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Meet Tina Butcher-Johnson, a student in the NLU Veterans Program

flag 3Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. I’ve been married for almost 13 years and have four kids – three boys and one girl, ages 6 to 12. Last year we took in my nephew after my sister passed away. I went into the military after high school and served three years in the Army and two years in the National Guard.

What was the most challenging part about returning to civilian and academic life?

I’d say the most challenging part was trying to “re-civilize” myself. I was used to everything being very structured and fast paced in the military. In the civilian world, there’s more of a laid-back attitude. The difference between the two worlds felt like turning a light switch off and on. You have to program yourself differently because civilian life seems more chaotic at times. You know that you have a task in the military, but in civilian life, it’s not as regimented and not organized.

Why did you select National Louis University ?

Once home from active duty, I enrolled in a local community college. My goal is to get my degree, and it was taking too long at the community college. My husband told me about NLU because he went there, too. I liked it because there weren’t a lot of young kids in the classes. I’m currently pursuing my degree in Applied Behavioral Science. It’s a 15-month program, and I’m on track to graduate in June 2014. My community college credits all transferred to NLU, which was a big help. My ultimate goal is to work with kids in a counseling setting in the public schools. I’m taking some classes online and in person.

How did you learn about NLU’s Veterans Program?

In whatever situation I’m in, I always ask the question: “I’m a veteran; what benefits are available to me?” So, when I was enrolling at NLU, I asked my counselor the same question and she guided me to the Veterans Program. Also, when I was in the service, the Army told me about educational benefits, and the VA clinics did as well.

How has NLU’s Veterans Program helped you, as a veteran military student, the most?

The Veterans Program has helped me maximize my benefits and identify scholarships. I always try to share information that I learn about benefits (and anything else) with others.

What should other potential veteran students know about NLU that they might not already know?

It is a great school for working adults. The cohorts are so nice. In the classroom setting you’re treated like an adult. Professors understand that you have a family. I don’t feel stressed. Instead, I feel like I’m sitting in a class with peers, and I’m learning so much.