Challenges Faced by Student Veterans - Part One

Student veterans are a unique group on the campus of any college or university.  They add a perspective that few can understand, and they bring a maturity to the classroom that their fellow 18-22 year old peers may not have.  They are a valuable asset to any school, but may have different challenges they face which no one may ever know about. 

Throughout the month of November, it is our goal at Aurora to highlight some of the things that student veterans would probably tell their peers and professors.  We welcome any dialogue, especially from student veterans who want to voice their thoughts. We'll use a fascinating article by Alison Lighthall called "Ten Things You Should Know About Today's Student Veteran" to help us highlight these challenges, and discuss how Aurora's grants have funded programs on campuses to help overcome them.

The first thing Ms. Lighthall discusses is the move from military to civilian, and how it can feel like a loss of identity for the student veteran.  We have heard this echoed from our student veteran interns here at Aurora, noting that when they left the military, they were part of a group that was mission-focused, and the drive in college is often geared towards the individual's success.  There's a loss of working together as a team, and there's a feeling of entering uncharted waters.    

Lighthall discusses how important it is to connect student veterans to each other on campus.  This can be done through veterans groups on campus; many schools have formed veteran centers where the student vets have a lounge in which they can study, meet with a Veteran Coordinator to help them navigate the school, and create events for vets to meet up outside of campus.  This is an important way to help them maintain their sense of camaraderie while on campus. 

What do you think?  What is your experience in collaborating with other student veterans on campus?  Feel free to let us know and share how camaraderie has made a difference in your campus experience!