The Boise State campus is filled with students from many different backgrounds and over 1,000 of them are Veterans. It is impossible to put Veteran students into a single box, because each experienced something very unique during their service.
Their jobs ranged from IT work to fighting in active war zones. However, upon their entry (or return) to university, they all share one thing in common: adjusting to student life.
When in the military, solders often develops a certain work ethic that isn’t always shared by other students. As a large group of Boise State students transfer immediately from high school to college, they cannot relate to the experience of those who served in the military.
“It’s not the same mindset,” said Kelsy Gagnebin, a junior communication major who served in the Air Force for six years. This can create a feeling of isolation for veteran students, even feeling like they are treated differently when people become aware of their service.
While deployed, soldiers are practically cut off from the outside world.
“When you’re deployed your world stops, but the world keeps going on around you,” Robert Carnes, a student employee in the Veteran Services Office, said. Carnes served in the Navy for eight years before going on to university. “Everyone else has lived life without you and it can be a struggle to catch up.”
Transition from a military environment to a civilian environment often includes losing a set structure. In the military there is constant action 24/7 and always someone to take orders from.
Time management is something that can be challenging once students end their time in the service. The sudden decrease in responsibility can lead to boredom and not knowing what to do to fill the time. “The biggest thing is the amount of free time I have,” Gagnebin said. “Some Veterans may find themselves stuck in the routine: waking up at 5 a.m., folding clothes a certain
Another shared concern amongst Veteran students is finances. They struggle with how to get their GI Bill started, receiving the funds, the paperwork and so on. Veteran students can receive help with this at the Veteran Services Office in the Alumni Center on campus. R.K. Williams, the coordinator, also offers a course on the transition process, designed to help Veteran students adapt to their new life. It is aptly titled “College Transitions for Veterans.” In this course, Veteran students can connect with each other, share stories of their experience, and have their questions answered.
Although Veteran students experience something unique, “Vets are just like regular people,” Williams said. “They fall into the same category as regular people.”