“When you wake up at 6 a.m., in a war zone, getting shot at, and getting paid minimum wage, it really puts the stress of law school into context. I never really stressed about law school.”
Managed stress has been a part of attorney John Miser’s life, but his parents have worn it as well.
Back in 2003, Miser was a class valedictorian at Edison Computech, with a 4.0 GPA and admission to the University of California, Berkeley in hand. He recalls he was told he could take either his calculus final or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). He chose the military test, scored well, and didn’t really think about it.
Miser says his family is solidly middle-class, with a belief that you go to college, get a degree, and then work hard at a company for several decades before retiring retire with a 401(k) or a pension. He says they are “high risk-averse.”
Mom and Dad were shocked when he walked away from academia.
But Miser says he needed a year away from what had become to feel like an all-consuming education track. He decided he wanted to open his own business, but knew he would need discipline and capital.
Mom and Dad were stunned when he joined the military.
“My grandfather served in World War II, but I didn’t come from a military family,” Miser says. The Army, he believed, would give him the discipline and enable him to build capital. His high score in high school on the ASVAB enabled him to choose a career as a military intelligence, electronic warfare, system maintainer and integrator.
He became part of three drone units, which gave support to a half-million soldiers.
Mom and Dad were anxious when he was deployed. Twice.
Miser was not piloting the tiny drones you buy on Amazon. The military drones of the day had to be flown out of airports in Iraq, where they would point out targets for F16s.
Mom and Dad were relieved when Sgt. Miser returned home.
He immediately enrolled and received his bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, then began a job in digital marketing, but soon became disenchanted with seeing the bulk of his earnings go to his employer. He began investigating other benefits of his G.I. Bill, and eventually talked to a friend of a friend.
She was a veteran, who told him she “went to that law school out in Clovis” and was now doing well as an attorney.
Mom and Dad were troubled to see him leave his stable job to go to law school.
But Miser had decided long ago he wanted to be his own boss, and this was the next step. He graduated from San Joaquin College of Law in 2016, passed the bar on his first try, and while he now works as an attorney at a firm, he’s getting ready to start his own firm.
Miser feels so strongly about his path that he will be among five veterans speaking at the Veterans to Law School Forum Thursday at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District Auditorium. He says he was initially hesitant to return to school because he didn’t want to be treated like an elementary school student, but didn’t find that to be the scenario at San Joaquin College of Law.
He thinks they treated him like an adult capable of managing his own responsibilities.
“They respect the students,” he says. “No busy work. You’re either ready on the test day or you’re not. So good luck to you, sir!”
Mom and Dad have got to be proud.
Missy McKai Cartier is the public information officer at San Joaquin College of Law. Connect with her at email@example.com.
Veterans to Law Forum
When: 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial District Auditorium
Address: 808 4th St., Clovis