DAV Transportation is pleased to offer the following information to those who have served our country:
Advice for Veterans Returning to College
Going back to school can be great for veterans who are ready to earn a degree and start a new career path. There are some unique challenges for veterans going back to school, including the difficulty of attending classes in-person if you’re an older student with additional responsibilities. Luckily, it’s easy to find universities that offer online classes for those who need more flexible learning opportunities.
Benefits of going back to school
If you’ve served in the military and are looking to expand your options, going back to school will be hugely beneficial for your future. Not only will it be empowering, but it will also allow you to broaden your prospective career opportunities.
When you’re considering your options, consider pursuing an online degree in a versatile field. For example, an online Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree opens up opportunities in every field from advertising to zoology. Upon completion of an IT degree, you will find yourself in demand even in a competitive market because of the skills, knowledge, and certifications you’ve gained.
If IT isn’t compelling, consider a degree in communications. There are plenty of jobs that you can get with a communications degree, whether it’s working in marketing or public relations.
Engineering is also another great field to pursue as a veteran; if you’re technically-minded, you could thrive as an engineer. Engineers also typically find work easily, and there are plenty of different types of engineering jobs out there depending on your interests.
If you’re taking classes online, keep in mind that a strong and reliable internet connection is a must-have. The last thing you want is for service to lag during lectures, or drop out when you’re trying to complete your assignments.
Adjusting to civilian life
Being in a classroom again will be very different from military life, and may take some adjustments. Getting used to civilian life can pose challenges, so be sure to consider ways to cope as you reintegrate back into “normal” life.
Many veterans carry some trauma, which is a major contributor to mental health. Returning to school if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult, so remember to keep tabs on your well-being if your classes become stressful.
Be sure to connect with other veterans, either through school groups or online. Your shared experiences will allow you to support one another through the challenging aspects of being back in civilian life, and you’ll be able to find friends who can offer guidance if you need help.
Make a game plan
Once you’ve made up your mind to return to school, put together a game plan for yourself. While it’s possible to jump straight into classes online, it’s far better to create a road map for your education.
First, make a career plan. Think about your dream job, and then work backward to determine what steps are necessary to get there. Figure what type of degree would best set you up to get that job, and consider applying to internships to get real-world experience as you learn. Then, talk to a career counselor who can help guide you and provide resources for achieving your end-goal.
Remember the power of networking: your professors and others at your school can help connect you to potential internships or job opportunities and will serve as great mentors for you. Be sure to join professional networks, and attend networking events as often as possible to broaden your circle. Take time to form genuine relationships with people in your field; you’ll learn from them and they’ll appreciate your friendship and interest.
Keep in mind that as you pursue your career, hiring veterans is often incentivized as well, so you can often find employers who will give you special consideration.
Returning to school can be hard for many, but veterans also have to negotiate the adjustments of returning to civilian life. If you experience PTSD, this can be even more difficult. Take care of your mental health by reaching out to others for support. Do some research and find a career path that interests you, and consider online education to help give you flexibility.
Connect with DAV Transportation for more information and ideas that will help you prosper, as well as for rides to appointments and other transportation needs.