Northwest Vista College takes pride in assisting veterans transitioning from military life to civilian life. Veterans bring a whole other dynamic to the college classroom through their real-world experiences.
NVC is one of only 20% of colleges, in the United States, that is recognized as a military friendly school. It offers plenty of resources to accommodate all veterans. NVC has the Vet2Vet Program, the Veteran Center and lastly, the Veteran Lounge.
Gary Bowling is an adjunct History instructor at NVC and also NVC’s SDEV/EDUC 1300 director. He served for 21 years and retired as a senior master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force. Bowling has seen first-hand the ups and downs.
“The biggest challenge for veterans straight out of the military is leaving the military lifestyle and adapting to the change,” he says. “Leaving the military is a life changing decision, there will be choices to be made. For veteran students entering college, they will need to adapt, be understanding, and be patient with people.”
A veteran student at NVC, who is going for his associates degree is Brandon Mangin. A 36-year old college student who has served in the United States Navy for six years and is now serving in the Navy Reserves. He is also the vice president of the NVC Student Government Association.
His perspective on leaving the military was that he felt he did not really prepare; but he knew he was going to join the Reserves and make the move to San Antonio to be with his then girlfriend, now wife. Aside from relocating; Mangin faced other obstacles while preparing to attend college, such as a financial hardship while searching for a job to make ends meet.
“I started applying at NVC in April. I came for orientation. Asked about how things work, like if you need financial aid,” Margin says.
Transitioning from a full-time job to full time-student, can become really stressful.
“It was tough. Trying to figure out how I was going to schedule classes. What is it I am going to do? I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do and I picked Engineering, not really thinking of the end goal, and that is why I am planning to switch my major,” he adds.
At NVC, we have great role models for all students, but it is refreshing to see we have veteran faculty members and staff to accommodate veteran students and make them feel at ease since veterans in particular have made the biggest sacrifice of their lives.
By NVC Student Jay Jimenez