Author : bhavya

Staying Motivated as a Student Through the Holidays

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smart-goalsHolidays are a joyous time of year, but they are also full of distractions. From the parties to family visits to putting up decorations and buying gifts, students will find themselves busier than usual. Here are six tips to stay motivated during the most hectic time of the year.

Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Goals give us something to work towards, something to look forward to, and something to keep us motivated. When defining and setting your goals, make sure they are S.M.A.R.T:    
  • Specific Specific goals are clear, focused, concise and well-defined.
  • Measurable To measure your success, you need to establish timelines and firm completion dates.  Measuring your progress enables you to stay on track and reach your target goals.
  • Attainable – When you identify goals that are important to you, you begin to discover ways you can make them come true. You can accomplish most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a realistic time frame that allows you to carry out those steps.
  • RealisticA realistic goal is one that you are both willing and able to work toward.
  • TimelySet a time frame for your goal.  Your goal should have a clear starting point and an ending point.

Set a Study Schedule

Finding free time to study during the holidays can be challenging, so it’s best to look at your calendar of activities to determine specific timeframes when you can crack open the books. Then, refer to your S.M.A.R.T. goals to determine how much you need to study. With this information in hand, it’s easy to build out a study schedule. The key is sticking with it. If you are used to studying on the weekends when you’ll be the busiest over the holidays, you may need to get creative. Build in study time during the week, before work, in between activities and over your lunch break.

Study Effectively

Get more bang for your buck out of your study time by using one method that is widely accepted: SQ3R – Survey, Question, Read, Recite, and Review:
  • Survey: “Survey” means to skim the lesson rapidly in order to establish its purpose and take note of the main ideas.
  • Question: When you have completed your survey of the material, write down several questions that you think the lesson will answer. Then look for answers as you read the section.
  • Read: Read the material one section at a time, actively looking for answers to the questions you have posed. Taking brief notes while you read also improves comprehension.  If you find that highlighting is helpful, only highlight the most important facts and phrases, not whole paragraphs.
  • Recite: After you have read the section and answered all of your questions, take time to recite your questions and their answers aloud.
  • Review: Within one day of completing a reading assignment, review your notes and other study materials to increase your comprehension and cement the information in your long-term memory.

Don’t Procrastinate

It is very easy to put off for tomorrow what you don’t feel like doing today; but, this is a dangerous habit to get into. Eventually, the stress of not having projects completed will take over and you’ll begin to feel overwhelmed during one of the happiest times of the year. The best thing to do is to complete the first item on your study list and work your way through the rest. Worst case scenario, if after ten minutes, you are having a difficult time starting on the first assignment, pick an easy task from your list and complete it. Sometimes, we just need that feeling of success to spur us on to complete the number one task on our list.

Study with Friends

Meeting up with a group of friends to study is a stress-free way to spend time with great people and get your work done too. Not only can you help each other stay on track, you will have a great pool of resources to utilize if you get stuck on a complex problem or theory.

Make Time for Yourself

Your happiness is essential to your quality of life. Assignments and projects are important, but so is your mental health. Take some time each day or each week to do something for yourself like catching up on your favorite TV shows or having a special dinner with your family. Taking the time to refresh and decompress during the holidays will make it easier to focus and stay on task with your projects and assignments.

Reference Links:

• SMART Goals: http://topachievement.com/smart.html • SQ3R Study Method: http://www.studygs.net/texred2.htm • Additional Study Tips: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Motivated-to-Study

How to Know if Going Back to School is Right for You

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back-to-school Career doubts happen to almost everyone. You might not be making the money that you thought you would, or find you don’t like your work. As a result, you may be considering a return to higher education. For many, this decision can enhance their careers and lives, but many others may not find what they are looking for in the classroom. Before you pay your tuition and buy your books, make sure that you’re fully informed about what your decision means.

Why Go Back?

Going back to school is often a positive step, but you need to analyze your particular situation before you head back to the classroom. What factors are pushing your return to academia?

Career Dissatisfaction

You need to understand what is driving you back to school. Is your current career unsatisfying or is it your employment situation? If you are a teacher who has discovered she hates to teach, then an entirely new career is in order. If your particular school is a difficult place to work, then switching to a different district may be the answer.

Lagging Skills

You may consider a return to school if your skills are not up to par, or you feel that technology has left you behind. You may need to pursue a certification program to keep you effective in your current job and put you in line for a promotion. In that case, a return to school makes financial sense. Your human resources department may help you, often through a tuition reimbursement program.

