I’m one step closer to reaching my educational goal, a goal I have been working so hard to accomplish. I had began my educational studies after taking a much needed break after separating from the military and today I continue to study.The only difference is that what I’m studying today is allowing me to specialize in the field I would enjoy to work in for the rest of my life.
When I served in the military I decided to choose Security Forces (military police) as my career of choice, after I was told by the recruiter at MEPS, that Fire Fighting had no more openings. Security Forces had it’s ups and downs like any job, ups when we were being called on a serious incident (bar fights at the Enlisted Club were fun) and downs when I would sit there monitoring an alarm system for hours.
Though if I hadn’t experienced that career field I may not have been where I am today, which is working on a Master’s degree to become a school guidance counselor. I had just finished my 1st semester and it went better than ever, straight A’s. As a student back in High School, grades really had no meaning to me, other than I needed them to graduate and homework, “whatever I’ll do it tomorrow”.
Today at a ripe age of 28 and having a set goal to accomplish, I take school very seriously and really enjoy what I’m learning now, since this is more specialized classes strictly pertaining to school guidance counseling. My 2nd semester in my Master’s program will now place me in a High School setting, where I will be observing a school guidance counselor for 100 semester hours.My 3rd and 4th semesters is when I will be interning (actually now doing the job with a supervisor) for 300 hours for both semesters.
It was a great feeling walking into the school where I will be observing, knowing eventually this will be my everyday job in the future. It has been a bit of a tough road these past years, because while working towards switching my career field in the civilian world and having to go through college to accomplish that, I see my friends who I grew up with having to just work and make good money allowing them to move on with their lives.
However one thing is for sure, what I have they don’t have. Almost all of my college tuition has been paid for, and this has been the greatest help to me and I know for all Veteran’s. Numerous times my friends have stated to me, if I didn’t put that GI money to use, they would do awful things to me (jokingly), because some of my friends had to pay for all of their schooling and now have big school loans to pay back.
I realized one other thing when I separated, I had a chance to change my career field and do something different, something more geared to the person that I am and so I took advantage of that. while putting my life a little bit on hold, I can now focus on school.
So I say to all Veterans who read this and are thinking whether or not to attend college to make a change in the career field, though you may have to hold off on some plans you had in life, you have an opportunity with the education benefits we are given today to make a change. Later on in life you find yourself saying “I should have done it back then”.
Though my college years still have a year and a half to go, I feel great about what I have accomplished and what I’m about to accomplish in the future. So if your thinking also about changing your career field, now that you are out of the military, I say give it a chance and prepare to work hard, but be rewarded in the end when you receive that degree in your hand because it is such a great achievement.
I’ll be updating all about my last 3 semesters, in the hopes to help others get a glimpse of what it may be like changing career fields. I’m going from a person who wore a uniform carrying a weapon performing security, to now molding into a person who will be wearing casual clothes and speaking to students about their education and life goals.
Check out this video below of Cameron Baker, a Veteran attending Columbia University and who also is coping with PTSD. Don’t let PTSD deter you from school, he’s not.