Navy Veteran Embraces Student Life at UT

 

Bryce EdgemanBryce Edgeman has worked in Antarctica, New Zealand, and Japan. He’s 43 years old. And he’s a freshman at UT.

Edgeman retired earlier this year after serving in the Navy for twenty-five years. He decided to use his military benefits to attend school at UT. He’d become at Vol fan while working as a rescue swimmer in Pensacola, FL.

His co-workers were “a bunch of SEC football fanatics,” he said. “I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon with one of them.” Instead, he picked his own SEC team to root for. When it was time to pick a school, he chose Tennessee.

So far, he said, “It’s everything I thought it would be.”

Edgeman decided to join the Navy as a way to escape from his small hometown—Tooele, UT—and see the world.

“I just needed to get out of that town,” he said. “I knew I would probably do the same things everyone else did. I needed to grow up.”

Meeting new people and going new places were highlights of his military service, he said. He worked on a search and rescue team as a helicopter crewman. While in Japan, he had a staff job working for an admiral. He also spent time in Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Being in an area with conflict, he said, will “really test your mettle.” However, he enjoyed “seeing everybody work together to achieve one common goal: bring everyone home.”

Edgeman said serving in the Navy helped him define himself and gave him more confidence.

He also learned self-discipline and time-management skills that he’s applying to his studies at UT.

He said his schoolwork is challenging, but added, “I want to be the best UT student I can be.”

He is taking mostly general required classes but plans to study education.

Veterans Day coming up makes him think about peers he lost while serving in the military and how proud he is to have met them.

“It really has a very profound impact on me,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to serve my country with some of the finest men and women this country has produced.”

He’s equally proud to be a UT student.

“I’m embracing every opportunity,” he said. “I have that privilege because of my time and experience in the Navy.”

C O N T A C TS :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

Holly Gary (865-974-2225, hgary@utk.edu)

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