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You have decided to go back to college after being in the military and you are worrying about being able to succeed in college. You have some anxiety going back to school and being a student again. Needing to study again and deciding on a degree. This is normal and it is normal to have some anxiety.

Succeeding in College Academically

First off if you have never been good at school and just worrying about able to keep up. Its okay calm down, take a breath and just understand you will need to put in the work to succeed in college. Give yourself some credit and understand you probably have done some pretty hard things in the military, and now you are just dealing with college stuff. Understand a lot of idiots graduate college every year, some with massive debt. Once you see some of the students you will understand and think well okay, I got this, and it won’t be as hard as you are making it out to be.

Another thing to remember is that you are getting a college education debt free and you actually being paid to go to school. But understand if you are really worried or just want to succeed in college with A’s its doable. You will just need to put in the work and actually study.

Key to Succeeding In College

A big key in succeeding in college is a getting a degree that aligns with what you want to do in life. Because let me tell you it is horrible when you hear a veteran run out of their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits because they kept switching up their degrees/major. So give it some serious thought which degree you want as it is important. Engineering, business, medicine, computer science, whatever you are interested in and would want to do.

Another horrible thing to see is a veteran getting their degree that is not very marketable and they struggle to get a job afterwards. It’s like sometimes these veterans just don’t think long term. If you are going to get a degree in a field that has few job opportunities don’t complain if you can’t get a job afterwards because well that was the risk with that particular degree. But even if you decide to pursue a degree like that, then you should ensure you do everything you can to increase the likelihood of getting a job afterwards. Even for jobs with high demand it is always a good idea to get internships during college at least once during your college career. Internships do help you stand out and usually lead to a with that company, usually.

A reminder that with the Post 9/11 GI Bill you have 36 months of educational benefits. If you did some college during your time in the military you may be able to get a master’s degree, depending on the amount of credits you already have. And if a graduate degree is what you want. I’m just saying it is possible. This is just a thought. But the Post 9/11 GI Bill is something great that can really help you, so don’t take it for granted.

Conclusion

This post is was very broad in how to succeed in college. Another post will be up on how to study better that gets results. It is how I graduated with a 3.7 GPA, so I think it works. So it is possible to succeed in college after the military. Others had done it and so can you.

In another post I will also talk about Vocational Rehab which can extend educational benefits somewhat to help you obtain a job if you have a 10% disability rating.

But this post was just to remind and soothe those anxious thoughts about going back to college. Just put in the work, be smart about how you do things, and don’t mess this opportunity up.

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Succeed In College After Military
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You are finally getting out, you are excited to EAS and you know you will be successful in the civilian world. You know what you want and are going to go after it. Love hearing this by the way! However, understand that you will need to expect change and keep an open mind to be be successful. Um, what? You may be thinking this. Like, what are you talking about and why would I need to expect change and keep an open mind. Why should veterans expect any sort of change?

Environment Change

For one your entire environment will change. Your work, life, and even social life is going to change. Your current environment and the one you have had for however long you have been in the military has been a military environment. So once you get out you will most likely not be in a military environment anymore. Unless you still work in some way with the military or live near a military base. Remember not everyone has been in the military and thinks like someone in the military would. So you need to keep an open mind and expect change when you get out. People will think different than you are used to. Its going to be different so expect it and keep an open mind to how civilians do things work wise and even in communication. For example, say “tracking or you don’t “rate” that and you will soon understand civilians don’t understand those words. And really how would they?

What to Expect?

So don’t be so surprised and don’t get frustrated when you experience this culture shock. You may not be able to talk and in some ways act like you did in the military in the civilian world. Another example, cursing in the military is more welcomed, but in the civilian side it is not. Haha so just again expect change and be open minded to your new environment. With this being said of expecting change and keeping an open mind also be ready for you to change and adapt in ways too. There are many positive aspects you have gained in the military, but some may not carry over in the civilian world. So keep the good things you have learned and leave the bad things.

Conclusion

There is a lot of things when you get out will be a culture shock. But an inability to change and to be close minded will cause you problems and unneeded stress. This is one thing I hate to see and also frustrates me. It is frustrating to see a veteran expecting things to be the same as it was in the military. Its foolish and really you will need to adapt. You may think of this wont be me or be asking what are you talking about. Expecting things like people not respecting you as much as when you were in leadership position like you were in the military, expecting the military to figure out your housing, expecting civilians to behave the way people in the military do, or expecting you can yell at others. So veterans expect change.

