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Married Service Members Describe Transition from Military to College

Written by: Mikaela ConleyNovember 11, 2015

“It is like a piece of you is still in the military,” Michele Wissing said of her battle with PTSD after she left the military. “You are here, but there are cracks inside of you that no one can see. Pieces of you left somewhere

else.”Michele Wissing and her husband, Sgt. Marcus Wissing, whom she met in Iraq, are currently both pursuing degrees at IPFW, and attempting to balance civilian life, military life, being a spouse, work and school.

Marcus Wissing, who served for 15 years in active duty in the Army and then the National Guard, working in intelligence, said that returning to civilian life after a deployment can be very challenging, especially when you add being a student.

He described one of the hardest parts as learning to drive in a nonaggressive way.

“Any trash on the road, you aren’t having to go around it, because when you’re over across the pond, you’re expecting every piece of trash to be an IED of some sort … I periodically find myself driving down the middle of the road,” he said.

Michele Wissing added, “Because it is the safest place.”

“It took me a long time, almost ten years to work up the nerve to become a student,” Marcus Wissing said.

Michele Wissing compiled a number of her own poems written about her struggles with PTSD into a book entitled “Fragments.”

“Each section deals with a different part of what it is like going in, being over there, the things you see, what it’s like to hear about a friend dying, I’ve talked to some veterans who have held friends as they died, and what it is like afterward, having flashbacks,” she said.

The book is for sale on Amazon and is expected to be on sale in the IPFW bookstore soon. A book signing is also anticipated.

“Some guys are looking for the same adrenaline rush they got over there. You can’t find the same rush of being shot at by doing 140 on a motorcycle. That’s where some guys get in trouble,” Marcus Wissing said.

Michele Wissing is currently employed by Military Student Services at IPFW, which offers various services and resources to student veterans.

“It is never too weak to ask for help,” she said.

Despite the difficulties that they faced in the military, the couple appreciates the experience.

“I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I grew up a lot because of the deployment, I found myself because of the deployment, I found you because of the deployment,” Michele Wissing said to her husband.