The transition from active deployment to civilian life is one that many sailors, marines, soldiers, airmen, and guardians look forward to, but it also has its challenges. This can be especially true for those who have served in combat, are still on active or reserve duty, or are dependents of current servicemembers.
Counseling & Psychological Services seeks to help capitalize on the strengths, experience, leadership and diversity that student veterans and military personnel bring to our campus. We are invested in your success at SDSU, and we are here to provide support. We recognize the assets that student veterans can bring to their college experience - specialized vocational experience/training, self-reliance, organizational skills, commitment and perseverance in attaining goals, and an ability to function effectively within a hierarchical organization. We also understand the common transitional experiences that student veterans new to the SDSU community and campus often encounter, such as:
- Developing a personal identity that includes experiences and values gained outside of the military.
- Difficulty relating to traditional college students. Age differences and the maturity that comes with military service frequently cause veterans to feel different than and potentially alienated from traditional college students.
- Negotiating the structural and procedural differences between the military and higher education bureaucracies (e.g., knowing the rules and norms of the campus, how to address professors and others in positions of authority).
- Encountering faculty, staff, and/or students with strong and potentially negative views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and having to think about whether or not to identify yourself as a veteran who was deployed for OIF/OEF.
- Being asked insensitive questions, like “Did you kill anyone?” instead of being asked about how many people you helped or saved.
- Getting used to using words like “walls” instead of “bulkheads” and “bathroom” instead of “head” or “latrine” again. And yes, we’re joking.
Like any other student, academic life can also be stressful at times for reasons completely unrelated to your service, and student veterans/servicemembers can benefit from talking with a campus professional in a confidential environment , being heard, and gaining other perspectives on a problem.