Servicemen and Servicewomen who are nearing the finish of their enlistment have several paths they can follow. Some choose to continue the military profession, or return home.
Serving in the military opens a great deal of resources when coming home. A great option veterans have is choosing to go back to school through the GI Bill, which covers most if not all of a veteran’s school cost.
“Coming back to school after the service felt pretty good,” says Gabriel Garret, a veteran at Skyline College. “I like coming back because it allowed me to explore options outside the military that were offered and expand my horizons and learn new things.”
While the option to return to school looks promising, the transition back does not always go smoothly for veterans.
When serving in the military, soldiers adopt a set of principles that can carry on throughout their lives. There is an intense set of rules and expectations loom over soldiers as they serve, but when integrating back into society some find it difficult to adjust to the different lifestyle.
“You get a reality check because you aren’t necessarily told what to do anymore. Jake Shaidell, a student veteran from Skyline College elaborates.
Time spent serving helps develop certain qualities like punctuality, listening skills, answering questions directly, and asking questions for clarification. These may seem like common social skills, but in the military they are essential and expected.
These social skills carry over into various social settings such as college, but most students in college have never carried those expectations. Veterans can find this strange or even frustrating as the social interactions are different to what they have grown accustom to.
“Its a little strange because you go from such an intense environment to a much more moderate, low key school environment,” Shaidell says.
The way classrooms are structured can be odd at first and is something that veterans have to adapt to when coming back to school. Some students have a non-caring presence in the classroom, which can be frustrating to veterans.
The military has programs that help those who will be getting out soon and veteran resource centers help after they get out. Skyline College has its very own Veteran Resource Center in Building 2 which is a valuable resource for student veterans.
Shaidell explains with certainty that veterans can be mentally fragile when they get out of the military, which can make it easy for people to bring them down.
“You need to find the coolest, most ambitious people you can find, Shaidell stated. “Find people who really care about you, that are doing great things, and that have a vision of what they want to do.”
Having a positive circle is key to being successful. Veterans after years of service thrive for a team environment which is sometimes difficult to find in college.