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For Veterans with TBI and PTSD, Finding Your Best Path in College

For Veterans with TBI and PTSD, Finding Your Best Path in College

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[Adam Anicich] Hey guys, it's Adam, and one of the most complicating factors for folks with TBI is when they also have PTSD. Happens all the time, and it's not uncommon. But going back to school can be a real special challenge. So a lot of veterans will try and go back to school. They've already put so much effort into the executive functioning and the memory and the TBI symptoms. They're ready. They've gone to see the disability coordinator. They've—their professor knows they have traumatic brain injury. Maybe they're going to have—they've already arranged double time on their assignments and test taking. But what they don't realize—what they don't plan for is the post traumatic stress disorder aspect of it. And the fact that, hey, there are tons of people that are bustling in and out. The civilians don't care—they're making loud noises, they're chatting, there are tons of people in the room talking, and it can make a veteran feel really insecure, really uncomfortable. So one of the things that I recommend—some of the strategies I recommend are to get to the class early. Go ahead and get into the physical location early. That way you're going to get a seat that you like. You're going to get—maybe it's near the back, near the door. Maybe it's up front. Maybe it's in the corner. Whatever it is that really suits your fancy. Go ahead and take a look at that and consider trying to get that. Also over time it's going to get easier because the students—you're going to get to know the students in your class if you want to. And you're going to start learning their habits, their character traits and how they operate on a daily basis, which is going to have a normalizing effect on your experience. Another thing is that a lot of people don't think about or don't talk about is try taking some of your classes online. For veterans with PTSD, how great would it be if you don't have to interact with anybody, and you can just do it from home? Honestly, you're giving up some of the social interaction that's really valuable. You're giving up a lot of the in-person discussion that's going to build and consolidate the core concepts of what you're learning. But at the same time that might be beneficial to you because you can do it from your living room—from your couch. You can do it on your own time. There are a lot of benefits that you have to weigh against the lost opportunities of going to school in class. So take a look, think about those different alternatives, and find the path that works best for you. Thanks.

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Whether taking classes online or finding a seat in a lecture hall that makes you feel safe, Adam shares ideas for vets with TBI and PTSD returning to school.

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Hi, I’m Adam Anicich

I’m a former Army Sergeant, a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, a service-disabled vet, and someone with a brain injury. I’m here to share my story with you — along with some practical tips — and I hope that I can help you in your own journey of recovery.

Learn more about Adam >



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