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Veterans Expect Change

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Thinking of getting out because you hate the leaders in the military? You probably think the leaders you have are the worst and that civilian leaders could not possibly be this bad. It makes sense you with a bad leader this means lots of fuck, fuck games and just needing to do what they say. Blaming our leaders for being so bad is just another thing we complain about. But let me break down this dream or idea of civilian leaders being so much better. Get ready for dose of a hard truth!

Military Leaders

Lets be honest for a moment and discuss military leaders. Not all of them are bad leaders, and when you have a good leader it is pretty great. However, you can probably agree it is very easy to differentiate a good leader from a bad leader. You can usually tell when you first meet them. Cue in unneeded stress and just an overall bad time if you get a bad leader. What makes having a bad leader so crappy is that they can pretty much make you hate life. If a leader wands to mess with you or if you are on the bad side of one…. Well good luck.

Military Leaders Compared to Civilian Leaders

Now it’s understandable to think by getting out of the military you can get away from bad leaders. But here comes the dose of a hard truth. If you really think about it, military leaders for the most part are better leaders than civilian leaders. Just think about the training that is shoved down our throats about leadership. MarineNet courses, NCO course, SNCO courses, and just all the training. You may think they do not help, and when you think about it, it’s almost surprising that they can be bad leaders in the military with such an emphasis on being leader. But civilians do not get any of this and it takes them much longer to be in leadership positions compared to those in the military. Think about it a college grad will be 21-22 when they graduate and then get an entry level job. If you joined the military at 18, by 21-22 you are probably already in some type of leadership position. So let’s be logical here and honest, that for the most part on leadership military members are for the most part better. Its just hard for us to admit it because if/when you have a bad leader in the military, you life can just suck so much.

Civilian Leaders

I will speak from experience here, but from the several jobs I have had on the civilian side I have seen many different leaders on the civilian side. What I will say next will surprise you, but I really believe the worst military leader you have had is still a better leader than most leaders on the civilian side. I know, I know it sounds odd, and even more so to think about. But I think it’s a pretty accurate statement. Some (many) civilian leaders don’t really know what they are doing, and trust me when you get out you will know what I am talking about. Also you have to remember many jobs are 9-5 jobs where at 5 its done. When you are in the military its not really like that because if something needs to get done well it needs to get done. Plus there is a bigger emphasis on leadership in the military. On the civilian side yes leadership is important and sought after, but there is not as much emphasis on it, not nearly as in the military. Am I saying that all civilian leaders are trash? No, some are good. Just like they are also great leaders in the military and also some bad that will make you hate your life. Just remember, don’t think all civilian leaders are somehow better than military leaders. You probably just have a garbage leader at the moment.

Conclusion

Think about you and how you are as a leader. If you are reading this you have probably been in the military for a while now. You have seen many leaders already, and probably are a leader now. Do you really think many civilian leaders will be as good as you when it comes to leadership? Probably not.

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Check out our other posts: TRS Problems and Meritorious Boards Actually Help For Job Interviews

Think Military Leaders are Bad Wait For Civilian Leaders
Think Military Leaders are Bad Wait For Civilian Leaders
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If you have ever been on a board either for a meritorious board, NCO of the Quarter, or any other you will be surprised that boards actually help in job interviews. Surprised? I sure was once I got out and saw the similarities between the two. So before you start thinking they are stupid and just a military thing hear me out. However, I completely understand why most people just hate them, I certainly did. For one, you usually get placed on the board for being good at your job, so you are essentially tasked with more work just because you are dong a good job. Boards are stressful, bring on anxiety, and are situations where you can make yourself look like an idiot in front of higher ups. I’m speaking from experience here.

Selected for a Board- Job Interview
When you find out you have been selected to compete on a board.

But let me tell you that preparing for a board is very similar to how to be prepare for a job interview. The preparation you would do for a board is essentially the same you would to have a successful job interview.

Job Interviews

Once you get out and you start going on job interviews you will understand how boards help for job interviews. The same way you would prepare yourself to be successful in a board is the same preparation you do to be successful for a job interview. When you think about it being on a board comes down to how you present yourself, preparation, which leads to confidence. A good blueprint to win a board is to be loud, not timid (making your presence known), preparing yourself (doing mock boards before the actual board, prepared answers to common questions, strategies to answer questions that are unexpected). *Hint repeat the question back to give you some time to think of a response

These all things you can do for a job interview too. I would say being loud however can be taken down a notch though. The same preparation would work well in job interviews. Again I am speaking from experience here.

Preparing for Job Interviews/Boards

Just like when you prepare for a board you can do the same for a job interview. Uniform squared away/ have your clothes for your job interview squared away. Study knowledge questions/ understand the job you are applying for. Have answers to what they will most likely ask, rehearse them as odd as that might sound. It pays off since you will sound confident and not timid like the majority of the applicants who will stumble in answering this type of question.

