Voices of Oswego Veterans

The Army Vs. The Classroom

Drew Clavelli

Photographer: Marina Hurlburt

Featuring: Drew Clavelli

“The Army vs. The Classroom” episode for the Voices of Oswego Veterans podcast is to show some of the struggles faced by student veterans.

Read Audio Transcript

About Drew Clavelli

Drew Clavelli is a student-veteran at SUNY Oswego. Drew is participating in the Voices of Oswego Veterans project to share his experiences in the military and the classroom. He is from Oswego, New York and was homeschooled most of his high school career. His school didn’t accept his home school diploma, so Drew attended community college in order to graduate high school. After going through the process of graduating, he chose to enlist, and served six years as a behavior analyst in the Army. His job was to apply behaviorism to people by performing applied behavior analysis. He was stationed in various places throughout his time with the Army. After his service, Drew decided to go to college close to home to major in psychology.


Listen to Audio

Madelana: Hello and welcome to “The Army Vs. The Classroom” episode for the Voices of Oswego Veterans podcast. I’m Madelana Wrubel,

Cristhian: and I’m Chris Diaz, thank you all for listening. In today’s episode we will be discussing what it’s like to be a veteran attending college,

Madelana: and the difference between the Army and the classroom. Trying to adjust to college life after high school, for most, is difficult enough. However, for veterans attending college after enlisting, it is extremely difficult to adapt.

Cristhian: Once again, thank you all for joining us. Today our guest is Drew Clavelli.

Madelana: Drew is a student-veteran here at SUNY Oswego. He served six years in the Army as a behavior analyst.

Cristhian: Drew is from Oswego, New York and is majoring in Psychology. So Drew, how are you doing today?

Drew: Doing fine.

Cristhian : That’s great to hear!

Madelana : So Drew, why did you join the military?

Drew: Hit a point in my life where I needed to decide what I was doing after high school. The choices between, at the time, college or military, and the military would end up paying for college and I wouldn’t get any debt out of it, so it seemed like the better choice at the time.

Cristhian: So, have you ever been in active duty?

Drew: I was active the entire time.

Madelana: While you were serving, did you have a specific job? If so, what was it?

Drew: I was an intelligence analyst, and that’s what I was the entire time. I was a specialist when I got out.

Cristhian: What branch of the military were you in?

Drew: The Army.

Madelana: How many years did you serve?

Drew: I served almost six years to the date.

Cristhian: What did you take away from serving in the military?

Drew: A lot of leadership skills, a lot of practice with sucking up and doing a task that needed to be done. And just a lot of valuable job oriented skills mostly.

Madelana: While you were away, was it hard keeping in touch with family and friends?

Drew: Not typically, beyond the normal just forgetting how long it’s been since last contacting them. The only time it was ever actually difficult was when I was deployed and then for various reasons, either you don’t have the capability to contact stateside or for whatever reason you’re not allowed to at the time, so that was really the only time it was actually difficult to contact family and friends.

Cristhian: Where are you originally from?

Drew: Here, Oswego.

Madelana: What made you decide to come to SUNY Oswego?

Drew: Most of this is my hometown, and it being a state school here, it just kinda fell into place as a convenient place to go to college.

Cristhian: What are you currently majoring in?

Drew: Psychology.

Madelana: What is it like being a student veteran?

Drew: Pretty close to being a student. I mean the only real difference would probably be similar to somebody who has already been in the workforce and decided to get a education later. Where it’s like instead of somebody looking at college as preparation of a job, it’s more of a mindset of already have that job in mind, and I already have training in that job, this is just a hurdle in the way of either getting another job or getting a better paying job. So that’s really only the different mentality beyond that it’s school is school.

Cristhian: Was the transition from the military to college difficult?

Drew: Not really, there are a lot of similarities between college and military life. In fact, like life on a base is pretty much exactly like living on a campus. The dorms you pretty much have the same thing on a base and people act the exact same way. Junior soldiers act just like college students, they do the exact same things, they get in trouble for the exact same stuff. The only difference being they’re going to a job as a soldier instead of going to a class. It’s really the only difference.

Madelana: What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?

Drew: Just, well I’m looking to go onto my masters after this, but then it’s just getting a federal job once I get done with all of this and get that extra money I get from having a degree, nothing too special.

Madelana: Thank you Drew, for your time. Our goal was to show that veterans are just like any other student on campus.

Cristhian: That’s all for today, thank you all for tuning in!