What it’s like to be a college veteran

Teeryana Bryant

For some students who are veterans or in the military, being a college student may feel like a war zone at times. 

UNF student Shanaed Gales, a psychology major, has spent five years in the military. She is currently a junior in college and she feels that because she is a veteran she is held to a higher expectation compared to non-veteran college students. People expect her to know what she is doing. Professors expect her to be disciplined in class and when she is doing her work even if other students may not be.

UNF student Shanaed Gales, a five-year veteran

For Gales, the hardest challenge she’s had to face as a college student is that, despite the high expectations, she doesn’t always know what she’s doing. Sometimes she has to use trial and error like other students.

“Not only do I feel like it’s a standard placed on me, but I place that same standard on myself and sometimes it’s really hard,” she said.

On the plus side she feels that she is given better advantages than other students because there are plenty of resources on campus for veteran students. One of the largest resources is the Military and Veteran Center, who are of assistance when it comes to getting books, school work, and connecting with fellow veterans.

The Vet Center is one of the things Gales enjoys most about being a UNF student.

“Even though a lot of the people there are out of the military, they’re still geared to help people and carry the same values of the military,” she said. The best thing for Gales is that she doesn’t feel left out. She is glad that the university offers a support system she can go to when needed.

College life as a veteran has it own challenges. The main thing is that these veterans and people who are currently in the military do not feel isolated. For Gales, even though college life has given her challenges, she knows in the end it’ll be all worth it.

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