Anyone who’s served in the military and has returned to civilian life understands the difficulties of transition – in addition to stabilizing emotionally from the intense, extraordinary life of a solider, you need to have a stable job, income, and perhaps even go back to school.
Civilian life isn’t as simple as military life.
That being said, there are a multitude of programs designed to help soldiers, grunts, medics, non-combatants, and any other military personnel have a smooth integration back into civilian society. If you’ve ever been worried about receiving income, unemployment, or getting a degree after the military, you’re not alone. Here are some excellent tips on how to re-integrate back into society and set yourself up for a new, rewarding career.
1. Going Back to School
Whether you’re an officer with a degree or without one, a huge percentage of discharged military personnel decide to go back to school at some point to get an additional degree in another field. More and more veterans are enrolling in online degree programs instead of brick-and-mortar colleges, because becoming a full-time student just isn’t feasible when supporting a family and working throughout the week. Bryantstratton.edu is just one of the online degree programs which allow its students to enroll in varied courses, ranging from Criminal Justice to Information Technology.
If you have the resources and availability to attend a college or university in person, many veterans have found this to be an excellent next step after returning from service. Joining an environment that most American citizens are familiar with makes integrating with people and society a little easier, .
Still, online degrees are an excellent alternative. Many veterans have children and families to feed, and simply don’t have the time to spend 4-8 hours every weekday in class. Many veterans prefer online degrees because it allows them to work through the day and spend time with the family at night while they take their classes on the computer. It’s up to you to decide what works best for you.
2. Finding a Job/Applying for Unemployment
Unfortunately, both veterans and civilians alike are in the difficult situation of finding a job in America’s current economy. Many veterans have felt the reality of being unable to find meaningful jobs that pay the bills. As such, the government has provided veterans special unemployment opportunities and financial aid while they look for jobs.
A large number of veterans have met this struggle and came through on the other side. It seems ridiculous, but many veterans have preferred the military life to the civilian alternative because the military always has jobs to give. With the faltering economy, everyone (including veterans) is having a hard time finding a decent job. If you’ve been struggling with this reality after you’ve been discharged, you’re not alone. Contact your state or military center nearby for more information on how to apply for unemployment.
Again, studying for a degree in school can be an excellent option for offsetting the bills – most schools offer extensive financial aid and support, especially for veterans. Working while going to school isn’t just for young college students; many veterans are taking the opportunity to further their education while supporting a family.
3. Developing Healthy Relationships Outside the Military
Easier said than done, many veterans have had difficult times integrating back into old friendships and patterns with people. However, this issue isn’t as complicated as it may seem.
What many veterans have found to be enormously helpful is counseling, therapy, or just being around civilians. The problems and dangers of war aren’t found in much of civilian life, and countless military personnel have found answers in talking to others. Trained counselors, specializing in the difficult transition into civilian society, are at your disposal.
For other veterans, the answer might be in working in places with lots of people. Retail, business, manual labor – all these avenues and more could be an enormous help during your transition into civilian life.
Overall, remember that you have an incredible opportunity in your lap. Many businesses and companies seek out veterans and military personnel because of their extensive training, courage, and experience not available in civilian life. Going back to school and working towards another degree is an excellent next step. Look into whether or not you qualify for unemployment during your job search; most importantly, share your transition with others.
Making the change from the military to civilian can be difficult, but with the right steps and attitude you can start your journey to the incredible new life you’ve been looking for.