Hassan: Having That Support System

Hassan Al-Awady

  • U.S. Army, three years and six months 
  • Computer Science major
  • Working toward university transfer, 2021

I am an Indianapolis, Indiana native, and I graduated from Pike High School with the class of 2015. No one in my family or previous generations had taken the college route after high school.

Hasan Al-Awady in fatiguesInstead, all I knew was the working class. Following what I knew, I became part of the working class immediately after graduating from high school for a few months. However, working all day and all night for little to nothing in exchange just did not sit well with me at all.

At the time I had no clue what the military would have in store for me. At 19 years old, I made the biggest decision I had ever made – to leave everything behind and enlist in the United States Army.

My military experiences affected my views on educational goals in very positive and motivational ways. Shortly after joining, I knew I didn’t want to spend my entire career working for Uncle Sam. I was surprised, because – let’s be real – it’s an amazing experience, serving your country alongside your brothers and sisters in arms. However, the military helped me realize that that’s not the end goal, but only the process. They encouraged us to move into new areas and grow. I no longer had interest in doing something any citizen can do. I was ready to use my skills and adaptability in new environments. I am surprised I knew this so early into my time in the military. I confidently knew I wanted to separate from the military halfway through my initial contract.

A Smooth Transition, Then College

Hasan Al-Awady in front of Mt. RushmoreThough I was overseas at the time my contract came to an end, my experience transitioning out of the military was a very smooth one. Everything was handled with ease and fell right into place! Mind you, my home of record is Indianapolis, so it was all the more surprising how easily the veteran process was when I transitioned out. Overall, the transition couldn’t have been better!

I was blindsided with the idea of going back to college once I returned home. I have my loving parents, two older brothers and three younger brothers who pushed me to get back into school. I knew as long as I have their support that I could succeed in college. Having that support system is the main reason I have been able to move across the country, enroll in school, and hopefully successfully transfer to a school of my choosing.

When looking back I would advise anybody else approaching the path of being a college student to go for it! Make sure that you will be able to dedicate proper time to your studies and that you have a constant support system to remind you of your worth and help keep you motivated. Lastly, enjoy the process and good luck on your journey.

– Hassan Al-Awady, spring 2020

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