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Connor LawrenceConnor Lawrence is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Geological Sciences

1. What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed in transitioning from military life to civilian life?

In the military, the success of the unit depended upon everyone completing a minimum set of goals. When I started at West Point, we were quickly taught the phrase, “Cooperate and graduate.” This concept of success as a unit was also inherent during my time in the Army. In the academic world, this is definitely not the case. This is not always a bad thing; I am now solely responsible for my successes and failures. But there is definitely much less cooperation and teamwork in the academic world.

2. What is something you wish you had known before moving here?

The cost of daycare!!! No kidding! We still have plenty of friends in the Army with small children, and they are blown away by how much we pay on a monthly basis for daycare.

3. What is an important lesson that you learned in the military that has helped you in grad school?

Being in the military with deployments and hardships, etc. puts some perspective to a lot that goes on each day. I see other students devastated by failures or scared to death of confrontation. And not to minimize their concerns; they are still very real. But I think my military experience helps me to not let those failures or confrontations ruin my day.

4. What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?

UNC had a great program for what I wanted to study, and we LOVED the community when we visited. I look forward to Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s Market, the evening food truck rodeos, and Friday’s on the Front Porch—my favorite.

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