After graduating high school, Cristie Remmel joined the Navy as a hospital corpsman. She attended training at Camp Pendleton in California, before serving alongside the Marines as a combat medic with a field Marine force unit. Remmel deployed to the Persian Gulf for six months. She served on active duty from 1987 to 1991. While serving, she was often known as “Doc Remmel.”
“The Marines taught me perseverance, dedication, humility, passion and commitment,” Remmel said. “They taught me all of the skills I’ve continued to use over and over again no matter what comes my way.”
After leaving the service, Remmel became a stay-at-home mom and received a bachelor’s degree in graphic design as well as a master’s degree in fine arts. She then found her way into serving the Veteran community.
From Combat to Campus
No matter how many active-duty days you have seen, the prospect of going back to school as an adult and a veteran may be one of the most frightening challenges you’ve ever faced. But, it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. The Dallas-Fort Worth Veterans Chamber of Commerce wants all of our veterans to succeed. With this in mind, today’s post is aimed at those who wish to go back to school before owning or operating a new business.
It Starts With Strategy
In the military, you learned all about strategy. It’s time to take that training and translate it into your education. Start by gathering as much information as you can about your G.I. Bill and other education benefits. The US Department of Veterans Affairs shares all you need to know about these, along with tips, links, and resources on how to do additional research and manage your education benefits. (If your veteran benefits don’t cover all of your tuition, you may need help funding the balance of your education. You may be eligible for scholarships depending on your hobbies, interests, or nationality)
The next step in your strategic move is to determine what degree to pursue. Many veterans choose law enforcement, but if you prefer to be in a more business-like environment, consider jumping headfirst into your MBA. Earning your MBA can open up many professional opportunities as you will graduate with skills in research and statistics, marketing, and corporate finance. You may find a new career as anything from a facilities manager to an operations director or GM. You can go to school online as you acclimate to work and family as a civilian.
Once you have decided on a degree path, it’s time to develop good study habits. Fortunately, you are already used to keeping a strict schedule and tight regimen. Keep your military training at the front of your mind here, and make sure to set a schedule to ensure that you have adequate time to devote to your studies.
More than just time for study, you have to make time for yourself and for your basic needs. If you start to feel overwhelmed, which is particularly prevalent among those who are also working and raising a family while going back to school, Mental Health America suggests going for a walk or stepping away from your responsibilities for a moment. You can also try and schedule your working hours so that you have time to eat dinner or visit with your family and friends before hitting the books.
Keeping Yourself Well
Although we previously mentioned managing stress, something that many veterans don’t consider is how previous trauma can rear its ugly head when going back to school. Although, on the surface, going back to school seems like a mundane event. The reality is that you can begin to feel the same type of anxiety that you felt during combat, and you have to take care of your mental and physical health. Task & Purpose recommends enrolling with your local VA and being a self-advocate as it pertains to school. Make sure that both the administration and your professors understand that you are a veteran recovering from a physical or emotional injury. Remember, your college can’t discriminate against you based on a disability, but you may be required to show proof of need if you require accommodations, such as additional time to complete assignments.
Going back to school is intimidating, there’s no doubt about that. But, you have faced greater challenges. Earning your degree now may not be easy, but this is one hurdle that will make it much easier to earn an income and care for your family as a civilian.
If you want to start networking now, consider volunteering at the Dallas-Fort Worth Veterans Chamber of Commerce. The organization is always looking for people to help with maintenance, videography, graphic design, and other basic business functions.