Mike Lemon ’14
Program Type/Area of Study: Social Sciences
Military Branch: Marine Corps
Years Served: 1994-1999
Tell us about yourself:
I started college at the age of 33. I had never planned on obtaining a college degree. I had always thought of myself as “not college material” because of my high school days and the aptitude test that I had taken in those years. I was not a stand out student and graduated high school with a ‘C’ average. But, I always wanted something more than what I had.
What prompted you to return to school?
In my early 30s I decided to give college a try. I have always liked to read and enjoy learning about history and I pay attention to current social events. After talking to my father-in-law, who is a college professor, I decided to start my studies that led to me obtaining my degree in Social Sciences.
Why did you choose Dominican University?
I chose Dominican University on the basis of recommendations I received from graduates from the college, and because of the flexible course schedule. Dominican University has a very strong family of current students, faculty, and alumni.
What has your experience been like as a student?
I worked full time along with being a student at Dominican University. This, along with all the other responsibilities that we all have in life, complicated my day-to-day life. But, the professors at Dominican University have been in the same place as students and understand and make accommodations as they can. My experience as a Dominican University student has been very rewarding. The student body population is very diverse. I made life-long friends during my time as a Dominican University student.
What challenges did you have adjusting to campus culture after military life?
I had made my adjustment to civilian life before I became a student. It can be a difficult transition, but there are a number of support groups available. In some ways campus life is much like a M.O.S. training school, minus the weekly inspections. The trick to adjusting to civilian life is letting go the unnecessary parts of military life – like the weekly inspections – and using what can help you in life, like the your military discipline and bearing and attention to detail.
Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student?
I know that my time as an active duty Marine helped me be a better student. I used what was instilled in me as a Marine to help me not give up on my assignments and to improvise, adapt, and overcome whatever challenges I came across in my different courses. Also I look back at some of my missed opportunities and am determined to take advantage of every opportunity that comes in the future.
What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?
Find that thing that you want to do and go for it. Don’t let others set your boundaries and don’t set your own limits. See what you want to achieve, plot out the steps needed to reach it, and take that first step. Each step after the first brings you closer to your goal.