This week’s prompt is causing me to pause a bit. I find myself re-adjusting in my seat because I am uncomfortable with my answer. I don’t know if it will be popular, but it will be honest.
My interaction with our Veteran students consists of assisting with class selections; verifying that the students’ enrollment information is submitted to the VA in a timely manner, and also continuing to monitor each and every student to make sure any changes to his or her enrollment is reported in a timely manner to the VA so the student can avoid incurring lots of unnecessary debt.
So – do I or does my Team speak to students about current events? My first answer would be ‘No’ and this is why. Most of our students are working in addition to attending school. Some of them are also dealing with high anxiety and/or PTSD so mental health is of the forefront and current events can sometimes trigger their anxiety to heighten. Our approach is keeping our students comfortable and serving them efficiently and effortlessly so they do not have added stress to the all ready heavy load they are carrying. We don’t avoid current event conversations, but we do not volunteer to talk about them either.
On the flipside, I can also say we do sometimes talk about certain issues or situations if the need arises. Now, if we have a world event involving any military action then absolutely the office is a buzz, and we are working hard to ensure the students who receive Orders to be deployed are given permission to withdraw from classes due to mitigating circumstances. The atmosphere becomes quite serious and a blanket of empathy is felt like a thick fog. I have witnessed a conversation in which a couple of soldiers were speaking of a current military situation and one of them had shared that he had just received Orders to go overseas. He was in office trying to get things taken care of. I heard the other soldier share that he was jealous because the one received Orders. Their comfort level is higher putting on their military uniform and defending our freedom rather than sitting in a classroom with their Converse tennis shoes. They did a handshake in a fashion that caused them to hit their shoulders and on they went. The one basically skipping out of here because he “gets to go defend.”
I do advocate for open communication with our students. But I am cautious of the topics being discussed and very mindful of differing opinions remaining open and respectful of the array of viewpoints from others.
As always, thank you for reading ~ Jody