What challenges will I face as a veteran going back to school?

Veterans should feel encouraged to continue their education after return from deployment. The Montgomery GI Bill is a tremendous benefit available to veterans for financing their education, whether it be in college, graduate school, vocational school, or flight training. There is also free education and vocational counseling provided to veterans under Chapter 36.

The more education and training you get, the better your prospects for fulfilling employment after return from military service. That said, veterans starting or returning to college may face social and psychological challenges. The college campus is a very different environment and may even be perceived by the veteran as sheltered or unreal in comparison to the war zone. The majority of students a veteran will meet will have no experience of the military, and, at best, limited understanding. A veteran may feel that he or she has lived through much more than the average student, and it may be difficult to fit in with people who have such dissimilar perspectives. The political environment on some campuses can make a veteran uncomfortable; not just because of anti-war sentiment, but because of potential stigma associated with the voluntary choice of military service among students who have never considered it, and professors who have never experienced it.

Veterans should not feel responsible for educating other students about the war zone and military life, unless they choose to. If need be, practice a controlled and cordial response to naïve questions, like, “Did you kill anyone over there?” Keeping in touch with your service buddies on a regular basis may help you put the college environment and your own experience in perspective.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.