Thursday, April 14, 2016

One of the things that must have been a real circus was the arrival of GI Joe on the college campus.

Prior to WW2 colleges were sort of childish places. Kids fresh out of high school were supposed to do a lot of dopey stuff.

There were live in the dorms requirements, freshman beanies and all sorts of dopey little things. I suppose it was all a part of a college education when educations were for the well-to-do. 

The well-to-do sent their kids straight to college after high school so freshman year to a certain degree was just a part of the growing up process of the children of the well-to-do.

I chatted with an old Pacific Marine a while ago. He was the son of a working man of the time and he said that before the GI bill that college wasn't even a dream.

When the GI bill made college possible for a lot of working class veterans things changed. 

From a few of the stories I have heard over the years the colleges had a few things to deal with.

Married students was one thing. Quite a few GIs arrived on campus with wives and in some cases, children. Colleges were not really ready for that.

They also were not ready for freshmen in their 20s and some cases 30s that arrived there for nothing more than an education. They were more mature and focused. Most of them were there for a specific education. Many had hands on military experience in the fields they studied.

My father once told me about the early part of his freshman year. Some young freshman, away from home for the first time, kept everyone awake. Quick fix.

Three or four former GIs simply bound and gagged him and tossed him in his bed and left him there for the weekend. They simply told the rest of the dorm that if anyone untied him they would join him.

Inside a week the GIs were off campus. They told the administration they simply didn't have time for that kid stuff. They were there for an education.

The administration balked a bit but Dad and his buddies moved out anyway. They were a part of the change in college policies.

Freshman beanies didn't last too long, either. Former GIs simply threw them away. They also simply ignored a lot of the bullshit.

Actually it didn't take long for the colleges to smarten up. There were an awful lot of former GIs on campus now that didn't have time for the games. These were the guys that buckled down and hit the books. 

They didn't attend dances, socials, pep rallies and go out for sports. They were too busy getting their lives back in order.

Many schools even started the then unheard of concept of 'night school' and started offering evening classes. Of course, many GIs attended both night and day classes to be able to graduate earlier.

When you look at it in this day and age it's really not uncommon to see students in their late 20s and 30s in the college classroom. If you look at evening classes these days most of the students are older and many are veterans.

Truth is that the WW2 GI bill made colleges a lot more user friendly and approachable to older students.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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