Military to Student Veteran

Question: What are some of the challenges that Veterans face as they transition from military service into academic endeavors?

Military transition for veteran students into colleges can bring many challenges. Challenges for student veterans can range from applying for veteran education benefits, student veteran resources, and clashes of military culture with the more lenient college life. The challenges that accompany the military transition of service members as they become student veterans not only emanate from the colleges veterans attend, but can also from the challenges student veterans may face from home life. Veterans transitioning from the military also encounter the challenges that come with the more physical nature of military service, to the more cognitive and slightly sedentary nature of academia.

As the population of veterans returning from service grows, more and more are finding their way into the lecture halls of colleges and universities. With the influx, there are difficulties that arise from these situations through the transitions. Many student veterans are older than the average college student. Many student veterans are also married or coupled and have children. Although they may benefit from the use of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, they may still have to work in order to support their families. As service members and former military enroll in veteran friendly colleges and veteran friendly universities, they may struggle with the dynamics and flexibility inherent in the environment of higher education. They may view younger students as immature in regards to their approach to their education. Since the military is a highly structured organization where troops are used to routines, it can be difficult to reconcile the paradigms that they learned to live by in the military and the expectations that they encounter in college life. A significant factor in mitigating the challenges of these student veterans and facilitating their transition is recognizing that they are not typical students. They come equipped with a wealth of unique experiences and can bring different perspectives to the learning environment that may foster a broader understanding of topics for their classmates. There is a growing awareness on challenges student veterans encounter. There are also an increasing number of programs being implemented in veteran friendly colleges and veteran friendly universities throughout the country that address the issues that concern student veterans most. There are clubs on campuses that bring together the veteran student body as well as veteran resource centers. These centers facilitate the process for veterans to submit their veteran educational benefits as well as address concerns that veterans have on campuses.

The military transition that student veterans make from service to student can bring challenges for those veterans. Many campuses across the nation are addressing the issues that student veterans face and remedying the concerns with veteran student resource centers that alleviate some of the stress involved when veterans apply for their educational benefits. Student veterans have served and given of themselves, they are at minimum entitled to the benefits that they have earned from their loyalty, duty, selfless service, honor, courage and commitment.

-Joseph Vasquez

Bio of Joseph Vasquez

Joe joined the military at age 17, and has served in three branches of the military: Marine Corps, Army and Air National Guard. After earning his degree and licensure in Mortuary Science, he worked in the Funeral Service profession, but then decided he would rather serve his community in a different capacity. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and hopes to work with not-for-profits that specialize in assisting Veterans. Joe is married and the proud father of 2 beautiful girls.