Profiles of student veterans: Kristel Vear

Samara Freemark
Reporter
Public Insight Network
Kristel Vear

Sgt. Kristel Vear

We’ve been asking student veterans about their transitions from combat to the classroom: what’s been tough, what’s been easy and how the Post-9/11 GI Bill has been working out for them.

Sgt. Kristel Vear enlisted in the Army right after high school, and served until she was medically retired in 2011. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 and Iraq in 2006. Vear is currently attending Glendale Community College in California.

 – Samara Freemark

“The GI Bill was a huge factor in my attending school.

If the current GI Bill wasn’t an option, I would be one of the many veterans who are currently unemployed or struggling with a low-income job. The GI Bill is helping me build a future in work and in life.”

Vear said that mental health issues have sometimes made school difficult, but that the skills she learned in the military have helped her academically. 

“I had to deal with health issues, PTSD, trying to integrate socially and a bit financially.

It’s been hard, and I still feel like I’m trying to integrate into society even though it has been almost two years since I left the Army.

But I’m doing well in school; I’m making it work. By being in the armed forces I believe I’m better organized; I deal well under pressure, I’m a team player and I have life experiences that the younger student body has not experienced, which gives me different views and 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.