Economic Issues

If you are a small business owner whose company is struggling, you may want to jump ship and try something new. Before you do so, consider whether you need more education or better advice. You can be in the right career but lack basic business management skills. Take some business courses instead of changing your entire career.

Enrichment

Sometimes going back to school is not about improving your earning ability or finding a lucrative career but about personal growth. If you have a passion for the arts or another interest and have the time and means to pursue it, then do so.

Where and How

Fortunately, you have a multitude of educational options available to you. You may choose how many hours to commit to your studies and where you want your learning to take place.

Part-time or Full-Time

If you decide to go back to school, you’ll have to decide between being a full-time or part-time student. Many returning students choose to work full-time while pursuing their education at night and on the weekends, primarily for financial reasons. If you have a family, adding school to an already full schedule can be daunting. Planning for childcare and household help before school starts will be invaluable to your success. Pursuing your education full-time, if financially possible, will speed up the process as well as relieve pressure from your life. You do have to consider how much student loan debt you will accumulate and how long it will take to pay it off. Realize, too, that many full-time students take more than four years to complete an undergraduate degree.

Online or On Campus

By far the most convenient option is online education. Theses classes are flexible and usually allow you to work on your schedule, although they do have expectations and deadlines like any other class. For some adult learners, this route is ideal. Other students may thrive in a more structured, face-to-face environment. You can blend the two options, since most colleges and universities offer both types of classes. If you have some general education courses to pursue, online classes may work best. For upper-level courses, you may desire the classroom and personal access to the instructor. Graduate courses might allow some internet work, but they will most likely demand your physical presence.

Finances

Returning to school is a significant financial commitment. You need to determine how your return to school will affect your finances.

Profitability

If you are returning to school because you want to ultimately make more money, you need to look carefully at your investment. Going back to school is expensive—even with loans and grants. Recouping that money will take a few years, even if you are preparing for an in-demand career, as a market research analyst, school psychologist or software developer.

Grants and Loans

Before you take any other steps, check with your current human resources department about tuition reimbursement. Many corporations offer these programs, and they can greatly reduce your educational debt load. If you have already attended college, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant may be for you. If you qualify for the Pell Grant—the most common need-based financial option—but need more assistance, the FSEOG can award you up to $4,000. The Pell Grant itself has a maximum award of $5,500 per academic year.

Prior Learning Assessment

Ask about PLA credits before committing to a college or university. You will save money and time if your school grants you credits for your previous work and school experience. Continuing your education can enhance your life, but to be successful, you need to be certain of your goals before you register. Some career problems will not be cured by returning to the classroom. Turn to education as a positive solution and not as an escape from general job dissatisfaction. Sources:

The Plus Side of Being an Older Student

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Going back to school after working for a number of years can help people gain new skills and be stronger competitors in a rough-and-tumble job market. Plus, for returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, transitioning to the workforce can be smoother with the addition of a(nother) degree to their resume. Given the number of people who have been laid off in recent years, it’s really no surprise that the US Department of Education says more than a quarter of all college students are 30 years old or older. This is good news for mature students who may take reassurance from the fact that there will likely be other students like them. You know – students who’ve been of legal drinking age for a decade (or two). And even though it might be intimidating to re-enter a college classroom – or enter it for the first time since high school – there are definite upsides to being an older college student. Here are a few: Perspective. Brand new high school grads have yet to figure out how much they still have to learn. Older students have had the benefit of being knocked down by the real world a time or two, and they’ve had practice picking themselves up and trying again. Plus, they’re able to apply coursework to their own experience, which allows them to add a lot of value to class discussions. Focus. True freshmen spend most of their first semester figuring out how to navigate the brand new world that’s just unfolded before their eyes. For many of them, it’s their first taste of responsibility and freedom. Older students – especially those who’ve served in the military – are more likely to know how to avoid distractions and stay on task. As a result, they’ve learned how to better manage priorities and their time, and aren’t going to fall to pieces if they have to study when they’d rather be enjoying spring break. Self-sufficiency. Older students are likely to have dependents – families of their own who rely on them to provide financial, emotional and practical support. An 18-year-old is far more likely to still be a dependent. Not to mention the fact that they may not have learned how to do their own laundry, cook for themselves, and manage their own finances. Combined, these practical matters can be a stumbling block for a young student trying to make their way through their first semester at school. Are you a returning student? Have something to share about your experience? Let us know in the comments below.   #veterans #nontraditionalstudent #onlineeducation

