Above photo is the BC Veteran’s Memorial “dedicated to the memory of Boston College alumni who died in service to their country.”
Two days into a trip from Boston to the Panama Canal, my Coast Guard cutter tucked into a harbor off Long Island to anchor while we waited out a winter storm. Like most of the crew, I took advantage of what might be my last hours of American cell phone service for three months to text family members and obsessively refresh my email. I stood on the flight deck and felt a momentary reprieve from the wind and snow whipping my face as I read the subject line, “Congratulations from BC Law.”
My first reaction was an embarrassing combination of shock and fist pumps directed in no particular direction. My second reaction was a sobering, “Now what?” After ten years in the military I’d grown accustomed to having a checklist and pre-planned response card for everything I did, now I was temporarily severing my connection to the outside world without any idea how I’d prepare or pay for law school. I didn’t know what kind of help to ask for, much less who to ask for it.
To any veterans in the same position as acceptance notifications roll in, I can say unequivocally that Boston College has your six. BC Law has a diverse and growing veterans’ community that can help you navigate the application, acceptance, enrollment, and academic processes. Here’s a small sample of the various benefits and organizations available for veterans at BC Law:
- Boston College participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. Once you’ve secured your G.I. Bill benefits you can learn more here.
- The BC Office for Institutional Diversity has an entire team dedicated to providing benefits, career resources, networking opportunities, and training to veterans through the university. You can connect here.
- The Boston College Career Center has specific resources just for veterans, and the Career Services Office at BC Law can help you find public or private sector job opportunities and internships…they can even set you up with the JAG corps if you’re interested in returning to active duty.
- BC grads have a remarkable alumni network, and the veterans’ groups on campus are working tirelessly to connect veterans from different schools and eras in an effort to strengthen it further. You can follow the BC Veterans Alumni Network on Facebook for news and updates. If you’ve been accepted and enrolled you can also join the BC Student Veterans Association group, and the BC Law Student Veterans Association, to get news, updates, or a mentor.
BC Law continues to take care of veterans once you arrive on campus. The Student Veterans Association hosts happy hours, events at local VFW posts, family picnics with professors who served in the military, tailgate parties and pre-game ceremonies at football games, and an annual Veterans Day presentation for the entire law school (and offers a variety of electives focused on national security, foreign relations, defense, and other related legal topics).
You won’t need a checklist or a pre-planned response card to navigate this process, but you don’t have to do it alone.
Brendan McKinnon is a 2L who is settling into life as a law student and new dad. He’s also a former Coast Guard Lieutenant who spent ten years chasing drug smugglers on the high seas. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.