In my class last year, two students in army outfits sat together. They were shy with me, but I learned they’d met in the army, got married, had kids. He’d been in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. She’d been US-based, worried sick. Now, between tours, they were trying to get college degrees, raise their kids and make their way in the military and life. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for them, but they weren’t complaining. They seemed at peace.
He stopped coming to class about half way through semester. She kept coming. I will forever regret not asking her what happened. He passed, but with a C or a D, I think, working off the Angel notes and talking with his wife he later wrote me. After, when the year was done, I learned he’d stopped coming because – get this – he couldn’t deal with all the whispering conversations in class around him, and the inanity of the stuff discussed by the whisperers.
Imagine what that’s like. You’ve been in combat. You have a family to raise on not much money. You have no parents paying your fees or living expenses. And kids around you are talking about their boyfriends, football, manicures and celebrity gossip while you are trying to learn.
Those kids drove a seasoned combat vet from my class.
One reason I got so pissed.