El Camino College Union

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Veterans should not be approached any differently

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Veterans returning from service face many tough challenges in their transition from military to civilian life.

Those challenges become even greater for veterans who decide to return to school.

These are obstacles that I face personally, as former sailor in the US Navy. Most people would never assume that I was formerly a prison guard in Guantanamo Bay, and had seen more than most people can imagine.

This is the way most veterans like to be treated. When talking to someone that you know has served, please do not as questions like, “Have you ever killed anyone?” or “Do you have PTSD?” Because, in reality, you’re more likely to be talking to a Veteran that has hardly ever held a weapon, than you are to be talking to someone who has ever been in battle.

Some common misconceptions about veterans are that we are reserved, and that we are not likely to finish school. While some veterans are quiet, there are also a lot who would love to talk to you about anything and everything under the sun.

Also, veterans who are using the GI Bill have a 72 percent graduation rate, which is up 22 percent from the 50 percent graduation rate of non veterans, according to taskandpurpose.com.

Most former military members have trouble reintegrating into society because they feel like they will never be able to connect with “normal” people again. They feel like no one will ever be able to relate to their story, and instead turn to isolation.

I was lucky and I have never had any mental health issues and I’m back in college right after the military.

Most people who returned from Vietnam were not met with open arms, like veterans are today, upon their return home. They are currently suffering the consequences of social isolation and not getting mental health treatment sooner.

According to the American Council For Education’s Website, only roughly 4 percent of all undergraduate students are Veterans. Because of this, most students at EC have never had a chance to engage with a veteran personally. I feel that this is the biggest hurdle for a veteran that is acclimating back into college. If more students had a chance to interact with more veterans, then they would see that we’re not any different and don’t need any special treatment.

Veterans do not want any hand-outs, and we definitely don’t want anyone’s pity. We are just a small percentage of the student population that wants to fit in with all the rest of the different groups on campus.

Students interested in more veteran info may visit the Veteran Resource Center in the Student Services building room 105.

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Veterans should not be approached any differently