After serving on the other side of the world for almost two years in an armored regiment of the United States Marine Corps, Mark Stillion said that it was a significant challenge just for him to walk to class at Kent State University.
Stillion said he has seen and experienced a great deal in his deployments, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The transition to civilian life has been difficult, but with the assistance of a friend, he has now reached his senior year of college at Kent. With his upcoming master's program in counseling, he is determined to make a difference in other people's lives.
Stillion has not always been able to locate the next thing that they want to do after serving in the military, but for many veterans, the next thing they want to do can be challenging to see.
In a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a slightly higher unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans. Many of these veterans are under 30 years of age and face a wide range of challenges in their daily lives.
With Stillion’s help, Kent State University has a specific office that helps veterans get started and use the GI Bill and other benefits they have earned. It is not uncommon for veterans to have very different needs than someone just out of high school, and Rider explained that they do everything to meet those needs at Kent.
A lot of the armed forces have left the military now that we are not so heavily involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these veterans are going back to school at an older age than most students.
On-campus, there is a wide range of services that are available to help veterans with their academics.
“Come into the office and talk to you about what your benefits are going to be. We connect you with services on campus.” Rider said. “If you have other issues, we can connect you to other services to make sure that your transition is smooth.”