PCSing from a college student's perspective

PCSing from a college student's perspective

by Megan Waterhouse
Stripes Europe

PCSing is a major hurdle to jump no matter your age, whether you have done it a thousand times, or it’s your first time leaving home. Things become even more complicated once you go off to college. Instead of living with your parents year-round, you only see them on vacations and breaks. College becomes your primary home.

In my case, my parents have been assigned to a new duty station every year that I’ve been enrolled in college thus far. So, every time I have traveled home it has felt as if I was taking a mini-vacation to somewhere I had never been. While this is an exciting adventure and the anticipation of seeing your family is high, it can also be a peculiar experience.

Going to my parents’ new duty station for the first time is always a little odd. Making friends is difficult seeing as most people my age are busy spending time with their families, just as I am. The first time, back during my freshman year, I quickly began to realize how much I depended upon school to make friends while PCSing in the past. This feeling usually lasts for only a short time because before I know it, I am boarding a flight back to campus.

It is bizarre and deeply saddening to leave your battle buddies behind for 9-10 months when you’ve become so used to seeing them. Growing up as an Army brat, my family has been the only constant thing in my uncertain lifestyle. Throughout deployments, new schools and leaving friends behind every few years, my family has always been my anchor.

While there are many challenging aspects of PCSing as a college student with an overseas duty station, it has given me a wonderful sense of independence as well as a valuable life experience.  It has forced me to mature at a faster rate than others my age and has opened avenues for me creatively that I never expected. My college friends have become my family in Nebraska. I have been able to rely on them and make memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life! It is so important to have a strong support system wherever you are and it’s incredible to know that I have found that in a group of friends.

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