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Zelda Olesen poses for photo on Browning lawn

Zelda Olesen

“I feel more comfortable (at the Military Student Center), for sure. I’m still trying to learn all the stuff; it takes time for me to get out of my comfort zone.”
Major: General studies with minors in photography and studio art
Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina

Zelda Olesen calls herself a “stay-at-home, go-to-school” mom.

Just from that job description, you might know the anxiety she experiences. But the anxiety that ripples through her when her ceramics teacher meanders around the class – eventually circling behind her – didn’t come from chasing toddlers or taking tests.

Related:

Students walk through Art and Design building.
APSU's Art and Design building opened for classes in Spring 2017. 

Olesen served with the 101st Airborne Division for four years, deploying to Iraq for 12 months in 2005-06. She left the Army in 2007 to raise her children, Awbrey, now 6, and Daniel, 10.

But she also left the Army with post-traumatic stress disorder. The anxiety of it has challenged her since she entered APSU in spring 2017.

“I’m used to structure, and it’s hard to see sometimes some stuff that just gets, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it,’” Olesen said.

Services at Austin Peay help her cope. She uses the Office of Disability Services and the Military Student Center.

“I feel more comfortable there, for sure,” she said. “I’m still trying to learn all the stuff; it takes time for me to get out of my comfort zone.”