Navigating the VA Claims Dispute Process

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VA-Department_MilitaryAuthorityIn 2013 the number of 125+ day old VA Claims waiting for process reached a record 611,000. As of this week, that number was less than 124,000. Whether or not the VA will reach its goals of having zero claims older than 125 days and a 98 percent accuracy rate by their self-imposed deadline of September 30th is anybody’s guess. And although reducing the number of backlogged claims is good news for claimants, the bad news is that in order to tackle the backlog beast, the VA has pulled resources away from other needs- like dependency adjustments and appeals. If you’ve gone through the lengthy claims process and received either a rejection or a reduction, you have one year from the date of notification to file an appeal.  The types of appeals are as varied as the types of claims; typical appeals are for disability compensation, pension, education benefits, recovery of overpayments, reimbursement for unauthorized medical services, and denial of burial or memorial benefits. The first step:  Written Notice What you’ll do: You must file a written Notice of Disagreement (form VA 21-0958) with the VA regional office, medical center or NCA office that made the decision. What you’ll get next: Once they’ve received the written notice, the VA must send you (the claimant) a “Statement of the Case (SOC).” The SOC describes the facts, laws and regulations used to decide your case. The second step: Decision Point What you’ll do:  Read the SOC in its entirety. Enlist the help of your VA Representative to clarify anything that needs explanation. The SOC should provide you with an understanding of why the VA reduced or denied your claim. With this information in mind, you need to decide whether or not you will want to continue pursuing your appeal.  If you don’t want to pursue your appeal any further, simply do nothing. The VA will close out your appeal. If you wish to continue with your appeal, keep reading. The third step:  Board of Veterans’ Appeals  What you’ll do: If you want to move forward with your appeal, you must complete an Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals form. You may want help from your VA Representative to complete the form. A couple of things about the form:
  • Ironically, filing on time is important. If you think you’ll need more time to complete the forms, write your VA office and advise them of how much time you’ll need before your original deadline.
  • A BVA hearing is not always necessary. If you feel strongly that a hearing is required, use Block 8 to select one of the hearing options. If you leave the block blank, the BVA will assume you do not wish to have a hearing and will decide your case based on the information included on your completed form.
  • If you do have a hearing, please note that the Judge does not make a decision at the hearing. Decisions will be made afterward, with the Judge compiling a transcript of your hearing along with the other documentation associated with your case.
About the Board of Veterans’ Appeals: The BVA makes decisions on appeals on behalf of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Although it is not required, a Veterans service organization, an agent, or an attorney may represent a claimant. If they desire, appellants may present their cases in person to a member of the Board at a hearing in Washington, D.C., at a VA regional office or by videoconference. What you’ll get next:  The BVA will make a decision and send it to you in writing. You’ll receive notification of one of three outcomes for each issue:  Grant, Remand, or Deny. Grant means that your local VA office will receive and implement direction from the BVA on your issue. Remand means that the BVA did not have enough information to make a decision on your issue. The BVA will instruct your local VA office to collect additional information from you in order to complete the appeals process. If your issue is denied, you have another appeals option with the U .S. Court of Appeal for Veterans’ Claims. The fourth step: U.S. Court of Appeal for Veterans’ Claims The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is an independent court, separate from the Department of Veterans Affairs. It does not hold trials or receive new evidence, but appellants may make personal appearances before the court. What you’ll do: File a written notice of appeal (available here) with the Clerk of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. It must be received within 120 days after the BVA mailed its decision.   Source: http://www.bva.va.gov/docs/Pamphlets/How-Do-I-Appeal-Booklet–508Compliance.pdf #VAappeal #VAclaim #VeteransAffairs

