Armed Services & Military Community

Returning to College - Transition Concerns

Returning to college after Armed Services deployment can be a stressful and highly frustrating experience for some veterans (11 to 17%). Veterans coming out of extremely stressful combat conditions may find the transition to college life and academic demands a difficult personal challenge.

 Quite often combat veterans have signs of combat stress and PTSD before they are discharged from the Armed Service. They frequently avoid seeking help for combat-related stress and/or PTSD symptoms telling themselves they will handle their problems alone or at a more convenient time.

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Post-Traumatic Stress

Each returning veteran will contend with their symptoms in either a constructive or destructive fashion. Veterans suffering from combat-related stress and/or PTSD may experience symptoms such as:

      • Boredom stemming from missing the adrenaline rush of combat;

      • Anger, frustration concerning lost time while on deployment;

      • Inability to focus and concentrate on academic assignments/tests;

      • Anxiety, hypersensitivity and startle reactions;

      • Problems with developing relationships with students that have not experienced what veterans have gone through;

      • Concerns and worries about being redeployed;

      • Anger and rage control problems;

      • Depression and paranoia;

      • Troubling dreams, nightmares, thoughts and memories;

      • Grief and sadness;

      • Isolation, social retraction and alienation from others;

      • Low tolerance for stress and others’ views of the Armed Services;

      • Guilt because of acts committed during combat situations; 

      • Events witnessed and from being a survivor while others were not;

      • Seeking relief from emotional pain by abusing alcohol and other drugs;

      • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities;

      • Low self esteem issues;

      • Problems with authority;

      • Difficulty going and staying asleep;

      • Difficulty trusting others; and

      • PTSD/Combat-related stress reactions.

The Office of Student Counseling Services is here to offer support and facilitate change.