ISU Vet Pic“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham

The Veteran Student Services Center (VSSC) is Idaho State University’s flagship office to provide access to resources, benefits, and support services for military individuals in the area integrating into civilian and educational settings. The ISU community highly values the service and personal sacrifices veteran students have given both our school and our country. We wanted to begin this first population-specific post by honoring these students. I interviewed both male and female students for different perspectives on transitioning into college life.

One Engineering student who frequents the VSSC, Corey, served in the Army for over five years, and shared his story with us:

It was weird…I didn’t really fit in with the college kids. I felt very irritated…I had some social anxiety. I was so used to making these crazy immediate relations, like, you just sit next to a guy and start talking…It’s definitely not the same here, it was a rapid process…I didn’t seek services, at first. Then, I talked to Melissa [the VSSC’s Bannock County Veteran Services Coordinator], so I was at the [VSSC] more than the sanctuary…I was at Idaho Falls, my first year…I liked Pocatello’s fun environment…It was still hard with the age differences…but, I made my first friend here, this year!

He also had some valuable pieces of advice to pass on to incoming students:

“Expect it to be different. Don’t give up right away. For academic skills, pay attention to when instructors mention how to study, just as much as what to study…This is not high school. You will need to do your homework. Take advantage of resources…Math Lab helped me quite a bit, in case there was a question.”

For veterans, he shares some more in-depth insight into succeeding at ISU:

“If you need help with something, ISU will help you. Don’t think college won’t be stressful because you’ve been to combat. College isn’t going to be a cakewalk. More than anything, ISU will help to prepare them for the real world outside of the military.”

Moriah, a Biology major, who served in the Air Force for three years as part of the Honor Guard unit, provides insight into her transition:

“Become involved. It was a simple transition; ISU makes it easy. I remember applying on a Friday and being accepted on a Tuesday…In the enrollment, it was an easy transition because of accessible coordination, how they do it, and it was nice. I feel like I took a step down from stress. The military is so gung ho, so, I could just finally live life, again.

“The biggest struggle was a way to coordinate my own time. As a college student, you forget how important your schedule is, and how you need to take time out to study in your personal hours to remain consistent with coursework. Setting a schedule was difficult until I finally determined my own. Since ISU, I’ve been able to accomplish my complete freshman year and generals. Outside the college, I’ve been able to begin my own business, create my own personal goals, and establish a stable life for me and my children.”

Her advice for incoming Bengals is applicable for both veteran students and other non-traditional incoming students:

“I think people tend to lag without a set schedule, so even if you don’t have other obligations, you need to set a schedule, just so you can remain consistent and progress in your education. With families, you’re going to lose sleep. I study when my kids are asleep, it’s just what you gotta do. I think veterans especially need to get involved with the [VSSC]. At first, I was just rolling with the punches, but it’s made tremendous differences in my life with support and motivation.”

New Bengals, I implore you to have courage in pursuing your future here at ISU, however that looks for you: whether it be reaching out to a student in need, or seeking a service for your own benefit. Remember, you’re worth it. Everyone who has been in the service will agree. No matter where we’re from, what we’ve done, what we choose to do from here, we are all Bengals, a family–hear us roar.

Office Hours:

Summer: M-F 7:30am-4pm

School Year: M-F 8am-5pm

Contact Information:

Veteran Student Services Center (VSSC)

Todd Johnson, Director


Bannock County Veteran Services (BCVS)

Melissa Hartman, Coordinator


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