Military Spouse Education, VERY Important

It is very important that every gets the opportunity to take advantage of college! Following a dream to obtain a higher education is a marvelous and rewarding experience. However it can be difficult for a military spouse who PCS’s with her husband (I can certainly attest to that), it is not impossible. Don’t be weighed down or depressed about it. In fact, it’s easier than you think! Look at me on May 6, 2011 I will be an official Master’s Degree recipient from UNC-Pembroke. Now granted I was a semester away 11 years ago when I got married to my lovely husband! It only took me 2 and half years to get my Master’s and I am going to pursue my PhD in the next year. (I do need a break). The picture is my hood that I EARNED from UNCP, I can’t wait to wear this regalia!!! I am so proud of  that thing, I am going to wear it to bed!

I read somewhere that the regular salary difference between someone with a four-year degree and a person with a high school diploma is roughly $20,000? A degree can bring job opportunities that otherwise would not be available.
Many spouses have asked me: 
Where do I start to look for colleges? Well what do you want to do with your career?
Where can I find money for school? Check out FAFSA, and many military associations
Will my credits transfer if I move? Depends, you have to ask your college.

So I have researched around the web and I have found that are helpful! Two sites

DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) website at www.dantes.doded.mil. Click on the blue button on the left top that reads Counselor Support Programs and then click on the pop-up menu selection that reads “Directory of Education Centers.” 
Also you need to visit your military base’s Family Center, Education Center, and the financial aid office at the school you want to attend for more information on financial assistance. Visit the U.S. Department of Education FREE Application for Federal Student Aid website www.fafsa.ed.gov to apply for federal grants and loans. Now I used up all my free money for my undergrad but I did get some assistance with my grad school, but for a majority I took out loans.

So I know I have talked about Careers before but…

Ok so you all know for about a month now there has been a hiring freeze in the Federal Government. Or maybe you didn’t know, there is a HIRING FREEZE in the Federal Government. I am working in the federal government as an intern, and looking for a job when I graduate.

Which is terrible for me because I am looking for a job not necessary a job but a career. When I was in my early 20s I decided to take the family route, instead of pursuing my career. It wasn’t a hard decision, I met my husband, I fell head over heels in love with him and was like we can make anything work, just as long as we have each other! HA HA so not saying I regret that decision, I should have not waited so long to go back to graduate school.

Here I am in my early 30s and I am at this road again in my life, where I am about to graduate with no job perspectives what so ever! NONE, for one the hiring freeze is severely affecting my ability to get a job. (2) Not having a competitive criteria in the federal hiring is another, I can be qualified out the wazoo but if I don’t have a special appointing authority (already in the system, a milspouse with EX orders 13473 or 12721, it won’t help me a spouse who has been stationed at Bragg since 2006, a veteran, or disabled veteran) I can’t get a job.

There are no jobs even in Fayetteville, and I am back to where I started 10 years ago, at square one, which makes me think I am the smartest un-employed person ever. Now I can get volunteer positions, but a paying position uhhh…no one wants to pay me a salary! Go figure I don’t even ask for insurance or benefits I ask for just a salary..

I have been asked what can America do for military families…

Well my honest answer is pray, be Patriotic, and be Proud to be an American or living in the US. We owe each day of safety and liberty that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our heroic service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide never-ending support.
During April, May and November we celebrate the outstanding contributions of our military families, and we reaffirm our commitments to these selfless individuals who exemplify the highest principles of our nation. Just as we hold a revered trust to the astonishing Americans willing to lay down their lives to protect us all, there is also a need of commitment to support and engage our military families.
In years past, you could wrap up a care package and mail it to “Any Service Member” for the holidays, but with increased mail restrictions, the Pentagon and USPS is asking people to help through financial contributions, letter-writing and e-mail, purchasing authorized pre-made care packages, or volunteering time through non-profits.  You can go to http://www.ourmilitary.mil and see what you can do.
The holidays in November and December, many military families have children and they need help obtaining toys for their child’s Christmas. Others have need for food and other clothes. With their spouses overseas and lowered income many are in desperate straights. They need sponsors to help these families on a one on one basis and some families are even to proud to ask for help from anyone.
Military families sometimes find that local people may be hesitant to build friendships with them because the locals know the military families will not be living there very long. If military families come through your community, make an effort to get to know them. Your friendship will be greatly appreciated!
Pray for them—and let them know you are praying. Military life adds a lot of extra stress on marriage and family. The fact that you are praying for a family makes a difference, especially when a loved one is sent into harm’s way. They are comforted to know that you are there to support them in any way possible. Let them know you appreciate the sacrifices they make.
If you live in a community near a military installation, your local group can become an important resource for military families. But do they know you exist? Try to make your group as visible as you can. If you have a local newspaper (especially if the military base has one), consider running periodic ads inviting military families to participate in your events.

When any family moves, it is often a blind relocation to a new area. Moving as often as some military families do, it becomes a seemingly endless process of finding resources in their new communities to meet their growing needs. When local families share these inside tips with new military families, it helps them settle into their new homes much quicker.
I think by offering job opportunities to military spouses and really good ones not just working at the local Wal-Mart, or Mall will do it. There are a lot of spouses out here with a good solid education and experience, and still we have no way to showcase our talent.
Write a letter of support to the families, a written personal letter goes along way to say Thank You. Not just verbal that is OK but a written letter of support means so much more in these days where mail is almost non existence. So you can go visit www.bluestarfam.org and click on Operation Appreciation. That is a wonderful program that helps write those letters. Also awards, not just Certifications of Appreciation unless they actually mean something, and there is a ceremony, but actually Department of Defense Awards or Congressional Awards.
Just being Patriotic, fly those American Flags that we fight so hard to defend. Be Proud to be an American. The US Constitution was written for a reason to protect the people and get away from oppressors. I think that it will upset some people, some people take the liberties of living here in the US for granted. There are countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, who don’t have a constitution, violate people’s basic human rights, and really don’t care. It seems that some people in the US aren’t proud to be American. Be glad the 1st Amendment is there, because in other places you can get killed for saying some of the things they say.
We take things for granted especially freedom, and when it’s gone it’s gone. I understand war isn’t always the answer but I couldn’t imagine living in a country where I could get killed for not liking the government.

Those are a few things that I think Americans can do to help support.