Andrew Schneider, Student Services Supervisor, does not take his life for granted.
While in high school, many students who have military ambitions are already planning their careers and choosing which branch they will join when they come of age. Although Schneider’s grandfather was a retired Army vet, having served for 27 years, the thought of joining the military never crossed Schneider’s mind. Then when he was 22 years old, he quickly realized that he needed something to give him that push.
A proud service member who led his platoons during two tours of Iraq reflects on his past and why he initially chose to join the Marines.
“I needed something to better myself. I didn’t have any goals or ambitions at the time. I was just kind of living on my own, not really setting myself up for success later in life,” he explained.
Being a Marine has completely changed Schneider’s life for the better. He talks about the two most valuable lessons gained from his service, which are brotherhood and leadership skills.
“I have some of the best friends that live all across the country and one phone call away and we would all fly wherever we had to just to be together. And the leadership skills that I learned now that I’m in a supervisor role has definitely helped. Obviously a different aspect now at a university compared to in the military, but it just instilled confidence in myself.”
Serving overseas in theater in back to back tours was an eye opening experience, but one that Schneider cherishes. Only those who have been there can completely comprehend the full experience of what it is like to survive in a foreign country, among enemies and away from family
The transition back into the civilian world can be just as daunting, Schneider points out. “It is a huge transition and it is very difficult, and that’s why I still talk to a bunch of my Marine friends to this day. The transition is different because you’re so guided and strict in the Marine Corp. and in the military in general. I mean, everything is set for you; then the day after you get out, that’s no longer there. You don’t have to be anywhere at 0:500.
This is where the transition can be a bit tricky and where brotherhood comes into play. Trying to make it on your own without the support of friends will only make the transition that much more difficult.
Schneider is currently working toward his master’s degree in marketing. His career goals include opening a gym so he can share his passion of physical fitness with others in order to improve the health of his community. He also enjoys a good contest, where he recently came in second in the Louisiana Strong Man competition and earned Alabama Strong Man last August.
Schneider has his priorities in order. He will forego sleep in order to complete his homework, but for Andrew, his lovely wife Josie and children will always come first. “That’s just the way it’s got to be. I have to have my kid time in there” he explains.
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