In Transitioning to Civilian Life, Student Veterans Can Face Trouble

Yukendra Wynn-Armstrong, senior VA certifying official at Columbia College’s Ousley Family Veterans Service Center, traced trouble in adapting to civilian culture to experiences in the military.

“Most of the veterans are usually coming from combat situations to the classroom, so they’re having to adjust from high-pressure jobs to low expectations. They don’t understand how to navigate being on the front line to sitting behind a desk in a classroom,” Wynn-Armstrong said. “They are used to being fired upon or having bombs thrown at them, or life-and-death situations, on a day-to-day basis.”

When veterans enter a classroom setting, Wynn-Armstrong said some struggle because they don’t recognize higher-education standards.

“I think [some student veterans] can’t quite figure out what other people’s expectations are, because no one tells them, ‘We expect you to come to class, we expect you to do this.’ But they should look within themselves for what’s expected,” Wynn-Armstrong said.

She compared expectations in higher-education institutions to veterans’ military careers.

“If I’m expected to do my job in the military, I’m expected to do my job as a student. And I think that’s where a lot of them might be — not quite grasping what it’s like being in a classroom. It’s really no different than your job being a student,” Wynn-Armstrong said.


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