Veterans, who are now students at Ithaca College, shared a distinct experience. As military veterans, they spent a number of years under strict and rigorous conditions, away from their families and always with the looming possibility that they could have been sent to a place from which they may never have returned.
With these unique circumstances, military veterans transition differently into college than most students who come straight from high school, and with so few veterans on campus, it is often difficult for veterans to find others with similar experiences to relate to. In light of this, the college should make an effort to develop a program or organization that connects these students to better help them transition from the military world to college life.
The college and its administrators may be supportive of prospective students who are veterans and find ways to accommodate them in terms of transferring credits and helping them receive substantial financial aid and funding, but the college does not currently do enough to make these veterans’ experiences as students comfortable and their transitions seamless. One student veteran has already expressed the need for some sort of network or community that can help him connect with other students with whom he has things in common.
The college should respond to these requests and take the initiative to create a network among these students who could really benefit from the support system of a shared community. One example of this type of network exists at Old Dominion University in Virginia, where students can get involved in a Student Veterans Association in which they can connect with and seek guidance from other veterans who may have been on campus longer. The college could use this organization as a model for a network that could be established here.
Though veterans are certainly not the only group on campus who could benefit from some type of network or support system, creating a student veteran group would not be too difficult to implement if the students are asking for it and passionate about it. Overall, the college needs to unite students who are coming from individualized experiences and make their college experience as healthy and enjoyable as possible.