Military-Affiliated Students and Student Veterans

While the transition to university can be difficult for many students, military-affiliated students and student veterans may face unique challenges. We aim to offer support and resources for these students so that you can make the most of your collegiate experience.

Common Stressors

  • Transitioning to civilian life and life on a college campus can be a big adjustment. It is common to feel out of place, challenged, or stressed by the process of transitioning to college life.
  • Navigating dual identities as a student and a service member can be challenging and stressful.
  • Returning from deployment or active combat can be difficult. Life on campus and at school may not feel as fulfilling or may feel trivial compared to your previous experiences. Relationships may have changed or close friends may have graduated when you return.
  • Military responsibilities or experiences during deployment can cause combat stress, which is a normal reaction to traumatic experiences. Combat stress can look like feeling nervous, depression, difficulty trusting others, intense sadness, irritability, nightmare, and anxiety.

When do I know if therapy would be helpful?

  • Less enjoyment or interest in activities that were previously fulfilling
  • Feeling emotionally distant or disconnected from others or goals
  • Trouble sleeping or inconsistent sleep schedule
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts about self-injury
  • Balancing multiple life roles
  • Difficulty relating to other students who don’t share same life experiences
  • Feeling a sense of purposelessness or hopelessness
  • Difficulty dealing with emotions, such as sadness, irritability, guilt, etc.
  • Increased or elevated use of substances or alcohol

What can the counseling center do?

  • Provide a confidential and safe place to discuss concerns
  • Provide short term individual therapy
  • Provide group therapy with other VCU students
  • Facilitate psychiatric referrals with VCU Student Health
  • Facilitate connection with supportive therapy options in the community
  • Discuss options for connection with other veteran students

Examples of what therapy may look like: