Why U.S. Military Students Are Among the Finest Students at Universities

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By Dorie Mattson, Christian Post Guest Contributor
October 24, 2011|4:41 pm

Like many of his generation, my father served in the United States Military and attended college on a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship. Discipline was a determining factor not only for advancement in his military career but also for a successful outcome in his academic career. A member of the United States Navy, he earned a college degree at the University of Southern California, a fine university where I was privileged to follow in my father’s footsteps.

My education has prepared me well for my current position as a college instructor. In addition to traditional teaching I instruct college students online through the University of Phoenix. While online instruction has given me the unique experience to teach students from all parts of the globe, I consider it a special privilege to instruct those who so honorably serve our country. Routinely at the top of their academic class, students in the United States Military are not only among the world’s finest soldiers, they are also among the finest students at our colleges and universities.

At a time when the use of public funds is being questioned, I am pleased to report that the public funding of our military student’s university education is a wise investment. Like my father, the military students display a discipline that is a determining factor not only for advancement in their military career, but also serves them well in achieving a successful academic outcome. While discipline parallels both military and academic success, exemplary time-management skills and preparation are also among the fine traits my military students bring to the classroom.

According to the book, Keys to College Studying: Becoming an Active Thinker, “Successful time-management starts with identifying your time-related needs and preferences. This self-knowledge sets the stage for building and managing your schedule, avoiding procrastination, and being flexible in the face of change.”

With multiple deployments to countries in all parts of the world, military students are experts at finding time in their demanding schedules to devote to their college studies. Preparedness is another quality they bring to the classroom, as evidenced by student who recently asked me about his class work in advance of his forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

General Colin Powell who became America’s 65th Secretary of State once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” While I applaud the academic preparedness of my military students I am equally pleased by the appreciation that their civilian classmates express to them. Our blended classroom has helped us to better understand and more fully appreciate the commitment of those who so honorably serve and sacrifice on behalf of our country.

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The encouragement to live an honorable life is found in 2 Peter 1:5-7:”Make every effort to add your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” These overarching virtues of faith in God and love for country are the underlying principles that bind all the rest.

I lost my father to cancer several years ago, but like other military veterans, he has left an imprint not only upon my life but upon today’s remarkable men and women who have followed in his footsteps to serve our country in the United States Armed Forces. While I am proud of all my students, it is a special honor to instruct those who wear the uniform that my father once wore, to help them receive a university education that he valued, and to take pride in their service to a country that he loved.

Dorie Mattson served as the Director of Dance for the Crystal Cathedral ministries for 20 years. She was the first person to play angel Gabriel in their holiday spectacle, The Glory of Christmas. She also served in the dual roles of assistant director and choreographer for the Crystal Cathedral’s, Glory of Christmas and Glory of Easter. Since leaving the Crystal Cathedral in 2004 she has taught Christianity and the Arts at Biola University as well as the Humanities at William Jessup University. In addition to teaching she earned a Graduate Certificate in Religion, Culture, and the Arts from the University of Oxford.
 

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