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Daryle L. Harris, MGySgt, USMC Ret

Meet a Student

Daryle L. Harris, MGySgt, USMC Ret

Saint Leo University

Area of Study
Criminal Justice

Military Service
Marines, Master Gunnery Sergeant/E9 (Administrative Chief) 1988-2010

To what degree does the GI Bill cover your school expenses?
The G.I. Bill covered almost 100% of my graduate studies. It also afforded me the opportunity to pay 100% of my spouse’s graduate studies for the final year of her program.

What prompted you to return to school?
Having a degree is a key ingredient in making oneself more competitive in today’s workforce. Specifically, often times a degree can be the factor that distinguishes similarly situated applicants for higher paying jobs. A degree demonstrates one’s ability to learn, work hard, and produce results and also the desire for self-improvement.

Was adjusting to campus culture a challenge after military life?
One of the benefits of military service was that it helped prepare me to excel academically after retirement. I had mastered the art of time management. Being a Marine had prepared me well for balancing the demands of graduate-level course work with my post-military career.

What has your experience been like at Saint Leo University?
Saint Leo provided me with an opportunity to accomplish a life-long goal because of its affordability, availability, and accessibility. My academic experience is one that I will always cherish because of the relationships established and the sense of pride and accomplishment that I shared with my class.

Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student?
My military experience absolutely made me a better student! The military is a great place to learn the intangibles that it takes to be successful in academics. Determination, commitment, courage, and motivation are the epitome of military service. Those same qualities are beneficial to adult learners as their chosen course of study becomes increasingly more difficult.

What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?
Treat returning to school like your next mission. You would never accept failure as an option for a military mission; and, your military mission is always defined by a time constraint. Set a time constraint and accomplish your mission! You may make adjustments for unforeseen obstacles along the way, but never let an obstacle become an excuse.

Additional Comments
After ascending to the highest possible rank that I could attain as an enlisted Marine, I learned very quickly that military rank and experience alone were not sufficient to land the type of job that I wanted. I had to put myself in a position to be among the “best qualified” applicants. I invested in education in order to compete with those who had not served because employers are fully aware of the educational opportunities made available to veterans. Potential employers sometimes have negative perceptions about veterans who passed on military education benefits. Moreover, military service coupled with an education will give vets a leg up on the competition in the veteran-friendly work environment that we now live.