The numbers are in. The Student Veterans of America reports that student veterans are on par with civilian students in successfully completing a post-secondary degree or certificate.
The fact is overwhelming given how difficult life is for vets who often have to juggle education, families and part-time or full-time jobs as opposed to most civilian students.
For many veterans, the idea of setting foot on a college campus is like being in a combat zone. The territory is unfamiliar, shambolic and jarring in contrast to the orderly military life they left behind. There are many ways to keep from feeling alienated and we can help you enjoy college and get involved on campus as a veteran.
Student Veteran Organizations (SVOs)
Often when veterans and civilians are brought together under the same roof, they find little in common. The worries of civilians about prom night or buying their dream car juxtaposed against the life-and-death situations faced by vets can seem trivial.
That’s why SVOs are so valuable. They provide a place for veterans to connect with other veterans. Club meetings are held regularly to help veterans bond and also to educate the campus community about who the veterans are and what they do.
Make a pit stop at the SVO when you have any questions about the campus: how to get around the maze of buildings, where to find counseling or disability services, the ins and outs of financial aid, anything under the sun really.
Whether you need internships or jobs, veteran groups can be a great help by putting you in touch with employers, and even giving you a heads-up about any upcoming opportunities.
Help Thy Neighbor
If helping others makes you happy, then consider signing up for community service projects. Activities could range from spreading literacy to cleaning up the neighborhood to inspiring the youth to serving meals. So volunteer and get involved. Since most of these projects involve working together in teams, they give you a chance to make new friends on campus.
For the Love of Sport
Who doesn’t love the fanfare and the rambunctious cheering at kickoff? What makes the experience more fun is having friends by your side. So let loose, forget your differences and get together with your classmates in the spirit of enjoying a good game.
Broaden Your Horizon
Besides enjoying a good game, hanging out with civilians not only helps to network for future job opportunities but also broadens your horizons.
So, to get the maximum benefit out of your college experience, remember to…
• Head to the Student Veteran Organization whenever you feel lost within the campus’ maze.
• Network, network, network tirelessly with vets and civilians. Maybe one of them could help you land your dream job.
• Consider volunteering your time to a community improvement project.
• Talk to eclectic groups of people and broaden your horizons. Remember not to underestimate anyone just because they don’t share your life experiences.