Sierra College Teaches Veterans how to Survive in School.

by | Jun 12, 2012  Article by Daniel Zwerdling, National Public Radio

June 11, 2012

“The guys [are] feeling lost,” says Catherine Morris, one of Sierra’s main academic advisers. The school has roughly 800 vets on its campus among its 20,000 students. “And I had so many guys telling me that they were actually more afraid of going to college than they were in combat.”

“When vets from Iraq and Afghanistan started pouring onto college campuses, veterans’ advocates assumed that colleges would be ready. The military’s own studies show that hundreds of thousands of vets have come home with mental health problems or traumatic brain injuries, or both. Many others are struggling mothers like Turner. But surveys by education groups show that most colleges haven’t done much to help them. Rodrigo Garcia, chairman of Student Veterans of America and assistant director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, says he’s worried.”

This is another example of a public/private non-profit program specifically modeled in a campus setting.  Colleges often do not have the resources to fund veterans support groups.  It is clear from the story that combat veterans and teachers alike must learn how to interact and work together effectively in a classroom.  Instructors who learn the challenges facing veterans adjusting to life after war, know that if a veteran gets up and leaves the classroom, they are not skipping class!  Veterans who suffer from the symptoms of PTSD have severe anxiety and panic attacks at times, especially when they are closed-in a classroom or confined.  We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  There are numerous local community models that come together as non-profits with fund raising resources.  In the case of continued education in a community colleges, veterans have a much better chance of adjusting when students and teachers come together to provide the “soul feeding” formula for success in helping veterans returning home from combat to transition and make healthy adjustments in life after war.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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