Sofia Sanchez/Contributing Writer
As college students, stress to us is printing an assignment out, knowing we are going to be late, before sprinting across campus toward our next class to make it on time; stress to millennial soldiers is an entirely different concept.
We have never had to decide who lives and dies or had to push aside thoughts about the family of an enemy.
With deployment dates, nights spent sleeping on a cot and missions to complete, stress levels in combat zones are at an all-time high. Overseas, where they ensure our safety in the states, soldiers endure hardships that can be difficult for some to even imagine.
For many men and women, enlisting is a way to pay for school. After they have served their prescribed time nobly serving our country, veterans step onto campus with anxieties arguably lesser than those they felt on the battlefield, but anxieties nonetheless.
This is because what these millennial veterans would consider as stress is foreign to most students. They’ve seen bombs going off, have been shot at and have seen lethal fiery explosions. They’re not so easily fazed by exams and upcoming due dates because they’ve known times much worse.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t nervous about these things because it’s hard not to be, but they simply cannot relate to the hair-pulling, hyperventilating panic that most coffee-crazed students endure.
These veterans have seen true panic and danger, and the catalysts that typically cause the average student to freak out wouldn’t leave them so rattled. They’ve seen more and experienced more than anyone who wasn’t alongside them could ever fathom. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of experiences they’ve had.
Their time spent serving our country has given them more responsibility and rigidity, and has forced upon them a maturity that most of their classmates probably couldn’t handle.
The constant struggle of millennials is wondering if they are “adult enough” to take on the daunting tasks that lie ahead. I can resonate with this concept because I’m habitually questioning whether or not I’m capable of a certain task.
It’s this insecurity, I believe, that binds a generation, and millennial vets have been robbed of the opportunity to feel this.
They’ve had no other choice but to grow up, and grow up quickly, during their time overseas. They had to focus on getting themselves, and the people serving beside them, home safely. That has been their primary focus as they trek across sandy hills and through villages seen on the news.
Upon a celebratory homecoming, it can also be difficult to try and fall back into rhythm with a group of people whose eyes bug out of their sockets at the sight of their to-do lists.
I know I’ve had this particular reaction to my assignments more often than not in the past few months.
Millennial veterans don’t tread the uncertain line between childhood and adulthood the way their peers do, and therefore, are able to have a more profound outlook on life and enjoy the simple moments.
Millennial vets didn’t have time to question whether or not they were ready to become adults, they were simply forced to dive head-first into that and all the responsibilities that entering the world entails.
Though they may be more grown up in those terms, one similarity that strictly bonds all millennials everywhere is the petulant question: What am I going to do with my future? And this is a universal form of stress that can be known to all.
The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of FIU Student Media Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.
Image retrieved from Flickr.