For 33 year-old Michael Dooley, making the transition from an automatic weapon to a pen or pencil wasn’t easy. The senior journalism major at North Central College spent four years in the Army and says, the challenges of serving in the military and the challenges of college are like night and day.
“Here its 100% mental very little physical and there it’s about a 50-50 split,” said Dooley. “You’re learning stuff over there but its not academic. You would call it field craft.”
It’s thanks to the Yellow Ribbon Program and the generosity of North Central College that veterans like Dooley can earn a degree from the college.
“With Yellow Ribbon the government pays the same as it would pay at the flagship institution of your state,” said Laurie Hamen, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Athletics and Student Affairs. “So the government gives veterans benefits the same as it would at the University of Illinois and the college agrees to pay the remaining cost so a veteran could go here at no cost for tuition.”
This is North Central College’s first time on the Military Friendly School list. The list recognizes the top 20% of schools who admit soldiers and veterans. Dooley said he is thankful for his military training because it is that sort of mindset that keeps him on top of his schoolwork.
“You don’t get to opt out of anything. You don’t get to not go to class one day for the Army and the military in general so you learn to just get done what has to be done because it needs to be done,” said Dooley.
Dooley says it’s difficult to reintegrate once back in the U.S. but it’s up to the current student-veterans to get involved and set the example for the future.
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