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Campus Book Discussion (2018): Hillbilly Elegy

Chapter 10

In this chapter, we begin to see Vance’s transformation beginning to take hold.  While staying with Mamaw, he can see himself differently.  She gets him interested in golf because “that’s where rich people do business.”  He ponders the idea of going to college, but feels unprepared and wary about the impending debt, so he signs up for the Marine Corps instead.  Joining the Marine Corps was another pivotal moment in Vance’s life.  He devotes the bulk of the chapter explaining the many benefits he received from it,  including discipline, a strong work ethic, being strategic, and learning how to bounce back from failure. While Vance is away in the military, Mamaw becomes ill and eventually dies.  Another benefit Vance receives is being able to help pay for her medical insurance.   Joining the Marine Corps gives Vance direction for his life.  Becoming another one of his saving graces, it fills the void of losing his grandmother.  After four years serving in the Marine Corps, he enrolls at Ohio State. 

Military and Upward Mobility

After the Post-9/11 GI Bill: A Profile of Military Service Members and Veterans Enrolled in Undergraduate and Graduate Education
A report from the National Center for Education Statistics detailing common trends among veterans that enter higher education.
For-Profit Colleges Seeking Veterans' GI Bill Dollars Aren't Always The Best Fit
An article detailing some of the risks to veterans presented by private, for-profit institutions.

Food for Thought

Vance mentions two of his saving graces:  his grandmother and the Marine Corps.  To whom or what do you attribute your success? 

Who or what has inspired you to come to college?  Who or what is motivating you to stay? 

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