Vets transition from combat to classroom

UMHB students have a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Some students have even seen combat, and are looking to transition from active duty to civilian life.
The university has demonstrated a commitment to helping veterans adapt to their new lives. So much so that UMHB has been classified as a yellow ribbon school which simply means soldiers are always welcome.
They go through admissions, enrolling, and classes just like everyone else.
One downside to the admissions process is that sometimes UMHB doesn’t allow active duty students.
“[Active duty military members] often have to work on the base as a full-time job, and working from eight-to-five isn’t going to give them a well-rounded college experience,” said Patrick Munoz, head of military admissions.
But because the university wants to serve all members of the military, they are working on an online program that would be beneficial to those active duty students.
For those who have gone through active duty and are returning to civilian life, the process can be very stressful.
The university not only wants to help ease this transition by providing an opportunity to advance their careers, but also by providing services that will help them ease into the next stage of life.
If a solider is having a hard time adapting to their new life and classes they can get free counseling at UMHB’s Counseling Center.
Being on campus also gives veterans the chance to get to know other students and participate in university events.
“After leaving the Navy, I tried to do a semester online before coming to UMHB, but it was so isolated. UMHB gives me social interaction.” said Garrett Coppin, a junior business Management major.
Coppin was an Intel specialist for the Navy and spent a lot of his time at different ports around the Americas. He has served in Cuba, California, Washington State, and Hawaii.
“My responsibilities are different and I get to sleep in longer,” said Coppin said of the differences between military and college life.
But even though college affords many veterans the chance to gain experiences they’ve never had, it can often be an adjustment when going from living on a base to living in an institutional setting.
Brandon Middleton, a sophomore history major, explained that after coming to UMHB he had a hard time following UMHB’s rules. He struggled with these issues for a short while, but eventually realized that these rules were put in place for a reason.
“My work ethic changed and got better after all the training,” said Middleton, “It is easier to learn here because of the small classroom sizes.”
Middleton was a tank driver in the military and is also currently in ROTC. He went to the University of Houston before enlisting and he believes he has changed since then. He spent four years in the military. The fall of 2015 semester was the first time Middleton had set foot in a classroom since 2012.
There are an estimated 477 students who currently receive military benefits. However, only around 300 are actually soldiers. The others are either a spouse or children who are receiving benefits. There are two main bills that soldiers often apply for: the Chapter 33 and the Chapter 30 bills.
Chapter 30 is referred to as the vocational rehab bill, which is for veterans who are disabled in some way. Capter 33 is the post-9/11 GI bill. This bill pays up to a certain amount for college tuition. Chapter 30 pays for everything but housing.

Author: Madeline Oden

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