Jamie-Lyn Truax attended college after she graduated from high school but struggled as a student financially: “I found that I needed to work more, and the cost of education was beginning to rise so I needed to find an efficient way to pay for school.” She joined the Navy and did not consider taking classes while in service. “I did not attend courses while serving because I knew that I was committing to service to receive those education benefits, so I was willing to wait until after completing my contract,” she stated. After her service ended, she decided to try attending college again.

Finding out information about college was easy with military assistance. “I was limited in which colleges to choose from,” she explained. “But the resources available to help shop for a college were incredible. I wish I had those resources when I was in my senior year of high school. The resources were part of the course that I went through…the name was Transition Assistance Program (TAPS).”

For Jamie-Lyn, being a college student post-service has been easier than when she attended college before joining the Navy. “During my military service there was an emphasis on discipline and taking courses online requires a lot of discipline. When I went to university, prior to enlistment, it was way too easy to be distracted and have your discipline undermined. My time in the military greatly improved that for me.” She also continues to use some skills she learned during her service. “The main skill is leadership. I’ve held supervisory position prior to service but I never had the opportunity to actually lead,” she said. “I was able to do that [in college] and I learned a lot about what it meant to motivate a team and bring out the best in individuals.”

She also feels that students are put under pressure to go to college without being given many other options. “I wish there was less pressure to immediately figure out what you wanted to do with the rest of your life. Taking time out after high school graduation to work or even have a gap year would have been more beneficial to me. I think completing military service right after high school would benefit a lot more people rather than jumping into college.”

Her advice to Veterans thinking about attending college is to use what they learned during their service to their advantage. “Do not throw away all the skills you acquired during service; they will benefit you. Most importantly you sacrificed years of your life for your country; now is the time to focus on yourself and do what’s best for you. You’ve earned it.”

Writer: Sarah Concepcion

Editors: Annabelle Colton, Julia Pack

Graphic Designer: Kiki Kelley