Your campus, Your story
Story by Aleya Evans
Meet Jacob Ahern, a Central Michigan University senior majoring in Health Administration, a current resident of Alma, Mich., and most importantly— a father. Ahern is a student veteran, but his goals reach beyond the scope of military excellence. Ahern sat down with Grand Central Magazine to conduct a Q & A on what it’s like to be in the minority of student veterans on campus.
Why did you join the military?
“When I was 18 I had a daughter, so at 20 years old I decided to join the military to better provide for her and my family,” Ahern said. “Everything was very structured and scheduled. We knew where to be and when to be there at all times.”
What is it like to be a student veteran at CMU?
“Being a veteran on campus isn’t much different from being a ‘traditional’ student. Unless people know me, they don’t usually know I’m a veteran. I do feel like I have to represent myself in a certain way because I am representing a completely different culture. I’m not just standing out for myself, I’m viewed as a part of the entire veteran community,” Ahern said.
What are the pros and cons (if any) of being a student veteran?
“The biggest pro of being a veteran is earning a free education. Not only is the schooling free, but you also get paid to attend college. There are also additional resources available to veterans that other students cannot take advantage of,” Ahern said. “The only con of being a student veteran is that we are usually older than a ‘traditional’ student. Some veterans may feel like they have a late start.”
How does the military tie into your collegiate career?
“My major is health administration with a minor in professional sales. Currently, I’m focused and hope to find an internship in healthcare. My dream is to work at the Brooke Army Medical Center which is located at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. That is the base that I started my military career at and I think it would be great to continue my career at the place that built me,” Ahern said.
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