By Jeremy Falkner
SAN ANTONIO — For veterans the transition out of the military to college can be a difficult one. Veterans are used to a systematic lifestyle with set schedules, predetermined tasks, and following or giving orders. When a veteran begins to make the crossover all that is thrown out the window and feel they have to figure the process out for themselves.
Many people know veterans receive free education upon exiting the military however, they do not know the process it takes to get that free education. There are many steps that require a lot of paperwork and many visits to schools; without the proper knowledge of these steps it can become overwhelming for the veteran.
Junior Olivia McBride, a kinesiology student and seven-year veteran of the United States Army can attest to that process. “The hardest part about the transition was learning how to apply for my education benefit and how to use it for college,” Olivia stated. Sylvia Rodriguez; a VetSuccess on Campus Counselor of five years says, “The hardest part for a veteran is navigating the process because veterans are so use to taking and giving orders.”
The evolution from the military to college also has its advantages as many veterans are now coming into college with a higher maturity level and new appreciation for a higher education. Mrs. Rodriguez claims that “Veterans have an edge over those that haven’t served because now the veteran wants to go to school instead of being told to go to school by parents and family.”
Olivia feels the leadership skills she gained from her time in the Army gives her an advantage over some of her peers that have not served. Her ability to adjust under extenuating circumstances and remain calm under the pressure gives her that edge in school and life.
Those veterans who are ready to embark on the voyage from the military life to college; Olivia has a strong piece of advice for you. “Do not wait, do not procrastinate because it is a process. Once your school of choice has been made immediately apply for the education benefit you will be using.” The process can take over 30 days to gather all the paperwork needed from the Veterans Affairs’ office, which many veterans may not know.
Mrs. Rodriguez ended our conversation with a simple statement of advice for veterans “Be nice and have some humility because it is okay not to have all the answers, but someone will have them for you.”
To all our veterans I want to say thank you for your selfless service to this country of ours.