Kristopher Young: From the Military to the Classroom
BA in Liberal Studies student Kristopher Young grew up in Ohio near Yellow Springs, and learned about Antioch University as it was part of the culture, but didn’t imagine that he’d attend Antioch in Seattle one day. Not long after graduating high school, he signed up for the military, serving in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
In 2015, Young decided to move to Seattle, beginning his journey to Antioch. Here, he did two years of community college, where he worked in the veteran resource center. “Working at the vets resource center, I learned about my benefits, from education benefits to the VA home loan benefits to disability compensation,” he recalls. This empowered him to help the veterans who came into the office, which helped him foster a close bond to those vets. “Coming from the Midwest south, not knowing anyone here, knew I could count on veterans not only to help me be successful but also to help me create my own path,” he says.
Eventually creating his own path included becoming a student in Antioch University Seattle’s BA in Liberal Studies program. At Antioch, Young values the way his courses are helping him think critically and systemically about the world he lives in. “Globally and socially, we need to figure out how to come together in a way that benefits everyone,” he says. “Antioch continually challenges me to look inside but also to look at my role in a particular system
Young also believes that learning to think critically is helping him to create a new identity as he transitions back to civilian life. “I’m becoming aware of my biases, and my unconscious motives, thoughts and actions,” he says.
Among others, Young’s Liberal Studies courses include a social justice course and a business systems course. He enjoys seeing how each of his classes are interrelated. “Not focusing on one subject at a time, I can take from each class and put it all together.”
Young is grateful for the opportunity he’s had to reflect on his experiences in the military and see how they have shaped him. As a Liberal Studies student, he is building upon those experiences. “Institutions like Antioch challenge people to look at their identities and to look at their environment,” he says. He describes how the male leadership he was used to in the military is completely different than the female leadership he finds at Antioch, and how it’s helping him let go of some of the aggressive ways of being he learned as a soldier.
Young’s experiences in the military and his experiences in the BA in Liberal Studies program at Antioch are informing his passion for helping other vets make the transition from soldier to civilian more smooth. “A lot of people get stuck in their military identity because it’s hard to let that go,” he reflects. “We need to figure out how to come together. What can I do to make that a smoother transition?”
Remembering how difficult it was to create a new identity after the military, Young is ready to do his part to help others and make his mark in the world. “I plan to leave my footprint in this world. I want to create a legacy,” he says.