From soldier to student
Underneath the hazy bar lights and bright neon signs, John Schultze stands laughing with customers of Amici in downtown Milledgeville. In between the football highlights and friendly chatter, John plans out his study schedule in his head.
A few patriotic customers thank him for his service and wish him a happy Veteran’s Day. He thanks them graciously.
Schultze is a senior at GC, an Army veteran and the general manager of Amici’s Milledgeville restaurant. He is among the 50 percent of veterans to use the federal G.I. Bill, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The G.I. Bill is a federal stipend for veterans attending college.
Schultze completed two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army medic beginning in 2005. His training as a medic is what led him to major in exercise physiology.
There are some challenges that accompany going back to school after serving in the armed forces. Schultze is much older than his fellow classmates and even a few of his professors. However, he says the majority of GC’s students are respectful and welcoming.
“Every single person in my classes is willing and excited to help me if I have a problem with homework or an in-class assignment, despite my age,” Schultze said. “People like to give this generation a hard time about the way they conduct themselves, but thankfully I have first-hand seen how kind and respectful they are.
Other than being older than his classmates, Schultze says that his time at GC has been relatively problem-free.
“You know, I struggle with the same things that everyone else struggles with. Some days I lack motivation, and sometimes I forget about homework. But I always try to work hard, and do what I’ve got to do,” Schultze said.
Schultze has a lot more to balance in his personal life than the average student: he goes to school for around 15 hours a week while having a full-time job at Amici as well as a wife and two blue tick coonhounds.
He says that after he works all day, he and his wife Courtney usually go to the gym and cook dinner together to spend quality time with each other. Then they watch a little television and lay down to sleep. He says he usually lays down with his wife for an hour or two, but will set an alarm for 11 p.m. so he can wake up to finish assignments and study.
He credits the Army with great time management practices and ways to prioritize different aspects of his life.
Schultze’s boss, Bob Ewing, has only great things to say about his general manager.
“He’s an incredible asset for us, and wherever he does move onto in the future, I know he will do well,” Ewing said.
One of Schultze’s employees, Kendall Ward, has been working under him for a few months.
“It has been a pleasure working with Schultze,” Ward said. “He comes o very intense at first ... but as you get to know him better, he is very funny and great at his job. He seems like he really enjoys school and more often than not, he will tell me something he learned in class that day or a project he is working on. He really is a great man, and a great boss.”