of other things fell into place. I started looking at apartments near a train route that would get me to 30th Street Station; I was put in touch with an academic advisor who also turned out to be a veteran; the Veteran Rep in the admissions office stuck around to help (he’s a veteran also). Leaving the military can be like starting over in a very dramatic way, but it was made a lot easier by having people around with a link back to the military. That link somehow made them a little more familiar, not to mention they’d done before what I was doing then and had good answers for everything I needed to know. I walked from one community into another one and I’m very happy and very grateful for the way it all turned out.