The Student News Site of University of Nebraska at Kearney

The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Non-traditional freshman friends

25-year-old freshman transitions to college dorm after 6 years in USAF

Rachel Smith
Antelope Staff

Blake Smith and Andrew Denman live on the same floor of Centennial Towers West (CTW) and go to breakfast in the union every morning. Although they have completely different backgrounds, they enjoy each other’s company.

This goes to show, traditional and non-traditional students can all get a great college experience by living in the dorms to meet new people. A traditional student usually starts college right after graduating high school, but there is no exact definition for a non-traditional student.

Blake Smith, a freshman business administration major from Papillion, is non-traditional student in that he started college after six years of being in the U.S. Air Force.

He is currently living in CTW to get the full freshman experience of college life.

Smith was security forces in the Air Force, the military police for the respective branch in which he served. “I did a lot of security and a lot of law enforcement, so coming into college as an ex-military cop is kind of ironic when you think about it,” Smith said.

Smith said the biggest difficulty in transition from a military background to college is really the culture shock. He said the college culture is significantly different in almost every way from the military culture.

“For me, that was probably the hardest part…just the extreme differences of the civilian college student and active duty military,” Smith said. Still, he wanted to live in the dorm to get the full college experience and said community is good to have when moving somewhere new.

Smith said he doesn’t regret starting college after the military because he has a lot of leadership experience under his belt, making a lot of his schoolwork more manageable. “I’m really glad that I have something on my resume before I finish college because it’s not just the degree I’m working with. I’m working with experience and for a degree so I think it should pay off in the long run.”

On the traditional student side of things, Andrew Denman, a sophomore social work major, said his freshman year was as typical as it could have been. “I always knew I was going to go to college. I thought about military, and I interviewed people for jobs to try and work first but it never really panned out, so I was like ‘might as well do college.’”

Denman lived in URS Pod B his freshman year because he signed with the Fraternity Phi Gamma Delta and lived in the house with his fraternity brothers. Although he met Greek students living in the house, he wanted to meet more non-Greek students so he decided to become a resident assistant (RA) his sophomore year. “I wanted to meet new people and I wanted to try the normal freshman experience,” Denman said.

Denman had seriously considered the military and still continues to keep the option in the back of his mind. “I talked to my parents about it, but I don’t have a traditional household, I guess. I have two moms, and have never met my dad. One of them was extremely against it, and the other didn’t really have an opinion. She’s like ‘Do whatever you want; it’s your life.’”  

Denman said, “Since my other mom didn’t want me to join, that kind of steered me away a little bit, but the recruiter said ‘That’s understandable, but think about being a part of reserves, or going after you graduate ‘cause you could become an officer right away.’”
So I’ve always had that in my mind like, that’s always an option,” Denman said. That’s an option he can always discuss with Smith. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Antelope

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Nebraska at Kearney . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Antelope

Comments (0)

All The Antelope Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *