Those of you that are frequent readers of thefraternityadvisor.com realize that I am a veteran. I served for 5 years in the military, which included two deployments to the Middle East.
Deploying is a very interesting experience. The temperature is dreadfully hot. The living conditions aren’t great. You are always dirty because of the sand that more closely resembles powder. You end up working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. And there are people shooting at you…
That being said, deploying is about the closest experience to being in a fraternity since I graduated from college. You eat, sleep and work with what becomes your closest friends. A camaraderie develops that is only matched in a fraternity house.
There are, or course, many differences between the experiences. One glaring difference is you appreciate things more when you are deployed.
The fact is there really isn’t much to do on a deployed base. And the things that you can do you have already done a hundred times. But because you are so limited with your options, you seem to really appreciate the little things in life. This is especially true with your friendships.
Remember this as you go through your fraternity experience. Appreciate your friendships with your brothers now, because most of them will drift away after graduation.
Take advantage of everything being in college has to offer. Never accept being bored. Get out there and make a difference. Live it up and have the time of your life.
And next time you are in an airport and see a soldier in uniform, take a second and shake his hand. Thank him for keeping us safe, and let him know that you appreciate his sacrifice.
I have been that soldier before, and I will tell you it will mean more to him than you’ll ever know.