Before starting at UB, Chanel spent three years with the New York Army National Guard, taking part in basic training in Fort Jackson and Fort Lee. She was deployed with the 1156 Engineer Company to Kuwait and Iraq. Chanel’s military experience not only prepared her for the unexpected obstacles of being a non-traditional student, but also provided great personal growth. “You really learn so much from those around you when you’re in the military,” says Chanel. “I’ve become a lot more patient, open-minded and much more grateful for what I have, after seeing the world.”
Through her participation in the UB Chapter of the Student Veterans of America, Chanel has found a niche to keep busy and give her common ground with fellow student veterans. “I was really nervous about being a non-traditional student, but the friends I’ve made so far have helped make the transition easier,” she says. “You find a camaraderie with people who have shared a similar experience. We aren’t all in the same place transition-wise, but each of us are helping each other to get where we want to be.”
“After being deployed, getting involved on campus has really helped me find a sense of belonging.”
Chanel credits her involvement on campus in helping transition to life as a student veteran. “Coming to college as a student veteran can be very isolating,” she says. UB Veteran Services offers support and programs specific to veterans, as well as assistance and unity throughout the transition process. Chanel’s advice: “Get involved, whether it’s through Veteran Services or something else on campus, you will quickly find your sense of belonging.” And she did just that. In her first year on campus, Chanel is serving as President of the Student Veterans of America and hasn’t looked back.