Soldiers and Students: A Conversation About Stress
May 28, 2010
Lehman College Psychology Professor David Manier, along with student and Army veteran Mark Perez, explain the challenges that students face after returning from combat.
3 Minutes 29 Seconds
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I came to Lehman in-- 2000. I came-- having done a year at-- NYU as assistant professor there, visiting assistant professor. And before that, I was doing-- post-doctoral studies in Hawaii-- with the-- Department of Veteran's Affairs-- doing research related to post traumatic stress disorder.
People confuse it as to sort of the ordinary stresses that people face-- on the job or in their daily lives. But-- that's not actually-- a source of PTSD. PTSD is really, by definition, caused by something that's really out of the ordinary, such as-- a real threat to your life or, perhaps-- witnessing someone else-- die or becomes very seriously injured.
Since I worked with the infantry, and I heard their stories, and especially after returning back home in Kansas-- a lot of them were suffering from it. And they-- they wanted to-- to find counsel. They-- they wanted-- they were uncomfortable. I don't have PTSD. Although, I could imagine that feeling. In 1991, I was deployed to-- Iraq for Operation Desert Storm. And again, I was-- deployed to Iraq once more in Baghdad in 2007. And I was stationed there for over a year.
Certainly, for veterans coming back to college, it's-- not always an easy adjustment-- especially when they're-- returning in a population where-- a lot of the students-- have not had that military experience and-- and maybe could be younger than them-- than they are. So-- there could be a sense that their fellow students don't really understand what they've gone through. And maybe the professors also don't understand what they've gone through.
So, I wanted to feel the life of Lehman, and the students around me, and the people around me once again. I look forward to-- be a professor one day, hopefully. Coming back to college from combat-- after being deployed, after being in the military, after being disciplined, and taking orders, and carrying out missions, now I'm in school, and it's all on me. And it-- it's fine, but it's a different type of stress, a stress I actually welcome-- compared to the stress I had in Iraq. Here, I don't have to worry about-- dodging bullets (LAUGHTER). But I'm here dodging the F's from my grades.
My research, since I've come here, has-- shifted focus somewhat, more in the direction of looking at-- the kinds of stresses that-- college students face.
I think that's the main thing, is-- is the atmosphere of the campus. It-- it gives you a feeling of-- relaxation, you know, especially when you have to deal with-- classes, you know, and stress. So, yes-- Lehman is the place to be.
[END OF AUDIO]