“Transition”, that word you’ve been hearing since you decided to get out of the military. Everybody wants to tell you what to do and how to do it so everything goes smoothly. We’re not going to do that. Everybody is different, has different circumstances and life is rarely smooth.
What we are going to tell you are a few things to keep in mind when Texas A&M is your goal.
- Get your head in the right place. Make the shift in mindset from military to academia. Mission success is still the goal; you just have a different mission now. Your new mission is to successfully graduate with a degree and get a good job. For some of you, this is your first taste of freedom no matter how old you are. You graduated high school and went straight to the military. This is the time to check that personal responsibility box and keep it in check.
- Use the resources available to you. The climate on the campus of a large university is completely different from that of a military base, or even a community college. Everything you need is here on campus, just like a military base. The difference is, in the military they push the information to you (what to wear, where to go, when to be there, etc). On campus, you’ll have to pull information from resources (What is the Writing Center and why do I need it? I have a TBI and have trouble focusing during tests. Where can I get help with this?). There’s no shortage of resources and support available to student veterans but you have to be willing to pursue them.
- Should you be admitted, you will be attending a New Student Conference. One evening during the conference, there will be an event called Vet Camp. You really need to attend. There will be resource tables from all of the offices on campus that currently work with veterans plus current student veterans that you can just hang out with and talk. Other student veterans are sometimes your best resource.
- Find your niche. Whether it’s joining a student organization or just finding and talking to other veterans with the same interests/hobbies as you. The point is to get out there and do things, get involved and have some fun. There really are people out there that haven’t worn a uniform that you can relate to.