Profiles of student veterans: Noel Rabina

Samara Freemark
Reporter
Public Insight Network
Sgt. Noel Rabina has deployed to Iraq twice with the California National Guard. (Photo shared by Sgt. Noel Rabina)

Sgt. Noel Rabina has deployed to Iraq twice with the California National Guard during his studies. (Photo shared by Sgt. Noel Rabina)

Sgt. Noel Rabina has served in the California National Guard since 2001. He’s a student at California State University, Long Beach, where he studies electrical engineering.

Rabina wrote us about the difficulties of coming back from deployment and trying to reenter civilian society.

 – Samara Freemark

 


 

“I deployed twice to Iraq as a student and I was away for three semesters each time. Each time I came back, it was hard to get back the momentum I once had.

Since I was gone for a long time, my friends had moved on with their lives, got engaged and married, graduated. I had to come back and catch up with the rest of them.

Romantic interests I had before I left had faded when I came back. We’re not trained on how to catch up with a relationship on a pause after we get back. It can be a very lonely place.

Church that I had attended before I left I no longer attend because of their lack of understanding and support. They do more harm than good to me. Church is now the place I go to to seek refuge.”

>> What’s YOUR experience with education after deployment: Help reporters cover the student veteran experience

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Samara Freemark Reporter
Public Insight Network

Reporter/producer Samara Freemark joined the Public Insight Network after four years at Radio Diaries in New York City, where she spent her time helping ordinary people tell their extraordinary stories for NPR. In the process, she developed an unshakeable belief in the beauty and power of personal narrative.

Before Radio Diaries Samara worked as an environmental reporter, a posting that took her to sinking islands, Superfund sites, and literal snakepits – Burmese pythons, to be exact. She also churned out copy and tape in the newsroom of WUOM Ann Arbor. Before settling on a career in radio she tried out policy research, community organizing, and urban planning before deciding she preferred soundwaves to spreadsheets.