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The Battle After the War

Adjusting to life at home is a difficult step veterans face when they return from their service.

“The biggest challenge in making that transition would be the difference in the military culture versus the civilian culture when they come back,” Veterans Resource Center Coordinator Patrina Croisdale said.

CSUN student and Marine veteran Juan Flores said his toughest adjustment has been getting his family, friends, professors and colleagues to understand his challenges. Flores said he has had trouble relating even to his closest friends and immediate family members because they just don’t understand what he has gone through.

CSUN provides the veterans on campus with many resources to help them adjust to their new surroundings. The Veterans Resource Center (VRC) reaches out to veterans to  make it easier for them to meet other veterans on campus and adjust to the different lifestyle. The VRC also provides mentors for veterans and helps them further their educational and professional goals.

Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) differs from the VRC by offering accommodations such as support services, academic coaches, and work ability programs to any students with disabilities. DRES also helps with the psychological process involved with students accepting they have a disability.

“They’re wanting to discuss their diagnoses, and how it impacts them in their current academics,” DRES counselor Joaquin Marinez said.

DRES also offers services to veterans on campus with a disability or diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Flores was diagnosed with PTSD three years after returning from Iraq. He experienced difficulty sleeping, anger issues and mood swings. DRES tries to push veterans into getting involved with the Thriving and Achieving Program (TAP), which helps them work on developing a journey to success and deciding the factors in their plans after college. Flores said he uses the TAP program to help with his classes, to learn time management and to get strategies for dealing with PTSD.

Some veterans with PTSD report that they have attention concentration issues and when their symptoms are triggered, they have to leave the classroom. DRES helps with getting priority seating, along with note and test taking strategies. He said without the professionals he would not have known what was wrong with him.

“To me, that’s what helped me,” Flores said, “because I knew and felt like I had something wrong with me besides the sleep part and my mood swings, and I had a couple of people, like friends, tell me something is wrong with me, and from there that’s when I realized I need to go seek help.”

The staff at the VRC also helps vets apply for private scholarships and find employment.

The VRC holds a weekly Meet Relax Eat, and a monthly Neon Lights event to allow students to come hangout, enjoy good company, listen to music, and eat free food. The VRC will be celebrating November 11 with Veterans Awareness Week and full schedule of events to recognize and honor veterans.

“Students will be able to come and participate in an art project, which we will donate towards an organization that supports and works with veterans everyday, specifically those suffering from depression or PTSD,” Croisdale said. “This is called ’22 is Too Many’, referring to the 22 veterans who complete suicide each day.”

Marinez said there are vets on campus who do not want to be known or aren’t willing to seek help. Marinez, along with DRES, tries to reach out to vets in different areas and get them involved and show them as much support as they need.

Moderator: Robert Zamora

Producers: Andrea Bautista and Strongman Osom

Anchor: Courtney Wallace

Reporters: Roy Azoulay and Calsey Cole

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