Help, I’m nervous about being a student…

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On a weekly basis I receive phone calls, emails and in-person visits from various military personnel and veterans. During the course of these engagements I’m often confronted with statements like, "Jason, I’m nervous about being a student. I don’t know if I can do this. I feel older than my peers…"

Reflecting back to the bus ride to basic training and boot camp, most of us felt haunted with self-doubt, but soon realized that the process of transitioning from a civilian to a member of the armed forces was within our grasp. Similarly, although the prospect of being a student can be overwhelming in the beginning, let me assure you that we admit our students with the hope and anticipation that they will see their degree programs through until graduation. And with this, we have plenty of support to assist you along the way.

Keep in mind that our veterans perform exceptionally well as students. Many arrive on campus with leadership and real world work experience in addition to possessing first class discipline and time management skills. Of course, having a break in education and feeling a bit rusty with writing papers or math are very normal and expected parts of your transition. With this stated, please do not hesitate to contact Veteran Student Support Services if you feel intimidated or unsure about your new career as a student. I’m happy to meet with you to discuss the various support services on campus while also addressing any questions that you have.

Here are some helpful tips for assisting you with your transition:

Reach out to other student veterans and get involved!

The Illini Veterans, a registered student organization and chapter of Student Veterans of America, has over 150 active members on campus. They are the “student veteran voice” and host a wide variety of social and philanthropic activities throughout the school year. They can provide mentoring support or simply serve as a great starting point for meeting other veterans on campus. You will often find many Illini Veterans in our Student Veteran Lounge or you can contact them via Facebook.

Illini Veterans Facebook Group

Writers Workshop – The Center for Writing Studies

The Writers Workshop, part of the Center for Writing Studies, is the writing center at Illinois. We provide free writing assistance for University of Illinois students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and at all stages of the writing process. Discuss your writing with consultants who are experienced writers and teachers of writing. Call (217) 333-8796, or stop by, to set up a 50-minute session at one of our workshop locations. Please see our appointment, schedule and policies (doc) pages for more information.

Real Warriors Tips for Student Veterans

Five resources for returning to school