5 Helpful Tips for Veterans Who Choose to Go Back to College

Guest Post, October 4, 2021, Adam Evans, Citebrain.com

5 Helpful Tips for Veterans Who Choose to Go Back to College

Veterans considering going back to school face several challenges relating to their new civilian status, their plans for the future, and their mental health. If you are a veteran embarking on a new educational journey, look over the five tips below from Mindful Veterans Connection Forum for help making this life-changing transition a little bit easier.

  1. Consider an Online Degree

Consider enrolling in an online degree program to finish credits you began before entering the military or a degree you started while in service. For example, attending school virtually and completing an online program in accounting could help you become certified as a CPA. If you want to work in the medical field, studying biology or chemistry would be ideal options. If you are unsure about what you want to study for your post-military career, you may wish to complete general education requirements online or at a community college before transferring to a local university.

  1. Investigate Veteran-Based Financing Options

Many scholarships and grants are available to veterans, and some colleges offer tuition discounts for those who have served in the military. The GI Bill can help with paying tuition. Get in touch with your academic advisor or your college’s outreach program for veterans (if there is one) to discuss your options and plan for financing before you take out student loans.

  1. Adjust Your Work-Life Balance

The unpredictable nature of civilian life can cause worry or fear for veterans who have been in service for a long time. If you experience anxiety or depression that you cannot handle on your own, seek help. You’re not alone in feeling alienated and poorly adjusted when you return from years of service. Focus on what you can control: Create your own study plan and schedule for each week of classes, and communicate with your peers and instructors for clarity.

  1. Prepare for Challenges Unique to Veterans

Depending on the type of work you did in the military, you may be facing re-entry challenges such as difficulty adjusting to a civilian schedule, trouble in relationships or even post-traumatic stress from time spent in combat. According to Pew Research Center, 27% of veterans report difficulty in their readjustment period. If you served within the decade after the September 11, 2001, attacks, you have a 44% chance of having an extremely hard time reintegrating yourself into civilian life.

  1. Keep Your End Goal in Mind

Starting school or going back to college after a long absence can be difficult for veterans and civilians alike. Stay alert and create a series of short-term and long-term goals. If your long-term goal is to graduate with a specific degree, are you taking the classes you need to reach it? If your short-term goal is to get a particular grade in a class, are you on track to making that happen? Your study habits, self-care, and organizational ability all factor into how successful your school career will be.

Undertaking a new degree program can be difficult for a veteran who has grown used to the daily life of military service. Set up your own structure and regularly evaluate your mental health to assess stress, burnout, and anxiety. Communicate with those willing to help, such as instructors, classmates, family, and friends, for successful reintegration to civilian life and college.

Adam Evans, Citebrain.com

Mindful Veterans Connection

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Mindful Veterans Connection

We are Mindful Veterans: To learn about us — and possibly join us — see this brief video produced by the World Mindfulness Project called GIFT in early 2017:  The Gift: Delaware Mindful Veterans Video .

To visit our full Mindfulness Forum, Resources & Information pages — Please Click-Push Here .

December 8, 2020: Resources for Combat Veterans in Transition (from deploycare.org) HERE.

About Us:

We are Mindful Veterans Connection, www.mindfulvets.net , a small but growing group of military veterans in the USA and internationally who have found mindfulness to be extremely effective in dealing with our service-connected conditions such as PTSD, Depression, Chronic Pain, Anger Management, Agent Orange Syndrome etc. We are trying to spread the word on the power of mindfulness to other veterans and active duty military. For some of us, Mindfulness has been a life-saver, truly transformative.  As part of our own healing, we feel a need to share this with other veterans who may feel they are out of options.

To reach more veterans in this internet and social media age we live in, we created a web forum in 2015 for our small local group in Delaware USA. As our ranks slowly grow, now we are in the process of building a global informational web site and virtual community for and by Veterans (and some active duty) who use mindfulness and mindful meditation in their lives. We are just getting started and have vets from the original Delaware USA MBSR groups; also, more recently we have had registrations from other veterans and mindfulness experts around the USA as well as a few internationally (India, The Philippines). Active duty military and mindfulness professionals and researchers are equally welcome. We also have unregistered visitors visit our site regularly from around the world as well. As things unfold, we anticipate including first-responders as well, given that their occupations are also very much trauma-centered.

We are NOT a formal US government-sanctioned VA website but receive helpful support and information from various mindfulness experts within and outside the VA.

We are working in conjunction with Sam Beards’ GIFT program; to learn more visit: https://giftglobal.org/

Our Goals:

Mindful Veterans Connection’s purpose is two-fold:

1. To provide mindfulness information resources relevant to veterans, and,
2. To grow a virtual veterans’ peer-support presence online as this site evolves.

To visit our Mindfulness Forum, Resources & Information pages — Please Click-Push Here .


  • Also, we are also looking for veteran graduates from any  Mindfulness-based training program or therapy group to join us and help us grow this virtual community. (MBSR, MBCT, etc.) . Furthermore, if you are a VA Staff Mindfulness Leader or research scientist and are interested in joining our web forum, we welcome you, so please send a message to the administrator of this board by clicking HERE.
  • If you have any questions, comments or information please contact us at: mindfulvetsnet@gmail.com .
  • To contribute to this site to help us cover our technical costs, please see our GoFundMe.com page HERE.
  • We have  a page on Facebook to serve as a place to discuss and promote the themes of our website: It is located at:https://www.facebook.com/mindfulvetsconnection/.
  • Coming Soon: Podcasts from Mindful Veterans Connection. Active Duty and Veterans, has mindfulness helped you heal? Do you want to tell your story of how Mindfulness changed your life? We find that often stories and testimonials from one veteran to another are a powerful way of helping a veteran explore alternative ways of healing. Contact us mindfulvetsnet@gmail.com for details to be interviewed on an upcoming podcast.
  • November 2018 Sam Beard’s GIFT Video Update: HERE 
  • New Delaware GIFT Global Website, February 2019:  https://www.DelawareChangingLives.org

To visit our  Mindfulness Information & Forum Pages — Please Click-Push Here

Dana K. Lewis
SSGT USAF 1966-1976