Higher Education & Adult Learning – Vignette

Pete’s Story

Pete had just started classes at the local community college. He was excited to be enrolled and working toward a new career after spending six years of his young adult life as a weapons specialist in the armed forces. He made sure to arrive early to every class, feeling anxious and ensuring he got a seat in the back of the room where he could keep an eye on everything.

It bothered Pete that most of his classmates talked too much in class, challenged the professor, and acted as if they were kids in high school. Pete realized that he was sometimes unable to focus, as he was constantly scanning the room and alert to noises in the hallway. He struggled on his first exam and felt his bubble of hope burst.

One day in class, one of his classmates made a flip comment. Everything that was bubbling under the surface came to a head. Pete felt angry that anyone would take the privilege of higher education for granted.  He made a comment back to the classmate and things escalated to the point where Pete got angry and stormed out of the classroom to avoid getting into a fight. He decided that college – with all the immaturity and lack of respect – was not for him. He decided to drop out and went to his advisor to tell her so.

It was at that point that the advisor Asked the Question: “Have you ever served in the military?” Although he had included this information on his initial application, and was using the GI bill, the information was never provided to his advisor or instructor. Once she knew about Pete’s background, the advisor was able to link Pete to the Student Veteran group and support him in finding ways that he can feel more comfortable in the classroom. He decided to stay in school after all. If his advisor had not identified Pete’s military background, he may have dropped out and passed by the opportunity to further his education.

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Select your profession to see how:

By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” senior services professionals can:

  1. Help older veterans feel understood and respected for their military service
  2. Make effective referrals to Veteran-specific programs and resources
  3. Help military widows access survivor benefits
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” children’s services professionals can:

  1. Help a student thrive when a parent is deployed
  2. Support families facing deployment and reintegration
  3. Improve peer sensitivity to military children
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” employment and vocational services professionals can:

  1. Identify a warrior’s transferable skills
  2. Connect Veterans to military-friendly employers
  3. Help a returning Service Member access veteran job training programs
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” faith-based professionals can:

  1. Identify families in need of extra help during deployment
  2. Motivate communities to come together on behalf of those who serve
  3. Connect military families to the supports and services they need
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” healthcare and medical professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant patient
  2. Understand the relationship between military experiences and medical symptoms
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” higher education professionals can:

  1. Help a warrior acclimate to a civilian learning environment
  2. Improve peer sensitivity to veteran classmates
  3. Effectively accommodate service-connected disabilities
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” housing services professionals can:

  1. Identify families that qualify for Veteran-specific housing programs
  2. Address service-related barriers to stable housing
  3. Provide effective referrals and resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” law enforcement professionals can:

  1. Keep veterans and their families safe
  2. Build trust and rapport in difficult situations
  3. Partner with providers who help Veterans in crisis
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” legal services professionals can:

  1. Support justice-involved veterans
  2. Identify legal challenges related to military service
  3. Link to effective resources
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” mental health professionals can:

  1. Build critical rapport with a reluctant client
  2. Understand the impact of military stressors on mental health and substance use
  3. Help a family understand the emotional effects of deployment on the whole family
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” social services professionals can:

  1. Engage reluctant Veteran clients
  2. Meet a military family’s unique needs
  3. Coordinate services between veteran and civilian providers
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By asking “Have you or a family member ever served in the military?” women’s services professionals can:

  1. Partner with veteran service providers in crisis situations
  2. Identify deployment-related triggers and risk factors
  3. Identify individuals affected by Military Sexual Trauma (MST)
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Call Us (844)-4ASKVET
Email Us AskTheQuestion@eastersealsnh.org