Sherry Shi

Served in the Army
from 2008 – 2012

When were you drafted or when did you enlist?

I enlisted in July 2008.


What do you remember about that day?

I remember talking to the recruiters at 17, shifting from apprehensive to excited the more I learned about what serving in the military would be like. They really wanted to make sure that I was joining because I wanted to and that I knew what I was getting myself into. Surprising, in hindsight!


Can you describe a happy moment from your time in the service?

The camaraderie with my fellow soldiers were always happy moments for me. I particularly remember my first duty station in Wiesbaden, Germany, and what it felt like experiencing a new, exciting place with fellow soldiers who were in it alongside me.


Did your military experience inform the way you think about war or the military in general?

It did. It certainly makes me less enthusiastic about war, and when the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan, it really hit home for me and my fellow veterans. I think veterans and military personnel empathized the most with the collapse of Afghanistan.


What were the first few months out of the service like?

They were bittersweet.  Intimidating to transition to college with students who are 18 and did not have the same life experiences. At the same time, I was excited to begin the next chapter and my civilian career. Transitioning was less difficult for me than it may have been for others, as I was still young when I got out of the military.


Do you have advice for those transitioning out of the military?

Seek resources and connections as much as possible. If you are transitioning to a university as a student veteran, join your local Student Veterans of America (SVA) chapter or start one. Some veterans tend to dissociate themselves with the military after transitioning, but the resources out there for veterans are incredibly valuable and useful. Learn how to translate your military experiences to the real world on paper. By doing the above, I was able to obtain a White House internship and Google scholarship while in college.


If you hadn’t gone into the service, what do you imagine your career life would have been? Did you explore a different career after service?

I would not have been nearly as successful if I had not gone into service. When I joined the military straight out of high school, I felt lost. My military service truly transformed me as a person, and I developed experiences and skills I never would have otherwise. It also opened my eyes to what I wanted to pursue in college.