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Veterans survey aims to create smooth transitions into college
Ben Peyton / Senior Staff Writer
The UNT psychology department is in the process of using personal experiences of student veterans to provide a better transition-friendly college environment through an anonymous survey.
The “Veterans’ Experiences Transitioning to Students Survey” began last June and aims to reach 200 participants by mid-April.
“My take home message is that it is really an opportunity for student veterans to be heard and I’m interested not only in those who might be struggling, but those who might be doing well,” said Robyn Campbell, project manager and doctorate student veteran.
The survey is not exclusive to UNT, with participants from any college being accepted, as long as they are active student veterans.
The psychology department is recruiting participants from Texas A&M University and Southern Methodist University.
“By participating in the study it’s a way for student veterans to help out their comrades,” Campbell said.
UNT Veterans Center director Tockie Hemphill estimates that there are around 2,000 veterans enrolled at UNT. The exact number of veterans at UNT is not official because a student does not have to make public that they ever served in the military. Only veterans with benefits are logged.
The center tries to connect veterans to the university and their needs to create a seamless transition into college, Hemphill said.
For two consecutive years, UNT has been named a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs, a magazine specializing in civilian life after the military.
“There is such a camaraderie or such a protection mode that they are in to help others,” Hemphill said.
Every veteran does not have a disability and the needs are specific to each student veteran, Hemphill said, but the biggest problem the center sees student veterans experiencing is that they do not know where to go for their needs.
Veteran and pre-graduate student Justine Callahan served nine years and four deployments in the Army and said that she missed the friendships from the Army where she was always surrounded by friends.
“I never really felt alone when I was there,” she said. “It was a big transition once I got out.”
Veterans are always imprinted with their experiences and share a connection with one another whether in civilian life or the military, Callahan said.
“I realize after nine years of serving with the Army that it was my life and I didn’t realize that until after I got out,” Callahan said.