One Late Payment Can Hurt Your Credit Score

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one-late-payment_MilitaryAuthorityHave you ever had the sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten something important? If that “rocks-in-your-stomach” feeling has ever struck you as you’re opening your credit card statement, you are not alone. According to a 2009 Financial Literacy Survey by the National Federation for Credit Counseling, 15 percent of American adults, or nearly 34 million people, were late making a credit card payment at least once. Eighteen million people (8 percent of American adults) have missed a credit card payment entirely. What’s more, 26 percent of Americans, or more than 58 million adults, admit to not paying all of their bills on time. Among African-Americans, this number is at 51 percent. Even the very best juggler drops a bowling pin now and then. So you’ve missed a payment. What does this mean? How does one late payment affect your credit score As is the case with a number of credit-related issues, the answer is: It depends. One credit web site offers three questions that can help you gauge the possible impact of a late payment to your credit score. These questions are:
How long ago did the most recent late payment occur? How severe were any late payments (30 days, 60 days, charge off, etc.)? How many accounts on the credit report have had late payments?
Timing of the late payment is usually the variable that has the biggest impact to your credit score. For example, if you made one late payment two months ago, it can trigger a 100 point drop on a FICO score of 780. But if you made one late payment five years ago, and have made on-time payments ever since, that single late payment will have little negative effect on your score. Negative hits will decrease over time, but the information will stay on – and impact – your credit report for seven years. A few other factors that can contribute to determining how much hurt a late payment will have on your scores:
  • Length of your credit history – the longer the better.
  • Other delinquencies, collection references, outstanding balances or other adverse legal issues on your credit report.
  • Number of other accounts that are listed as “currently paid as agreed” – the higher the better.
  • Your current FICO score. If your FICO score is really high, you will endure a bigger hit for a single late payment than someone with a lower score. In this instance, the saying “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” is highly applicable.
If you make a late payment, one thing you might consider doing is contact your creditor as soon as possible. If you can offer a solid explanation for your error and can convince the creditor that it’s not going to happen again, you may be able to persuade them to remove the incident from your credit report. If you do find yourself talking with a collections agency, don’t despair. There are a few distinctions between civilian and military debt collection that, as a member of the military, you should be aware of. A single late payment is not necessarily the end of the world, but it is a gamble. If – and only if – you’re lucky, the creditor won’t report that you were late. Most lenders don’t report missed payments until the account is more than 30 days past due. But that’s not something to count on. The best way to protect yourself is to make every payment on time.   #FICOscore #latepayment #creditreport

Life Insurance for Military Kids

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military-kidsUnder normal circumstances, you will live to see your children grow to adulthood before you pass on. But sometimes things don’t work out as we hoped – and we leave a large life insurance benefit behind. Normally, a married person who has children would name his or her spouse as beneficiary. It’s up to the surviving spouse to manage the large tax-free life insurance death benefit for herself and the surviving children. But suppose you survive your spouse? Or suppose you break up, or you find that your spouse just can’t be trusted with large amounts of money? Or suppose you don’t have a spouse at all? Many parents make the mistake of naming their children directly as beneficiaries on their life insurance policy. But this could become a huge problem after your death. Here’s why: The life insurance company cannot give a large cash award to a minor child. If you die, and your child is listed as your beneficiary, the life insurance company will hold that money back until a legal guardian is appointed. This could be a time-consuming process. Meanwhile, that life insurance money may be desperately needed. You could name a friend, or a sister or brother as the beneficiary, in exchange for a promise to use the money for your children’s sole best interests. But that’s only as good as the beneficiary’s word. If the beneficiary took all the money that you meant to fund your children’s’ futures, and blew it in Vegas, your children would have no recourse. What’s more, there are some life insurance agents who aren’t aware of a pretty easy workaround. (Yes, they get tested on this stuff when they get their insurance license – but I saw an agent working just today – a retired sergeant major selling supplemental life insurance to a group of National Guardsmen – who didn’t know how to handle the issue.) Uniform Transfer to Minors Act The Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, or UTMA, allows you or a life insurance company to establish a custodial account on behalf of your children. You would name the custodian on the trust – someone you have a great deal of confidence in to handle the money responsibly and faithfully on behalf of your children. This allows the life insurance company to release the funds immediately – and they become available to help support your children within days, under normal circumstances (though SGLI is notoriously slow to issue death benefits). How it Works When you apply for life insurance, or when the company delivers the policy, you will have a spot on the application or on a separate form that prompts you to establish a UTMA custodial account (a few states operate under a similar but older arrangement called UGMA, for the Uniform Gift to Minors Act). Rather than name your children as primary or secondary beneficiaries directly, they should go here. You will also be prompted to select a custodian for that account. If you die, the life insurance company will set up a custodial account in your children’s names, with the beneficiary you select having sole discretionary authority over those funds. Some companies will issue a paper check to be deposited into that account. More companies lately will simply wire the money to the account they set up, and provide the beneficiary with a checkbook for the fund. From that point, the custodian you select has a fiduciary duty to use the funds solely in your children’s best interests. If they steal or misappropriate funds from your children’s custodial account, your children have a right to petition a court for an accounting, and even sue the custodian for the squandered or stolen money. Isn’t the UTMA a kind of trust? Not quite, though they sometimes serve similar purposes. A trust is a much more sophisticated and flexible vehicle that gives you, the grantor, many more options and is more flexible. They also cost a lot more to set up than an UTMA or UGMA. From a planning point of view, the main difference between an UTMA and a trust is the question of ownership. Assets in an UTMA account are technically your children’s property. Which means they automatically get to take full control of the asset when they turn 18 or 21, depending on the state. Assets in a trust are the trusts’ property, not your children’s property – and you can attach more strings to a trust, such as requiring your children to attend or complete college before gaining control of the funds. Your children’s creditors also cannot sue for assets held in a trust, but they may be able to attach assets held in custodial account in a lawsuit. Furthermore, because you can have the trust remain in possession of the assets for as long as you like, you don’t run the risk of suddenly putting large amounts of money into the hands of an immature 18 or 21 year-old. For all you know, your precious little toddler princess will be struggling with drug addiction in 16 years. Suddenly inheriting a six-figure death benefit could enable her to squander all the money very quickly – and it may even kill her. With a trust, you can have the trustees hold back the money until she gets her life together. By transferring assets to an UTMA, you could hurt your children’s’ chances of qualifying for need-based financial aid for college, under the federal financial aid system. This is because the Department of Education expects college students to contribute a much higher percentage of their own assets to college than parents do. Parents may well want to keep some separation between the child and the life insurance proceeds for that reason. If the amount involved is quite large, it may be worthwhile to pay the added costs to establish a trust. Only a licensed attorney can draw up the paperwork. If you’re on a budget, or the amount of money involved is generally small, then you may want to lean more towards the UTMA solution. But don’t go down the blind alley of leaving large amounts of money directly to children. It doesn’t work!   #lifeinsurance #militarykids #utma  

