The process of PSCing is tense. Since a military environment has always surrounded me, moving has been portrayed as an adventure and a positive point in my life. Being uprooted from your community, friends, and schools is not a casual occurrence. It is also followed by the expectation to recover almost immediately sitting on the shoulders of military kids, as if we possess an animal-like instinct to adapt since “oh, you’ve done this plenty of times,” or “I’m sure you’re used to it by now.”
However, I’m willing to surface the struggles of moving that are overlooked. As people around you are exclaiming their enthusiasm for your new duty station, it is normal to feel a wave of guilt when you aren’t as thrilled. It is okay to have negative feelings about a change in your life. Luckily, schools have made great strides to accommodate the needs of military teens and new students in general. Military kid clubs, social events, and “buddy” systems have all been implemented to make a smooth social transition; however, a smooth logistical transition is rare. We must address the disadvantages military teens tolerate with high school credits, class requirements, and class availability.
The minimum number of class credits to graduate varies from state to state. This seems reasonable based on states' rights, the public school system, and the fact that students typically carry out their primary, secondary, and tertiary education in one state. Personally, between elementary, middle, and high school, I’ve been enrolled in seven schools. So, said practicable class credit system has become more of an obstacle. As I jump from one state to another in my academic career, I am constantly picking up the slack my previous school left me with. In one school that only requires 23 credits to graduate, I am perfectly on track. However, once I move to a new school with 26 required credits, I’m far behind where I need to be. To add more fuel to the fire, some of the credits I have acquired sometimes are not “transferable”. In one school a dance class may count as physical education, but in another, a dance class is obsolete and will not count.
Accompanying the fluctuation of class credits is the variation of class requirements. Different school districts value different skill sets or knowledge for their demographic. For instance, one school I attended in Oklahoma required all students to take an agricultural-based class, whether it be regarding flora, fauna, or land cultivation. This requirement was quite helpful to the local students since a large percentage of the graduating class would proceed to work in agriculture. However, for me, a credit in agricultural studies lacked benefit since I wouldn’t be graduating from that school. Pertaining to my previous point, this class did not transfer to my current school, therefore leaving me behind for credits and compared to my peers. In my current school, in Virginia, a personal finance/economics class and CPR training is required to graduate. As a sophomore, the majority of my class has already taken these classes so I must play catch up. Furthermore, when I do take these classes as a junior or senior, I will be one of the few upperclassmen amongst underclassmen, while my friends have the leisure of taking electives of their interest.
My final grudge is with the battle of class availability. Typically, Course Request Forms are handed out to students at the start of the second semester and classes fill up quickly. When you PCS over the summer and enroll to choose classes at a new school, you are nearly six months behind. I will admit that the sparsity of classes usually occurs amongst electives. It is rare that core curriculum class spots are taken from you. Two years ago, transferring from Oklahoma to Georgia, I was told that the only elective available was a business class. Not only did I have absolutely no interest in business, but business was set as my sequential elective- meaning I would need to take the following business classes to fulfill my elective requirements. To cite another instance, my brother had taken French I and French II --language was no doubt his strength. After moving schools, he was told by the new administration that they didn’t offer any kind of French and that the only language they could provide him with was Spanish. As you’d expect, my brother was knocked off his French track and started over in Spanish I so he could complete four years of a foreign language.
By no means do these nuances outweigh the benefits of the military lifestyle, but at the end of the day, disadvantages are disadvantages. The life of a military teen is challenging, so it's okay to complain occasionally :) .