Current Perspective: From the Navy to AACC


Photo by Britney Pieraldi

Student Government Association Vice President Francheska Salazar describes being a student-veteran.

Francheska Salazar, Guest Columnist

In my 13 years serving as a translator in the U.S. Navy, I had the great fortune of serving both stateside and overseas.

It was difficult transitioning to student life. I found myself feeling lost without the sense of camaraderie and family I had in the military. I had been a sailor for so long that I had to find my place again with a new sense of purpose and family.

Fortunately for me, I found that sense of community on campus.

One of the struggles of being a student-veteran is the additional weight of following the GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation regulations to receive full benefits. If we drop courses without specific reasons defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs, then the money we have to pay back can be quite substantial. This puts additional stress on the student-veteran and has caused some to go back to the workforce and delay their education.

Conversely, we have the opportunity to pursue educational goals that otherwise may not have been afforded to us without our benefits.

My biggest resource, by far, is the support system I have both at home and on campus. I have had the great fortune of networking as the former AACC Student Veterans Association president and now as the Student Government Association vice president. Through these opportunities, I learned about resources and personnel available to help as many as possible in the hope of paying it forward.

To other military members transitioning, you do not have to do this alone. You have a community here that is willing and able to support you as you transition and attend school. No one person achieves this goal alone. As you learn, you in turn can help others.

This transition is a process. So most of all, be patient with yourself and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Salazar is a former Petty Officer 1st Class and law and jurisprudence transfer major.