Military Veterans Prepare for College Classes

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

"It’s been three summers since I was here the first time and I remembered a lot of it but a lot of it I didn't remember so I found out where I need to start all over again."

United States Coast Guard veteran Timmy Shirley is starting his second tour of duty in a classroom since graduating high school 13 years ago. He's tackling Algebra and English in Veterans Upward Bound before enrolling in a post-secondary school to get a degree in recreational therapy and star a summer camp.

Shirley, who was medically discharged from the coast guard after suffering major shoulder injuries, said the prospect of heading back to school with people right out of high school can be daunting.

"Its kind of nervous going back to school because being 33 and going back to school with 18 and 19 years old kind of makes you feel a little weird because you don't know how they look up to you."

"Some of these people have been out of a school situation for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, so they haven't really been in an educational setting for a long time. So a lot of people have a little fear," Veterans Upward Bound teacher Davey Stone said.

In order to make the transition a little smoother for former members of the military heading back on campus, Veterans Upward Bound works with its students on applying for college, career exploration, and other issues that may be hurdles to higher learning for veterans.

Upward Bound director Randy Wilson said the program also gives its students something that most didn't have when they first began the journey to higher education.

"We gave them the confidence they needed. They didn't think that they could learn any longer and they found out they could and it’s rewarding and fun to go to school."

Shirley said he knows the road to a college degree is long, but he's got his eyes on the prize.

"Most looking forward to getting the certificate so I can get out and try to get my summer camp that I want to get started."

For more information on the Veterans Upward Bound program visit: www.wku.edu/vub or to view and informational brochure on the Veterans Upward Bound program click here.


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