From soldier, to civilian, to student: student veterans' transitions from overseas deployments to the university classroom
AuthorNaphan, Dara Elizabeth
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The implementation of the Post 9/11 GI Bill in August 2009 made approximately two million veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan eligible for higher education subsidies, and colleges universities are experiencing an increased enrollment of veterans. Ultimately, in order to understand how veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan experience the drastic environmental transition from an overseas military deployment, to civilian life and into colleges and universities, this research explores student veterans' experiences from the moment they enlisted in the military until the time the study was conducted. The findings are based on in-depth interviews with eleven student veterans from the University of Nevada, Reno who had been deployed overseas since 9/11/2001. The participants revealed a range of reasons for enlisting, as well as a range of experiences within the military, during their deployments, and finally their transitions home and to school. For the most part, their stories indicate their time in the military had positive effects on things such as their engagement in class and discipline to their studies, but at the same time some student veterans indicated they did not feel entirely comfortable on a college campus. Student veterans are typically older and with different sets of experiences than most college students, and some have expressed feeling alienated by peers and professors' comments about the military or wars.