Laurie Reiprich - Sioux Falls, SD

What motivated you to enter/return to college after your military service?

I initially entered the work force after my military training. It wasn’t long before I realized I wouldn’t be able to live the life I had imagined without a college degree. So, the motivation has been finding a job I love and one that will allow me to live comfortably.

What did you hope to achieve out of your college experience?

I hoped to gain skills required to be successful in my career and in life.

What do you wish you had done differently throughout your college preparation process?

I wish I would’ve spent time understanding how I learn best, so I was better able to study for my classes.

What was one of the most difficult aspects of entering college after your military experience and why?

My experiences in the military forced me to grow up and take responsibility for my choices. It was this maturity that made fitting in with my peers difficult, at times. But, at the same time, I attribute much of my college success to this maturity.

How do you balance your work and family life going to college?

Because of the education benefits I received, I didn’t need a job. However, I considered college my job and worked full-time in order to spend evenings and weekends with my family and friends. This balance kept me focused when it was time to work, but left me time to relax and have fun.

What have the education benefits of the GI Bill meant to you?

The education benefits I received as a member of the military allowed me the freedom to focus on my studies without the stress of wondering how I would pay my bills each month.

What is the biggest payoff of attending college after military service?

My college degree demonstrated my intelligence, while my military service was a testament to my character. Employers see me as the complete package for both reasons.

What advice would you give to a service member or veteran who hopes to attend college after completing military service?

I would advise any member of the military to simply take the leap and get back into school. The integrity, discipline, maturity, work ethic and time management skills that were learned (or strengthened) in the military are all very useful tools in the classroom. In many college situations, it will be these exact skills that catapult you to the top of your classes; not simply your intelligence alone.