Raising Your Hand

By Military Connection Staff Writer Joe Silva

As a Veteran student, you may find it difficult to raise your hand at school. As a non-traditional student, you are possibly years removed from your last classroom that wasn’t led by another person in uniform. You will have ideas and comments in your head during class discussions, and you might feel too out of place to share them. But as a Veteran who has made the return to the classroom, let me tell you, you need to raise your hand.

Unlike high school and military classes that consist of teachers talking and students listening, college and university courses are requiring more discussions and fewer lectures. This requires students to actively participate in the discussion in order to get the most out of a class.

Veteran students have a lot to add to these discussions. Veterans have lived through events that most of their college professors have never experienced. Using their military experience, Veteran students can put a different spin on subjects that can provide a different perspective for everyone in the class. And along with sharing their ideas, Veteran students should be sure to listen to what their younger classmates have to say. The sharing of knowledge is what “higher learning” is all about.

Students who raise their hands aren’t always the one with the answers. Often students raise their hands to ask for help. As an older member of the class, Veteran students will be tempted to refrain from asking questions for fear of sounding stupid. But let me tell you, if you have done your reading and were paying attention, and you still have a question, you are probably not the only one in class who is lost. Raising your hand and asking for clarification is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of maturity. You will most likely be helping other students by raising your hand.

One last thing that can assist Veteran students is seeking help outside of the classroom. As non-traditional students, Veteran students most likely won’t live on campus, and will not want to stick around after class or arrive early to seek tutoring. It may also be unsettling to ask for help that will come in the form of a younger tutor.

But it is imperative to your grades, your education and your future academic and career success that you ask for help when you need it. All students should frequent their school’s library. In addition to being a great place to study, the library also houses numerous means of academic assistance, including writing centers, research librarians and computer labs.

Veteran Students should also frequent their school’s Veteran Resource Center or Veterans Affairs Office. Most schools provide their Veteran students with their own space to study and congregate. A lot of these offices already provide services including tutoring and workshops. If your school currently doesn’t have a Veterans Resource Center or Veterans Affairs Office, or they don’t provide these services, you might want to raise your hand ask why. You might be helping someone else who was hesitant to raise their hand.