Ball State student veterans share their stories during panel discussion

Though the lecture is over, the conversation about military members and life on campus is not.

The Multicultural Center and Student Veterans Organization presented "Soldier, Student, Civilian" Wednesday to open the discussion of the good and the bad of going to college while in the military.

Multicultural Center advisor Paul Starr said the event is kick-starting the dialogue between military members and students. Now, the soldiers want to maintain that dialogue.

The audience was active and engaging, asking questions about the transition to campus, family life and their fondest memories of service.

Jonathan Arnold, vice president of the Student Veterans Organization, military member and senior industry and technology major, said he feels obligated to share his story with people on campus because he's a veteran who experienced challenges coming to college.

"In the military, we go through similar life trials and it's kind of a struggle to go to college after the military. Usually when veterans come into college, they get thrown in and don't fit very well," he said.

Many of the panel members said the transition to living on campus was tough.

The military members explained that services from Ball State University help with the transition from service to school.

Sy Stine, soldier and freshman elementary education major, found the 21-and-over dorms extremely helpful as a 23-year-old freshman.

Sophomore ROTC member Dan Speer said military members learn many skills not used on campus.

"I learned how to kick in doors and blow stuff up, just like every American boy wants to do," Speer said.

But it wasn't just about military tactics. They also learned skills that set them up for a successful college experience.

Soldier and graduate student Jay Brown said he saw many similarities to school and the military because they both have a mission at the end.

"We are normal people. We just made a different job choice," Brown said.

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