Combat to Campus: The War on Civilian Transition

Written by: Jasmine Randhawa, SAS of CWU Collegiate Sport Clubs

“When it came to college, I didn’t know that there was a medium to large student veteran population. I was in my own world working on myself, by myself.” -Graduate Student Veteran

Research shows that veteran’s transition to civilian life is difficult, but the transition of a veteran to campus can be more than just a cultural shock. As Public Relations specialists, it is important to fully understand our topic through in-depth research.

The Rundown

blog5.pngA focus group done on student veteran transitions showed that the biggest struggle was the age gap and the different mind set between traditional and non-traditional students.

“You have these 19-20 year olds thinking about how to get a passing grade in Biology, and then there’s me, who is just trying not have a panic attack mid lecture.” – CWU Student Veteran

Our research found battling PTSD while attempting to do well in school can cause a lot of depression for student veterans. Resources on campus include The G.I. Bill and other financial support resources but having someone to talk to and discuss mental struggles isn’t available.

Luckily programs such as the Student Veterans of America chapters, Kognito, and EEVI can help make campuses more student veteran friendly.

Challenges

blog6.pngThe resources on campus don’t cover the “Social and Cultural Support” aspect of the Index. Student veterans don’t have the luxury of making friends such as traditional students and have a difficult time relating to students. Severe depression and anxiety affected 35% and 24% respectively.

By creating structured programs such as SVA, EEVI, and Kognito, student veteran life on campus can become a lot friendlier and supportive. Student Veteran Programs allow for a healthy and stable community, rather than each student being on their own.

Resources

DiRamio, D., Ackerman, R., & Mitchell, R. (2008). Voices of Student Veterans. Retrieved December 30, 2015, from https://www.uwlax.edu/uploadedFiles/Offices-Services/Veteran_Services/FromCombat to Campus.pdf

Griffin, K., & Gilbert, C. (2012, April 1). Easing the Transition from Combat to Classroom. Retrieved December 30, 2015, from https://www.americanprogress.org/wp content/uploads/issues/2012/04/pdf/student_veterans.pdf

Lighhall, A. (n.d.). Ten Things You Should Know About Today’s Student Veteran. Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://www.nea.org/home/53407.htm

State and Community Roles in Supporting College Completion for Veterans. (2014, May 13). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/veterans-and-college.aspx

Student Veteran Fast Facts – November 2011. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://www.operationpromiseforservicemembers.com/FastFacts.html

VA Campus Toolkit. (n.d.). Retrieved December 30, 2015, from http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/studentveteran/adjustment.asp#sthash.OHm0SqXp.dpbs

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