BYU-Idaho students come from different places and different backgrounds and are affected by different forms of stress. Some students have to deal with the anxiety that comes from having immediate family in the military.
Sarah Bennett, a senior studying communication, said that her life is different than that of the average girl because of her dad’s job in the United States Air Force.
“He and our family have sacrificed a lot, but I have lived in so many different places and seen so many things that most kids my age haven’t,” Bennett said. “The military has been a huge blessing in my life, and I would not change a single thing.”
Bennett’s father currently works as a nuclear inspector. He is an engineer and munitions specialist and has been in the military for 31 years.
She said her father’s job requires a lot of traveling, which her family has adjusted to.
“My sister, mom and I are so used to him being gone we normally only set three places at the dinner table even when he is there,” said Bennett. “It’s a running joke in our family.”
Cadi LaBier, a sophomore studying exercise physiology, has two older brother’s currently serving in the Army. Her dad and step mom also both recently retired from the military.
LaBier said that at times it is difficult to focus with family in the military.
“You’ll go a really long time without thinking about it, and then it hits you and you think ‘Oh my gosh, what are they doing right now?’” LaBier said. “Your imagination takes the wild side.”
When that happens, LaBier said that her studies take a toll.
“I tend to forget everything that the teacher’s saying when it hits,” LaBier said.
Amanda Funke, a senior studying political science whose father is serving in the Air Force as a nurse, also said that her studies are affected.
“There are some times where you don’t even think about it at all, and there are other times where there is stuff that comes , like possible deployments,” Funke said.
“When I get to talk to my brothers, that is when it really hits,” LaBier said. “I can’t be there for them when I want to.”
LaBier said that it isn’t always easy to talk to her brothers, because she doesn’t want them to worry about her.
“I would much rather take on the world myself than see what they’re going through,” LaBier said.
LaBier and Funke both said that there are ways to focus, even when family members are in dangerous places.
“I try and keep busy,” LaBier said. “I’m always doing something, which always helps distract me.”
Funke said she often feels anxious about her family serving in the military.
“There are a few uncertainties that make you nervous,” Funke said. “It makes you sit back and have to find ways to cope.”
Funke also runs or goes for a bike ride to take her mind off things.
Bennett said that the military has a positive influence on those affected.
“It is a big adjustment, but in the end, the military is a really amazing thing that can provide and teach structure, which they can, in turn, implement into their studies,” Bennett said.
Bennett said she knows there has been controversy with the military, but she thinks it is great to serve the country, even with the compromises.
“I am so proud of my dad and his service to our country,” Bennett said.
LaBier and Funke both said that one of the easiest ways to deal with having a family member serve in the military is prayer.
LaBier said that prayer can help manage problems in the immediate future so she can keep moving forward.
Funke said that people can always pray when things get hard and they will be comforted. She said that this comfort helps her be brave as she confronts her family’s challenges.
“We learn at a young age to put a smile on for the world,” Funke said. “Nobody will know if we are having a hard time.”