BY: JUSTIN MCGREGOR
PHOTO BY: RUBEN DIAZ
According to a 2014 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ blog post, Americans view military veterans as one out of two things: broken or heroes.
CSULB student veteran Justin McGregor aims to debunk the broken veteran stigma by telling his side of the story:
Being in the army, just like school or work, had its ups-and-downs and it is not easy. The things that posed as challenges for me the most when I served were being away from my home and country – I served in Iraq for a year – and having to deal with combat.
In addition to those trials, I had to deal with the political side of working with others. One example would be remaining tactful when I encountered people superior in rank, but not in ability. All in all, I just dealt with things one day at a time and eventually overcame them.
Still, I had some of my proudest moments during the five years I spent in the service. I was esteemed by the respect I had from my subordinates and how they valued my knowledge and input. Just the fact that I was able to teach them certain things, such as how to handle combat, and how I was able to pass on my experience to others was gratifying.
Moving on to the next chapter of my life, I am now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in engineering through the help of the G.I. Bill. My experience in the army has helped ease my transition into school life by giving me the ability to manage stress and complex situations, solve analytical problems – as an engineering major, you get a lot of those – and be disciplined.
After school, I plan to go back into the army as a national guard as I continue striving to be the best at whatever I do. There’s always room for improvement, and I strive to be successful to my standards.