Armed service members who go back to school after combat or non-combat base assignment face issues in the transition. They will encounter challenges and experience stress which are unique to them. More than the change from backpack to the school bag or the rope lashed camp table for the cafeteria and the Type A fatigue overalls giving way to the school uniform or casual clothes, there are deeper problems they will need to address.
Armed service personnel coming from tours of duty or station posts who return to college bring with them deeply rooted trauma on their mind and feelings. They have inculcated the personality of having hypervigilance and which was molded by working and living conditions which are highly stressful. When they go back to school, they will have difficulties. As they attempt to cope, they will fail and feel frustrated. This will greatly affect their studies. It is not only academics that they will feel new to. They also need to reintegrate themselves to civilian life. This makes their lives doubly difficult. This is a great source of dropouts. This issue should not be limited to only being a topic in social work essays but should be given action.
Here are some of the issues that military men returning to academics need to address.
When they entered the service, soldiers are briefed to be persons separate and distinct from civilians. Their line of work calls for them to have a different state of mind and character than that of ordinary citizens. This is because their calling is different. Their orientation is to serve and protect the country with their lives.
In other words, their brains and feelings are conditioned to be ready to die and kill for the nation and its citizenry. This is not a simple or shallow integration into the armed service. And, when they go back to the world of the civilians, they will find it hard to do the transition. When they do so, they will need to develop the identity of being a civilian and a student and this is not easy to do, especially for them.
Because war veterans and military duty returnees to school have been oriented in the uniformed men way, they will struggle in making sense of their new role. They will find it hard to see the significance in it and in the things they need to do in their school life. They have gotten used to giving importance to things relating to life and death. Life and concerns in the campus will be insignificant to them.
Further, because they have been conditioned to a different kind of significance, they will have issues fitting in. They have been trained to be absolutely honest and responsible. Their orientation is to get the job done with their “obey before you complain” and “mission accomplished” mentalities. With this, they will observe in the campus that other students complain a lot and barely gets tasks done. They will find their schoolmates immature.
School returnees from the armed services will have issues getting by the bureaucracies of tertiary education. Their chain of command in the military is different. Aside from this, they do not only need to be part of the academic institution. As a student, they also need to be integrated back to the civilian world. This will be a new world to them again. It is one which is complex and they will feel such complexity more than ever and more than others.
Veterans from wars and men from military service face issues and problems when they return to campus to study. They will need to transition back to being a student and a civilian which are very much different from their rigid orientation. First, they will see and feel the contrast and then they will feel alienated.
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