The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

    De Anza veterans host educational workshops

    Faculty, student veterans and health professionals shared experiences and ideas about how to help yesterday’s soldiers re-enter civilian life and achieve success at a De Anza College workshop on Feb. 10 and 11. 

    Captain Michael Van Derwood and Dr. David Joseph, the keynote speakers, provided insight into the transition that awaits returning soldiers. Civilian society sometimes cannot treat veterans appropriately due to a lack of understanding, Derwood said.

    According to the workshop’s handout, “De Anza College has more than 500 veterans and many experience unique challenges that may impede their academic success.”  

    Joseph began with a presentation about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, its symptoms and triggers, as well as other kinds of distress caused by the transitional process and cultural clashes between soldier and civilian life.

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    For instance, a recently returned soldier may involuntarily remember his or her military activities, and that can be a traumatic recollection. 

    While in a war situation, a soldier does not have an opportunity to think much about his or her participation during combat; rather, obedience to superiors and fulfilling their orders reigns supreme. 

    However, when a soldier returns to civilian society, these thoughts can be intrusive. 

    “The more you are trying to avoid unwanted thoughts, the more they return,” Joseph said. 

    Former soldiers often feel unable to share the thoughts with anyone. This can create emotional instability and lead to serious disorders, he said.Support networks, careful treatment and counseling are essential for such distressed veterans.

    Joseph continued to espouse the positive contribution of former soldiers. “They bring onto the campus years of experience, maturity, leadership, drive and diversity.” 

    The student veterans who participated at the student panel were full of resolve and determination.

    “We respect all opinions,” said Victor Arredondo, president of A Better Foundation for Student Vets. He said that his wartime experience made him more sensitive to others’ hardships. 

    Conne Tseng, the only woman on the panel, said that her experience as a military doctor led her to continue her education in the medical field. 

    Lori Clinchard, a humanities instructor at De Anza, said, “I have always appreciated the participation of veterans in my classes, but what stood out for me at this workshop listening to the De Anza student veterans was the strength of their integrity. They have a lot to offer. They deserve our support, and we need them.”

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