After tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne, you would figure that Laura Freeman of Nashville would be ready for anything. But arriving at college provided some anxiety for the Army mechanic.
“I was worried. I thought that everyone would be so much younger than me,” she said. “It was not as bad as I thought. Ken was a huge help. He made things a lot easier. Having been in the military himself, he had a good understanding.”
Ken Hanson is the Veteran Affairs coordinator at Vol State. He works with student veterans to help them through the VA benefits process and their college career.
Laura fractured her hip in Iraq. No matter how she tried, the ailment only got worse. She eventually had a medical retirement. Vol State offers a range of academic options for students, but many veterans know exactly what they want to do.
“I’m going to try to transfer to Cornell or Tufts,” Freeman said. “I’m going to eventually become a veterinarian.”
Those are two of the top veterinary programs in the nation. Laura knows from her Army career that learning is something she can do well.
“I was in the first graduating class of the Eagle Language Training Center. I speak Pashtun. It’s one of the dominant languages used in Eastern Afghanistan.”
Laura is taking biology, chemistry and many of the other pre-medical foundation courses that also apply to pre-veterinary students. She stresses that while college is different, there are some things similar to the military.
“It was comforting, actually, being back in the swing of things with a set schedule. It reminds me of being in the Army.”
For more information about Veterans Affairs at Vol State visit www.volstate.edu/veterans