Share This Page

Advice for Transitioning Veterans

Monday, June 9, 2014

For the veterans returning from the conflicts in the Middle East, a bright future awaits. The opportunities for veterans to pursue a higher education are better than ever thanks to the generous educational benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. But that doesn't mean the road during your transition won't be without learning curves. To help you along your journey, we asked some of our student veterans to look back on their experiences as a veteran transitioning to student life and the process of going to school. Here’s what they had to say:

Transitioning from military to student life:

“It’s difficult. In the military, you’re used to structure. When you’re in school, when you study and how you handle your assignments is up to you. Being in the military for 23 years, I miss its predictability.” – Sheldon Rivers, Staff Sgt. E6, Lancaster Campus, Computerized Office Assistant Program

“In the Navy you learn that what you put into something is what you’ll get out of it. You’re focused on the goal ahead of you and you have to stay focused and have self-discipline to reach that goal. You need to be dedicated and punctual, and in school you need to be the same way.” – Terry Smith, Petty Officer 3rd Class, Lancaster Campus, Massage Therapy

How veterans can prepare for student life:

“Make a plan before you get out of the military! Try to get your education while you’re still in the military. When I got out of the military I started working, if I could do it over again I’d go to school first to set myself up for a job that will allow me to take care of my family.” – Sheldon Rivers, Staff Sgt. E6, Lancaster Campus, Computerized Office Assistant Program

“Be prepared to ask questions. Find out what funding you qualify for, but don’t expect people to just tell you. You’re going to have to ask.” – Terry Smith, Petty Officer 3rd Class, Lancaster Campus, Massage Therapy

“Draw from the discipline you learned in the military. You learned more than just how to turn a wrench. You learned troubleshooting skills that will help you in any career you choose to pursue." - Ken Perry, Air Force Veteran, Lancaster Campus, Information Technology

Going to school as a veteran:

“The process has been fun. I don’t feel like people treat me any differently as a veteran. More often than not people just come up and say, “Thanks.” My classes feel like a tight-knit community and I enjoy meeting new people and building new relationships.” – Sheldon Rivers, Staff Sgt. E6, Lancaster Campus, Computerized Office Assistant Program

“Studying something you’re interested in makes it fun. Also, trying to use the experience you had in the military to choose what you should study in school makes it easier to transition.” – Terry Smith, Petty Officer 3rd Class, Lancaster Campus, Massage Therapy

"Leaving the military, you lose that camaraderie and it can be hard. The people you meet in class have often had completely different experiences than you have had. Find common ground in the subject you're studying. You're all trying to do the same thing." - Beau Hurd, Army Veteran, Long Beach Campus, Massage Therapy