How I Found My Community at U-M as a Veteran

Guest student blogger, Richard Lin, shares his experience transferring to U-M.

By Richard Lin November 9, 2022
Veterans Week Guest Blogger Richard Lin

Right after high school, I knew I was not quite ready for college. I knew I wanted to do something different that also scratched an itch to be physically active. Needless to say, the military did that for me!

After my service, I wanted to pursue either technology or health care — both of which would benefit greatly from a college education. As a Michigan native with the rest of my family still residing here, I preferred to stay within the state. Applying was no picnic. Many phone calls and emails were made since there was a four-year gap between high school and college. There were some hurdles during the application process, like being able to find someone that was qualified to speak on my academic behalf. After contacting the resources offered at the University of Michigan, I was finally able to apply! Unfortunately, I was unable to start at U-M. My college experience started at Michigan State, and as much as I enjoyed my time there, I knew the time would come for me to transfer.

The first month as a transfer student was incredibly challenging. Meeting new people, when we were finally able to see each other in person, felt foreign after a year of being virtual. One day, I received an email about a Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) welcome dinner and saw this as my opportunity to meet other students with a similar background. This was the first time that I was able to connect with others beyond the classroom. Although the idea loomed in the back of my mind before, after the welcome event it became more apparent to me that others felt the same way about socializing with their peers.

Meeting others in this fashion allowed me to empathize with students in my classes. Now, speaking to other students in class is a whole lot less scary, understanding that it has been a while for many individuals to approach new people. It was definitely going to my first social event that made all of this possible.

Transitioning to both college life and to the University of Michigan was difficult, but we’re not alone in this. We just need to find the people that we connect with, wherever that may be on campus, and make the most of it!

Richard Lin
Richard Lin

Richard is a junior studying computer science through LSA. He served in the Marines as a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense specialist. Richard is also currently a Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) peer advisor at the University of Michigan. In his free time, he likes to exercise, play video games, and watch anime.