Transitioning to Civilian

Jason:

This is my first blog so be gentle please. But first a little about me. My name is Jason Moore. I joined the army in 2010 as a 13B or other words knows as Field Artillery Crewman. I was stationed at 101st Airborne Division after basic training and AIT (Advanced Initial Training). I was shortly deployed to Afghanistan in the Kunar province for a year.  I spent 3 years in the army and got out due to a medical reason. When I got out I thought I would just go back to my normal civilian life but it wasn’t easy.

I decided to try and start school to occupy my free time and thought again “this will be easy, I’ve been through the military training, I got this in the bag.”  I was wrong, though. This is a completely different world than I thought. If it wasn’t for the great resources the Veteran center had such as peer tutors, a private place to study (the lounge) and instructors like I had (Joe Slonka, and Richard Corbetta) and all the others in the paralegal program, I believe I will would have quit, but I’m glad I didn’t. But I’m not the only one. DJ will tell you his story now.

DJ:

My name is Daniel Cunningham, like Jason this is my first time writing in a blog format so please be understanding to the both of us. I joined the military back in 2005 as a 91w at the time, it is now known as a 68w or medic. My time in the military was very diverse. I went from Ft. Hood where I had my first deployment to Iraq with 4th ID. When I got back I was put with 1st ID 1/26 where I went on my second deployment in 2008 to Afghanistan. After that I did a stent in Korea and finally came back to 1/26 at Ft Knox, where I went on my final deployment which ended with me being medically retired from the military in 2014.

Coming out of the military was extremely hard on me. I did not want out and I had fought my medical board for almost two years before I finally resigned to my fate. When I first got out I lived with my family here in Colorado trying to figure out what I should do with my life now. My life goals of doing 20 years in the military and then going over to the police force were no longer possible, so I spiraled into a state of depression. Finally, my wife had had enough of me and forced me to go to school to find myself again. Since then I have been a lot happier and have finally chosen a career path for myself, geophysical engineering, which feels good. I believe that being around the fellow Veterans here at ACC and hearing their stories has helped me move through the transition and find a new life outside of the military.

ACC can be a great place for each of our Veterans coming back. We want each of you to find your place here at ACC – join us in the Veterans Lounge, stop by a Student Veterans Association meeting in the fall or use any of the great resources. While it will not always be easy to make a transition, by making connections here at ACC, you’ll have an overall better time here and hopefully a successful experience. You can contact us at jmoore249@student.cccs.edu and dcunningham23@student.cccs.edu

by Jason Moore and DJ Cunningham

Veterans View – From Soldier to Student

Jeff Fogg, President of ACC's Veterans Club

Jeff Fogg, President of ACC’s Veterans Club

I am not what most would call a “traditional student”, in fact, I’m the older guy at the back of the classroom; an Army veteran who has found a home here at Arapahoe Community College.

My first week of school, I was nervous to say the least, but with the encouragement of my wife Krysten and the motivation of our child on the way, I needed to succeed. This was my opportunity to start my education and pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a lawyer. My nerves, as it turned out, were unfounded, because with the help of ACC’s student veterans and the College’s Veteran Services Center, I am doing it.

Ever since my discharge from the Army, I have been distant from my veteran status because – although I served honorably – I felt that the Army did more for me than I did for it. I can’t nail down one specific amenity ACC offers to its student veterans that has made the difference, but rather, a combination of services and values. From the veterans lounge on the first floor, to Dawn Stratton (Veterans Club Faculty Advisor and Testing Center Coordinator) and Ariel Mendez (Financial Aid Advisor and VA Certifying Officer) up on the second floor, ACC has to be one of the friendliest schools around.

It may be difficult to understand from an outsider’s perspective, but I’ve struggled with “personal space” issues. When someone is walking closely behind me, I become very anxious. This was, in fact, what was keeping me out of school.

When I started at ACC, I met a fellow soldier who experienced these same feelings of personal-space anxiety. Thanks to the compassion and understanding of other student veterans, as well as Ariel and Dawn, this anxiety began to slowly dissipate. It’s difficult to express how much this support has improved my morale. I was made to feel welcome and safe during my first year at ACC thanks to their support and patience, and my guarded mannerisms began to diminish. I hope I can provide other student veterans with the same comfort.

As President of the ACC Veterans Club, I work alongside some of the most dedicated veterans, with a focus on helping other vets achieve their goals at ACC and beyond.  Beyond ACC? With the extraordinary faculty and staff ACC has to offer, leaving behind such an amazing support system can be a daunting thought. From an emotional standpoint, members of our Veterans Club understand this dilemma, and we work together to connect with other vets on a peer-to-peer basis to encourage transferring to a four-year school, or even entrance into the civilian workforce.

When our current members recently began revitalizing ACC’s Veterans Club, we were encouraged by the College’s amazing faculty and staff. My hope is that our new regime, along with future members, will continue to reach out and assist student veterans with servitude in their hearts.

by Jeff Fogg, President of the ACC Veterans Club