The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Develops Special Class for Veterans

The transition of veterans from active duty life to that of a civilian student is very important to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and in order to help the adjustment process a special class was created. In order to prevent veterans from struggling with their new college experience, the class was created just for them in hopes of helping them adjust to student life. The course is filled with their peers and fellow service members who are able to understand where they are coming from on this new journey.

The class is called, “Back from the Front: Transitioning from the Military to Civilian Life” and is intends to do just that. It is often hard for veterans to switch gears from seeing combat for months on end to civilian life. The change in lifestyle can be a real struggle according to veterans, which may be intensified by a major change, like enrolling in college.

David Chrisinger, professor and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point alum, said “It can be really intimidating or anxiety-inducing for new student veterans to be on campus and surrounded by 18 year olds. It’s easy to feel alienated and isolated.”

The “Back from the Front” course was designed by Chrisinger after he witnessed his friend struggle with his return to civilian life. He says, “I had seen what happens when they fall through the cracks. That was motivation for me – to be someone to help.”

The course will help students students work on goals, let them hear about other veteran’s experiences and even has the occasional field trip on the books when students need a bit of support from their fellow vets.

The response from students is positive and the class seems to be a success. Chrisinger says that students often tell him that if it wasn’t for the veterans course, they would have left school long ago. He sums it up the reason behind the class by saying, “When you feel you don’t belong you might quit or leave. Here at the university we want them to feel included.”

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