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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Current, future veterans speak on civilian life adaptation

BGSU is ranked second in the Nation, and first in the Midwest for veterans and active military students in the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2022 rankings, according to BGSU’s website.
Michael Fyfe

The adaptation of civilian life to military life can be rough for veterans. Current, as well as future veterans of BGSU, discussed their experiences while in the military, just in time for Veterans Day.

BGSU is ranked second in the Nation and first in the Midwest for veterans and active military students in the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2022 rankings.

Army National Guard veteran Bryan Bills discussed his experience with transitioning from civilian life to military life and how he got through it.

“The transition to military life was a shell shock. You learn quickly, and harshly during the basic training, as well as the correct and incorrect way of doing things. The most challenging part was not so much the physical aspects, but the mind games. Drill sergeants would frequently offer you the chance to quit or leave,” Bills stated.

Picking a branch can be a daunting task for some, but Marine veteran Michael Fyfe knew he wanted to be a part of the military starting at a young age.

“Ever since I was a little kid I was obsessed with military aircraft and all of that. I knew I was going to join the military at some point, but I didn’t know when. After my first time in college, I did really badly. I then decided to join the military,” Fyfe stated.

Fyfe had an easier time transitioning from civilian life to military life, when he enlisted in the Marines due to their strict rules.

“The Marine Corps makes it pretty easy to transition, because when you go into boot camp in the Marine Corps, you’re cut off from everything else. They basically break you a wall of habits, like if you smoked before, you don’t anymore and you don’t have access to it, so it’s pretty much you just quit the world cold turkey. They turn you into whatever they want,” Fyfe stated.

However, despite Fyfe’s easier transition into the military, he experienced hardships while coming back to civilian life due to the lack of preparation from the Marines.

“Transitioning back is rough. It varies from person to person, but from my position it was pretty rough, because I went from active duty Marine Corps life, and I had a week to transition back. Prior to you leaving, the Marine Corps makes you take a class that teaches you about your academic benefits, but they didn’t really do much to prepare you for being a civilian again,” Fyfe stated.

The military allows enlisting starting at just 17-years-old, which is when most highschool students start looking into their future, whether that be going to college, the workforce or into the military after graduation.

Trey Williams, an Army ROTC and nursing student at BGSU knew he wanted to join the military from a young age.

“Joining the military was something I always knew I would do. I joined to serve my country, as well as defend the principles and ideals our nation was founded upon, and to help pay for college,” Williams stated.

The selfless act of serving our country in the military can have lifelong effects on a person. Both Fyfe and Bills had their lives changed due to enlisting.

“The Military changed me so much for the better. I would sit in the back of class and was a quiet person. I didn’t have a lot of ambition, but I’m the complete opposite now. I will sit at the front of the classroom, answer questions and lead groups. I now run a tutoring program, it’s something I never would’ve considered before. I’m not afraid to speak out or be in front of people anymore,” Fyfe stated.

“I don’t think I would be the person I am today without the military. I would not have the life experiences, or the friends that I have now. Serving has forced me to miss holidays away from my family, but also taught me how to enjoy the people I surround myself with. Also, my back hurts every morning now,” Bills stated.

Bills also gave advice for those who are considering enlisting.

“Just do it. There is no time quite like the present. I firmly believe that I profited more from joining than I lost. You will find out pretty quickly who you are and what you are made of,” Bills stated. “Talk to a recruiter and pick a job that sounds interesting or fun.” 

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