Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 1 month ago

Is it normal to feel disconnected from your graduating class after military service?

I was discharged from the Army on January 15th of this year, concluding my active duty service obligation. I left the Army primarily so that I can freely pursue my education without the constraints of the Army's service requirements. This week was my first week back into a classroom as a full-time student since I graduated high school back in 2016. I didn't have any issues with the classroom environment or the actual study material itself, but I seemed disconnected from a large majority of the other students. What I mean is that I can't really relate to them on anything, and a lot of them seem naive and immature. A lot of them were simply disrespectful, had bad attitudes, and didn't have very intelligent outlooks on life based on my observations. When I'm told to do something by a person of authority, I habitually do it (so long as it isn't anything ridiculous). The other students didn't really seem to care. I almost feel as though I can't even really socially connect with most of them at this point. Is this normal, or do I just need time to readjust back into the civilian setting? Thanks!

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Yes, that's not unusual.

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  • 1 month ago

    I retired after a 25 year career, and went back to school.  Talk about a disconnect!  But, school was fun, and I worked hard, and did well.  The fact that many of my fellow students were less than half my age did not matter much.

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  • 1 month ago

    I think a lot of young people who served and then return to school have a difficult time relating to their peers.

    First, there is usually an obvious age difference which accounts for differences in maturity levels and values.

    Second, even if you were never deployed, military service builds a strong sense of commitment...if not to the notion of "cause" then at least to a sense of order and routine.  For many young people, college is their first taste of "freedom," and because of that they see life as more free-form and their attitudes tend to be more hedonistic and self-indulgent.

    The important thing to consider is that your life experiences are different and those differences are reflected in your behaviors, values and priorities.  While your classmates' immaturity might seem intolerable attempting to change them or expecting them to follow your model will probably cause even more headaches.

    Consider how most young people (possibly even you) respond to  parents and their peers when they preach stuff like "you wouldn't be acting that way if you knew what the REAL world was all about!"

    All you can really control is your own mindset.  Focus on the good in your life and the benefits you enjoy because of your service.  Be grateful for your own maturity, forgive the immaturity of others and focus on your academic goals.  With that mindset you might just find yourself in a frame of mind to notice others with similar values and form real relationships with them.

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