Your service in the military may have lasted for several years, and not only was it your career, it became your lifestyle. Once you’ve finished serving, you may be wondering what to do with your life. However, your new life in the private sector has just begun, and you have a wealth of opportunities that those who never served do not have. Take full advantage of these opportunities for a happier, brighter future.
Go Back to School
Scholarships for veterans provide educational opportunities you might not have had if you’d gone straight to college or technical school without serving in the military. Your tuition could be significantly reduced or even entirely covered because of your service, so if it’s your wish to get a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, or some kind of licensure or accreditation, do so with the financial assistance available to you.
The government provides some assistance in the form of aid such as the G.I. Bill. You may also qualify for privately sponsored scholarships provided by the school of your choice or by a military support organization. Contact a financial counselor at the school or theVeterans Affairs office for assistance.
Seek a Job
While serving in the military, chances are you had lots of on-the-job training that provided you with skills you can use to boost your resume. If you worked with computers while on active duty, you may be able to apply that skill in the private sector. Highlight all skills you gained in the service on your resume and in your job interviews, and you’ll set yourself apart from the competition.
Even without industry-specific skills to highlight, your service alone will provide a boost in your job search. Being a part of the military demonstrates an impressive work ethic, the ability to work with a team and the desire to always go the extra mile. If you need help finding a job, contact the Veterans Affairs office, which may be able to provide you with support.
Join a Veteran’s Support Group
You’re not the only one struggling with feelings of bewilderment in the face of lifestyle changes. Many of yourfellow veterans are experiencing exactly the same thing. See if there’s a veteran support group in your area. You’ll meet veterans young and old, who are struggling to adjust just like you. More experienced veterans can offer advice and support.
Meet with your group to make friends and have fun. Veterans groups offer a wide variety of opportunities for emotional support and for social activities. Knowing that you’re not alone can help you cope with life changes.
Whether you’re waiting to get hired in your new career, have downtime after work or between classes, fill your free time with constructive tasks and you won’t have time to miss the routine of your military life. Volunteering can give you purpose and make you feel as valued in your community as you truly are. When you were in the military, you were giving of yourself for others. Continue to do so at home to meet new people, make job networking connections, give back to others and to have fun.
There are all sorts of volunteering opportunities available. Perhaps you can act as a mentor and tutor children through the local library, serve food at a shelter or help build homes for the less fortunate. You couldalso continue to honor your service and the service of others by volunteering at a military hospital or veteran’s retirement home.
There are many excellent opportunities for veterans. No matter what you choose to do upon separation, your service in the military will open doors for you.
Image from Flickr’s Creative Commons
About the Author:Elijah Masoner is a contributing blogger and veteran. In his current career, he counsels students on their post-college opportunities at a liberal arts college career center.