Packing up: the struggle to say goodbye


Emma Santillo

The boxes are packed, the furniture’s loaded–the annual process of War College families moving in and out of the Carlisle area will soon be upon us. But how does it feel to be the one staying behind and saying goodbye?

As soldiers from the Army War College begin to get their orders, kids of the soldiers, commonly called military brats, are already preparing to deal with losing their friends and having to make new ones, while the kids of civilians prepare to say their goodbyes to their war college friends.

Many military families have already begun looking at new homes and schools. This process can cause more distress for the kids and teenagers as it takes away a lot of time they could be spending with their friends when they only have a couple of months left to be with them.

Even though everyone has gotten used to it, the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) process is still a struggle. 

“It’s hard to make friends and be interactive,” Eve Strong, the ten-year-old daughter of a National Guard Lieutenant Colonel at the Army War College, said. “I have made more interesting friends such as a dog, cat, fish, turtles, and if this counts, plants.” 

Military brats are struggling with many things during PCS, with both their social life and family life. There is a lot of work and stress for the parents when moving, and that can affect the students as well.

Along with the sadness from losing friends and having to make more, the PCS season can be stressful for military brats. Many students’ parents bring them along to look at houses and schools, have them take care of their younger siblings, make them help with the claim because they know the movers will break things, and cause them stress just by being stressed themselves. 

Another struggle military brats have to deal with is preparing to live in a new place. Many of them have to find new jobs every time they move, and employers are less likely to hire people who they know will only be there for a year or two. 

They also have to prepare their course selections for their new school. This is difficult because different schools have different graduation requirements and different orders in which students are supposed to take courses, especially in social studies and sciences.

Civilian students also struggle with the PCS season because their friends are stressed and because they will soon have to say goodbye to their military friends, and hello to new war college kids coming in that they are pressured to make friends with. 

Caden Ginter, a CHS freshman, has lost friends because of the war college. 

“When I was in elementary school I had this friend who I really liked but then she left,” said Ginter. 

James Echevarria, a civilian senior at CHS, said the most stressful thing was “about halfway through the year where the family doesn’t know if they’re staying another year or if they’re going to move, so you’re stuck in a limbo of not knowing.”

It’s also hard for civilian kids knowing when making friends that they will lose many of them in a year. 

“I would rather not know if they’re going to leave until closer to the end,” Echevarria said, “so I always make the most of the friendship as if it was going to be the last year with them.”

Fortunately, people living in this area, both military and civilian, have adjusted to the constant cycle of PCS. 

I’ve gotten used to it now because this year will be my sixth move in 10 years of my whole life,” said Eve Strong. “If you are happy and joyful, things usually work out.”