Yesterday I moved my office to a local coffee shop for a while, not only for the coffee (although I need my regular dose caffeine in order to function) but also for the social reasons. Working alone in my home office gets sometimes old, so I like to go through emails, put together presentations, or even do some programming in distracting environment.
Schools are about to end, so no surprise there were a bunch of High School kids prepping for finals. Kids struggling with math, wondering how to use a graphing calculator…. as a math nerd, I was slightly smiling behind my laptop. And eventually reached over to their table offering some help with geometry, and a quick 101 to the exciting world of graphing calculators. Kids were happy, thanked me for the tips, and asked if I were a math teacher. I did not admit that I used to teach Discrete Math on my Cryptography courses at the university, in general love numbers, and I know how to program tons of stuff on TI-89.
Kids continued their exercises, I got back to my work stuff. Until something else caught my attention. “I am thinking of going to Military Academy”. In another table a group of High School seniors were talking about the life after school… The same kid continued by telling how he had talked to school’s career advisor about his aspirations. Only to be turned down, and told it was not a good idea to consider military as a career option. The advisor had told the boy that military is not a future-proof career (what is future-proof in this world?), and in addition, people become crazy in the military. A career advisor says something like this in a military town? Has guts to say that military makes people crazy? I wish I had asked what High School he was at.
It does make me sad to hear people thinking like this about the ones who are brave enough to step up for this nation. Or discouraging those who want to show their appreciation for Red, White, and Blue. Even more it bothers me to hear how
even educated people generalize and follow their stereotypes. Yes, there has been individual cases where people with military connections have done things they should not do. But how many criminal actions have been done by people who have nothing to do with armed forces? A lot more.
Or PTSD… how many people out there suffer from PTSD? Way too many. PTSD is not tied to combat tours and military service but anyone can suffer from it after a traumatic event. And that traumatic event is a subjective experience – one thing may shake one person more than the other. Accidents, rapes, drug addiction, medical complications ….. they all can be underlying reasons for PTSD, not only the war scenes. But seeing the big picture can be challenging, thanks to the questionable publicity. Recently the TV therapist, Dr. Phil, called PTSD-suffering Soldiers “monsters”. TV shows like this do not help people with stress disorder, instead, they just increase the negative labels, and make the public to believe whatever they here.
“If I had not been diagnosed with PTSD (yes I have it), and if I didn’t tell you, you may not otherwise know. If I had no connection to anyone else living with PTSD and NOT tuned in to the show, the trailers alone would have led me to believe everyone living with PSTD is a MONSTER. I am NOT a monster. My husband, who lives with several other combat related injuries in addition to PTSD, is NOT a monster.”
Lastly, based on my (biased) opinion, military makes a great career for people who are hard-working and dedicated. It’s a lot more than just an infantry job but can take young men and women to anywhere from commanding the combat troops to work in the healthcare, international politics, logistics, … If you are ready to accept a challenge and work for your goals, the career opportunities are almost unlimited. I hope the high school kid sticks with his desire, and goes to the Military Academy.