Think you are too old to attend college, or think you may not fit in?
Veterans of all ages are heading to college, and recently the Federal program known as VRAP (Veterans Retraining Assistance Program) helped older veterans return back to school. For some of you, going back to school sounds great, but you may be hesitant simply because you aren’t sure of what to expect.
It is completely understandable to be hesitant with going to school for many reasons. For me, it was being older than my classmates, starting all over to learn a new career, and simply knowing by the time I graduate with my Master’s degree, I’d be 30yrs old. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt a bit uncomfortable being back in the classroom, but there comes a point in life when you realize what life expects of you, and even today at 32yrs old, I still have that hunger to learn more and get back in the classroom.
Let’s take a look at what you may face being back in the classroom.
– Thoughts of “I’m too old”
Age plays with our confidence all the time, but did age stop you from completing physical fitness evaluations? If not, then don’t let age be a factor with going to school.
– Life distractions
Our lives can be very busy, so an online degree or Vocational training may be a better suit for you to save you time and money of having to attend classes on campus and a degree that will take years to complete.
– Loss of Confidence
Receiving a poor grade can damage your confidence, but you never quit serving your country in uniform, and quitting now will do no good for your own life. Figure out what went wrong, get extra help, maybe a tutor, change the way you study, be proactive and I can tell you, you will overcome.
– Thoughts of feeling different
Last year you may have been on patrol in Afghanistan for your 3rd tour, meanwhile your fellow classmates sitting next to you were finishing High School. You will feel different and it’s understandable, but if it gets to the point that you’re struggling to cope being in the classroom, seek support. Thanks to Student Veterans of America, many campuses now have a Veteran Center where veterans are coming together to support one another.
– What should I do about my PTSD
My coworker is a retired veteran, who has served in both Iraq wars, Afghanistan and who also suffers from PTSD. PTSD didn’t stop her from attending school, and nor should it stop you. Her advice to you is ‘Let your professors know what your triggers may be and they will work with you”.
Working with a veteran, I was told his professor was not a supporter of veterans, and she had no problems telling that to the veterans in her classroom. The good thing is colleges do not tolerate discrimination, so don’t hesitate to report it to someone on campus.
As a veteran you may be faced with these obstacles that can make you question whether you have made the right decision to return to the classroom. For some it won’t be too difficult, but for others you may find that quitting might be easier than staying in school, but imagine what your future will be without that degree. But the bottom line is irrefutable: You will give yourself more options and increase your odds of a brighter future with a degree.