Veterans in higher education require more attention

Daniel Horowitz, Staff Writer

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Compared to other groups on college campuses, military veterans tend to be more socially isolated than most students. In order for them to properly adjust and succeed in their academic endeavors, it is the duty of a school’s administration to help facilitate the integration of veterans on college campuses.  

Veterans who attend colleges and universities are not like typical college students. Many enlist immediately following high school and have not had much work experience beyond the military. They also tend to be older than other college students, since is not uncommon for veterans to spend their early twenties overseas before returning home to attend school. These two aforementioned factors already demonstrate that there can be a disconnect between veterans and their younger peers.  

Oftentimes, those who have spent time in the armed forces feel isolated from the rest of the student body. It is difficult for them to assimilate with other students, not only because of an age gap, but because of a separation of experiences. Without normal social relations, any college student can experience detrimental consequences to their mental health. This can be especially true for veterans since they could already face adverse effects to their mental health from whatever they engage in during their deployment.  

All of this is relevant because military action in regions of the world, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, are beginning to diminish and military personnel are beginning to plan their lives following deployment. With the GI Bill allowing many veterans to attend colleges and universities all over the United States, campuses need to be prepared for influxes of veterans. Furthermore, it is their responsibility to do everything in their capacity to help veterans succeed.  

This implies that several actions need to be taken. First, schools need to ensure that veterans have access to sufficient psychological counseling resources. While this is a topic that can be discussed at great length when applied to college students in general, that should be saved for an entirely different article. The point is that military veterans face a myriad of mental health concerns. In order to thrive in a collegiate environment, academic institutions must be willing to help veterans work through these concerns.  

Another possible solution that could help veterans is to form support groups or organizations where they can help one another. If other students with common interests and backgrounds can form student organizations, veterans should be able to as well. Since veterans tend to isolate themselves from other students, it is difficult to tell who these individuals are. By placing themselves in a setting where they can find each other, they can help one another.  

Tulane, like most universities, is an institution that is welcoming to veterans. There are no noticeable difficulties that would inhibit veterans from applying and Tulane’s policies for applying veterans are within the frameworks of the GI Bill. There are no clear signs, however, of resources that could potentially help veterans adjust to college life in the U.S.—at least none that are well advertised.

For a university with a substantial Reserve Officers’ Training Corps presence, it would be beneficial for Tulane to be accommodating to military personnel after deployment as well. These citizens risk their lives to serve our country. It is only right for academic institutions to honor them with a satisfactory education and college experience.  

 Daniel is a junior at Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected].

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