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Veterans share their perspective

Military students come together to discuss their experiences at Hamline.

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During convocation hour on Thursday, Nov. 9, the Military Resource Center and the Dean of Students invited students to a panel discussion to help understand the lives of  military and veteran students a little better. The panel was made up of seven military students who are currently attending Hamline.

The students on the panel ranged in ages and backgrounds, some being in their 20s and feeling fairly natural going through their first four years of school, and others being parents pursuing a degree after their time serving was completed.

“When you leave the military, there is a transitional period,” said Kevin Cha, the Military Liaison on campus. “It can be a rough go, especially when you’re going a hundred miles an hour in the military and then you come here, where no one’s telling you what exactly you have to do.”

Many of the students on the panel seemed to agree with Cha’s statement. Throughout the discussion, different questions were posed to the students. These questions covered topics ranging from difficulties transitioning back into school, to what the students wish was different about the veteran accessibility on campus, to gripes the students had with individual classes and experiences at college after serving their time.

“My personal experience with Academic Advising and different things like that have been very difficult as a result of trying to balance the military and being a student,” said Naji El-Araby, a fifth-year at Hamline and a member of the Army National Guard. “For example, one of the benefits of serving in the military is that they then help you pay for school, which is one of the main reasons that I did it. But then there’s lapses in pay, and you need to try to find different ways to handle the payment issue.”

Many issues like this were discussed during the panel. A lot of military students who were present agreed that the lapses they experienced in payment were problematic toward some of their experiences in attending schools. Additionally, many students agreed that it was difficult for them to merge into the college community due to their previous service and their age difference with other students.

“I’m like a decade, if not more, older than most of these students, and it is extremely difficult when I see students coming in late, or complaining about small scale things,” said Kelley Lasiewicz, a junior on campus and a member of the Air Force. “I think that’s my biggest thing is transitioning and learning how to be a part with a generation that I don’t know anything about.”

This panel discussion was an important step in military students having more presence on Hamline’s campus. One topic discussed during the panel was how many military students felt as if their presence was noticed, but how more could be done in terms of community building for military students. Ideas of a military-focused orientation and more awareness of military student resources were bounced around. In the meantime, events such as the panel discussion serve as important events to help students, both military and not, understand one another and realize the incredible diversity that exists on Hamline’s campus.

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The student news site of Hamline University.
Veterans share their perspective