Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Amy E Wells-Dolan

Second Advisor

Whitney Webb

Third Advisor

Ryan Neimeyer

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe the transition experience for student veterans enrolled in the three largest universities in Mississippi: Mississippi State University, The University of Mississippi, and The University of Southern Mississippi. Schlossberg’s Transition Theory was used as a lens for viewing the results of this study. This phenological approach will take a social constructivist worldview in order to describe the veteran transition experience. Data was collected using semi structured interviews, transcribed, and analyzed. Each veteran’s story was written in a narrative form to provide rich detail for better understanding of their experiences. The interview transcripts were analyzed and five themes emerged. Theme one, Trouble Relating to Other Students, discussed several reasons student veterans attribute to their not being able to relate to traditional-aged students. The second theme, Lasting Effects of Military Service, examined both the positive and negative effects of military service that have carried over to the classroom. Theme three, Financial Struggle, discussed the financial hardships most participants faced even when receiving military education benefits. The fourth, Types of Support, described the types of support student veterans depend on while they make their transition to the college setting. Finally, theme five, Institutional Interaction, discussed the interactions students had with the institution and how these interactions affected their transition. The themes were then applied to the framework of Schlossberg’s Transition Theory. The 4Ss of Situation, Self, Support, and Strategies were all discussed in terms of the data gathered in this student. This application helps to fill in the gaps in research where further exploration is needed in the realm of student veteran transition. These findings give a better understanding of the transition of student veterans from military service to college life. Implications for higher education were presented to be begin addressing some of the issues student veterans face. Further research is also suggested to expand the knowledge of how to support this special population.

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