There are many differences between the military and civilian cultures. Even though you are familiar with both cultures, the shift from one to the other is a process of reintegration. This process involves your adjustment in many different areas such as relationships, lifestyles, and mindset. Because of the nature of war and deployment, reintegration may also involve some physical and psychological issues. You can learn to manage these challenges effectively; the information in this section will help your transition go smoother.
Things to Do in Cache Valley
Returning from active duty, many veterans notice a reduction in their physical activity level. The daily life of civilians may appear boring with no adrenaline rush. We encourage you to take initiative to make your life fun and exciting by taking advantages of great opportunities available at USU and the surrounding areas.
After being on active duty, readjusting to life at home can be a challenge. Any changes in life, even positive ones like homecoming, create some levels of stress for a person. Returning veterans have often talked about struggling with the changes in their family roles and responsibilities because in their absence, other family members had to learn to function without him/her. It is, therefore, not uncommon for a returning vet to feel like his/her family no longer need him/her. Returning mothers and fathers often are faced with children who are confused and seem detached from then. Reestablishing intimacy with his/her partner may be difficult as well. Most of all, homecoming may feel like a huge letdown after initial excitement passes. So how can you cope with these challenges? Communication is a key to the successful transition. Talk to each other and renegotiate new roles and responsibilities. You may want to spend time assessing everyone current skills and abilities. While going through the changes, try to keep positive attitudes and be patient with yourself and others in your family. Meantime, you can recognize this as a stressful situation and use strategies to control your stress level (e.g., exercise, deep breathing). Know that it will get better.
For more information, reference the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services: A Guide to a Healthy Family Reunion.
Adjustment to College
Coming from a combat zone to a college campus is a big adjustment. Many skills and qualities developed during the military career provide advantages for succeeding on a college campus. At the same time, university settings require a unique set of skills that returning veterans may have to learn. Culturally those two settings are much different, as well. It is not uncommon for returning veterans to feel disconnected from civilian students who seem preoccupied with "unimportant" matters such as cars and fashion. Many veterans also struggle "unlearning" skills that were necessary for survival in combat zones. All these challenges are common, and will likely improve in time. Obtaining additional assistance, however, can make this process go easier and smoother. Such assistance is available through the Veterans Resource Office (TSC 314) and Counseling and Psychological Services (TSC 306).
The brochures linked below also offer helpful information on adjusting to college, PTSD, and TBI.