Preparing for questions I would say is a great idea. You will most likely be asked questions that you know will be asked. For example, what makes you a good fit for this job? How would you handle a bad customer? Name a time that you struggled at your job, and what how did you handle it? What’s your biggest accomplishment? These and obviously there are other questions you can safely assume have a high probability of being asked. Have your answers to these to appear prepared? Especially if there is something you have to explain, like an NJP, DUI, or something like that. This preparation makes you stand out and gives you confidence that any employer would want.  

Conclusion

So, if you ever go on a board, or have already been on one know that it’s a not wasted time. All the things that you do to prepare for a board can translate to the civilian world. The same way you prepare for a board is the same way you can prepare for a job interview. The way you present yourself, your preparation, and your confidence will separate you from other candidates to increase your chances of actually getting the job. I understand complaining when you are on a board, I certainly did. Heck, I lost three boards, until I started winning, so I definitely didn’t like them. Just keep in mind when you are preparing for a board that there are not a waste of time and once you start going to job interviews, they will be easier for you. Again, speaking from experience here.  

Feel free to comment below about anything in the post. Also if you want to be aware when new posts are up, subscribe at the bottom. If you about to get out I have posted other articles that would be helpful to you simply click on the link to open a new tab. EAS Planning and TRS Problems.

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TRS – Transition Readiness Seminar, it sounds like a good idea and it certainly means well, but there are some TRS problems that you should be aware of when you go. Let me start off by saying that it does have many benefits that help ease the process of getting out. However, it fails to address a big thing. You will get a lot of information during this week, information overload really, but the main problem is your mindset needs to shift. Additionally, if you haven’t started making plans once you get out, you will start to think, worry, and stress about all the plans you will need to make. I say this because it happened to me, and most likely this also happens to many others.

Main TRS Problems

I believe there is one main problem with the TRS that should be addressed. That problem is that you are still in that military mindset. It’s the way your mind thinks, works, and it’s what your mindset has been for several years. When I went to TRS I was not aware of all the things that I needed to figure out once I got out. I felt overwhelmed by it all really. I was overwhelmed by all the choices and all the variables of exiting the military. You have to remember when you are in the military everything is really taken care of for you regarding your housing, medical, dental, and income. Especially if you came into the military like I did and that in your adult life all you know is a military life. You have to understand to shift some of your mindset from just having a military mindset to a more open one to accept changes. Once you EAS changes will occur and that is okay, but don’t be stubborn and stick with your military ways. Also take your pride away and ask questions if you have them too.

Take TRS Seriously

It would not be realistic if I did not mention how many of you think that this week will be an easy week where you can drift off. So, I have to say this, Take it seriously”. The information given is actually useful. I will admit when I did TRS I did not take it seriously as I should have, mostly because it was a lot of information at once for me, and the realities of getting out didn’t really hit me. But taking it seriously will help you in the future once you get out. It is your future and just take it seriously, so you are at least aware of what the instructors are telling you. Regarding budgeting, resumes, health insurance, etc.

How I Would Do TRS Over Again

In a previous post I write about how the best thing I wished I had done, is to setup a vision for my life after the military, seeing five years ahead. I would have graduated a year earlier and I would have positioned myself better in what I want.

So if I had to do TRS again, to be better prepared and avoid unnecessary stress I would have done this.

I’m a fan of simple tools/processes that are effective. I would have made a list of all the things I would need to get done and plan out when I would want them completed by. Simple as that. This would have kept me from stressing myself out and from going crazy from all the things I need to complete. Simply a to do list and a planner to give myself time to complete what I needed to complete and be better prepared once I got out.

Its simple, but creating a To Do List and having a planner will help.

Here are some things you will need to complete for example:

– Housing

            Where and what type

– Health Insurance

            Signing up for VA Healthcare (when)

– Decision to go to school or enter workforce immediately (or both)

– Budgeting

– Resume

– What companies to apply for

– Vision for myself

These are things to consider and there are probably more things to add to your list that need to be taken care of. It can feel overwhelming, but I will honestly say if I just made a to do list and used a planner it would have been much easier and less stressful. I wouldn’t wait to the end to decide on all of these things like I pretty much did.

Conclusion

Its okay to feel overwhelmed by TRS as your life will inevitable change. Just remember when you go to TRS to shift your mindset from solely a military one to one that is more open and understanding of the new changes that will be happening in your life. A good idea and one that I would recommend too is making a to do list and having a planner to getting yourself prepared. I believe this will help avoid TRS problems.

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