Transitioning from military life to the academic arena offers new and exciting opportunities. It may also come with its own set of unique challenges. Learning to put aside "survival mode" and the structure of military life to adapt to a more relaxed frame of mind is not always easy. Those who have not experienced the military life may not understand what current or former military men and women are feeling.
The transition to college life can sometimes lead to academic, social, physical, relationship and emotional difficulties. It may be difficult to relate to traditional college students. Developing a sense of identity other than that of a soldier may be difficult. Finding importance and meaning in activities that seem trivial, compared to the adrenalin rush of military life, can bring about a sense of boredom. These are common challenges among those transitioning from soldier to student.
While you are adapting to this new lifestyle, it may be helpful to pace yourself to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the new challenges you are facing. Using a daily schedule to stay organized and adjust to the variety of options and choices you now face may prove helpful to you. You can reduce feelings of isolation and "feeling different" from other students by connecting with other veterans or members of the military on campus who understand your feelings and experiences. Try to limit the use of alcohol and other drugs which can increase feelings of depression, sleep difficulties, relationship, and academic problems. Get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise. Finally, try to reestablish an identity separate from your military service by identifying personal values, passions, and hobbies and actively engage in those activities.
Most military members are able to successfully transition back to civilian life and enjoy their academic pursuits. If problems do occur, they usually diminish as time goes on. However, if you are experiencing symptoms that are interfering with your daily life and functioning, you may want to consider talking to someone. Consider seeking counseling if you are experiencing:
Counseling Services is here to assist you. We have counselors who have experience dealing with veterans and military personnel and their particular issues and concerns. Please give us a call or come in to schedule an appointment if you, or someone you are worried about, needs help.
If you, or someone you care about, is in crisis, the Veterans Crisis Line is available. This confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and texting service is available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week with professionals trained to deal with issues specific to veterans, military personnel, and their families.
Counseling Services at University of Nevada also has an after-hours crisis line at (775) 784-4648, as well as a walk-in triage service, Monday-Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, available to University students in need of immediate help.