Salute To Service: Vitor Finatto
Nov. 11, 2020
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney
This November, as Sam Houston State University observes Veterans Day, meet the campus vets that have exemplified the university motto, “The measure of a Life is its Service,” in our Salute to Service Series.
Vitor Finatto, 35
Finatto is a graduate student studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a United States Army veteran. During his time in active duty, he was classified as a specialist (SPC) and worked as a motor transport operator (88M). Finatto was stationed in Fort Campbell, KY, and deployed to support Operation Enduring Freedom in 2014.
T@S: Reason for coming to SHSU?
VF: SHSU has one of the top programs for my field.
T@S: How do you feel about veterans being considered a minority group on campus?
VF: Nothing out of the ordinary. Veterans are a minority group on and off campus.
T@S: Current jobs or activities?
VF: I’m currently a full-time student. For my last semesters (spring/summer ’21), I’ll be taking classes as well as interning at a behavioral health clinic.
T@S: What do you want your civilian peers to know about your service?
VF: I just want them to know that it’s normal to have questions about someone’s military service, and I’m okay with them asking me about mine. Sometimes veterans don’t get into much detail about their experiences. Remember to just be tactful, read the room, and use common sense before trying to push someone to talk.
T@S: How has your service history impacted your academic life?
VF: Some skills that we develop in the military are definitely helpful in academia, such as attention to detail, leadership, and the ability to work in groups. Also, quick tips: make a copy of everything, be early (with appointments, classes, duo dates, applications, etc), be respectful, answer just what the question asked, read the syllabus and follow the instructions/rubrics.
T@S: How easy/difficult was your transition from the military into an academic setting?
VF: It was not extremely hard but was not without its bumps either. You have to find a balance between your student role and the roles you may have in your private life and work. Sometimes you’ll be the only 30 something-year-old in a class full of 19/20-year-olds, who can be hard to relate to from time to time. On the positive side, your experiences will help you throughout your academic career. You will be able to conceptualize problems better, to relate classroom information to real life scenarios, and you’ll bring a different perspective to every class. Once I found out that I could accomplish that, and that my experiences were valued, my academic career became more manageable and I started to accomplish bigger things.
T@S: Future goals?
VF: My short-term goals are to finish my internship, graduate, get my LPC Associate license and find employment. Before I’m allowed to work independently (full LPC license), I need to acquire 3000 hours under supervision, so I still have a few years ahead of me. On the long term, I’m considering a Ph.D.
T@S: Anything that you would like to say about your time serving?
VF: It was a great time in my life! I had bad experiences and good experiences, and I learned a lot from my peers and superiors. I believe that I grew a lot during my time in service and made good friends. Most importantly, it was because of my time in service and what I got to see and experienced while I was in active duty, that helped me chose my current path. My goal as a counselor is to work with the veteran population. I guess that’s my way to continue serving; by helping those currently serving, other veterans, and their families.
T@S: What does, “The measure of a Life is its Service” mean to you?
VF: It means do your best to contribute to society. It doesn’t matter your field or how/what you do, you can always contribute to society and, in the end, make your life meaningful.
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