Making the transition to college can be a stressful situation for all students.  When individuals are trying to transition to college after having served in the military, there are unique challenges that can present themselves.  While trying to adjust to college, you as a veteran may notice distressing thoughts, feeling, or behaviors that you may be having trouble managing on your own.  Some symptoms associated with combat stress can surface as soon as you return, or they might not appear until further down the road:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Flashbacks 
  • Poor or lack of concentration 
  • Negative self image  
  • Depression 
  • Anger issues 
  • Anxiety
  • Alienation and isolation 
  • Memory impairment 
  • Loss of interest in things you once loved 
  • Problems with intimate relationships 
  • Alcohol and drug use 
  • Survivor guilt 
  • Trust issues 
  • Paranoid thoughts
  • Suicidal thoughts

While many returning veterans will make a successful return to civilian life, research suggests that as many as 1 in 3 returning veterans experience a serious psychological problem related to their war zone experience. Your academic performance, daily functioning, relationships or your general enjoyment of life may be negatively impacted if you experience any of the above symptoms.  Below are some on-line resources which may be helpful:

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

A safe environment with the support of family, friends, and fellow veterans as well as passage of time may cause your symptoms to diminish on their own.  However, if your symptoms persist and affect your daily functioning, you may consider seeking professional help.  Counseling Services may be helpful in easing your transition to academic life by offering support and counseling or by helping you find appropriate treatment in the community.  Additionally, for more services offered to Veterans enrolled here at Rider University, check out the Military Affairs webpage.

Call the Counseling Center at Lawrenceville Campus (609) 896-5157 or Princeton Westminster Campus at (609) 921-7100 x 8275.

Information for this webpage was adapted from the following webpages: