Veterans: Tips for Successful Transitioning

Connect with other veterans on campus. Other veterans have an intuitive understanding of the experience and impact of being in combat and of the additional challenges that veteran students face in college.

Establish new relationships. Getting involved with clubs and organized activities can break down walls and connect you with others who have similar interests.

Work to reestablish existing relationships. To avoid unanticipated stresses and challenges, veterans and family members must openly communicate about how responsibilities and roles have changed during the deployment period.

Take care of your emotional well-being. Unlike what is expected on the battlefield, expressing and showing emotions does not indicate weakness and helps sustain meaningful personal relationships in civilian life.

Pay attention to your physical well-being. Eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of rest, and build physical activity into daily life.

Do not use alcohol and drugs. Use of these substances increases the likelihood of depression, insomnia, relationship problems, academic difficulties, legal troubles, and a host of other negative issues.

Develop good academic habits. Start with a manageable course load and set reasonable goals. Establish a daily schedule to maximize organization.

Seek balance in life. Balance negative and pessimistic thoughts by focusing on experiences which are meaningful, comforting, and encouraging.

Limit exposure to war-related news reports (e.g., news channels, newspapers, websites, etc.). Media will often ignore stories of heroism, resilience, and sacrifice and instead focus on the most horrific images and troubling accounts.

* This material is from Graham Counseling Center at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan

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