Don’t Let a Late Payment Affect Your Credit Report

Posted by Admin
late-bills-hurt-creditHave you ever had the sinking feeling that you’ve forgotten something important? If that “rocks-in-your-stomach” feeling has ever struck you as you’re opening your credit card statement, you are not alone. According to a Financial Literacy Survey by the National Federation for Credit Counseling, 15 percent of American adults, or nearly 34 million people, were late making a credit card payment at least once. Eighteen million people (8 percent of American adults) have missed a credit card payment entirely. What’s more, 26 percent of Americans, or more than 58 million adults, admit to not paying all of their bills on time. Among African-Americans, this number is at 51 percent. Even the very best juggler drops a bowling pin now and then. So you’ve missed a payment. What does this mean? How does one late payment affect your credit score As is the case with a number of credit-related issues, the answer is: It depends. One credit web site offers three questions that can help you gauge the possible impact of a late payment to your credit score. These questions are:
  1. How long ago did the most recent late payment occur?
  2. How severe were any late payments (30 days, 60 days, charge off, etc.)?
  3. How many accounts on the credit report have had late payments?
Timing of the late payment is usually the variable that has the biggest impact to your credit score. For example, if you made one late payment two months ago, it can trigger a 100 point drop on a FICO score of 780. But if you made one late payment five years ago, and have made on-time payments ever since, that single late payment will have little negative effect on your score. Negative hits will decrease over time, but the information will stay on – and impact – your credit report for seven years. A few other factors that can contribute to determining how much hurt a late payment will have on your scores:
  • Length of your credit history – the longer the better.
  • Other delinquencies, collection references, outstanding balances or other adverse legal issues on your credit report.
  • Number of other accounts that are listed as “currently paid as agreed” – the higher the better.
  • Your current FICO score. If your FICO score is really high, you will endure a bigger hit for a single late payment than someone with a lower score. In this instance, the saying “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” is highly applicable.
If you make a late payment, one thing you might consider doing is contact your creditor as soon as possible. If you can offer a solid explanation for your error and can convince the creditor that it’s not going to happen again, you may be able to persuade them to remove the incident from your credit report. If you do find yourself talking with a collections agency, don’t despair. There are a few distinctions between civilian and military debt collection that, as a member of the military, you should be aware of. A single late payment is not necessarily the end of the world, but it is a gamble. If – and only if – you’re lucky, the creditor won’t report that you were late. Most lenders don’t report missed payments until the account is more than 30 days past due. But that’s not something to count on. The best way to protect yourself is to make every payment on time.   #creditreport #badcredit #FICOscore

2015 Military and Federal Handbooks Now Available

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Each year, our partners create and offer handbooks for military personnel and federal employees, FREE to download. Printed copies are also available for sale. The 2015 versions are now available on MilitaryHandbooks.com and FederalHandbooks.com. The military handbooks, written specifically for military service members, include a variety of information about pay, benefits, education and transitioning from the military. Don’t forget to tell all of your military colleagues about these free handbooks, too! – 2015 AFTER THE MILITARY HANDBOOK – 2015 BASE INSTALLATION DIRECTORY – 2015 BENEFITS FOR VETERANS & DEPENDENTS – 2015 GETTING UNCLE SAM TO PAY FOR YOUR COLLEGE DEGREE – 2015 GUARD AND RESERVE MILITARY HANDBOOK – 2015 MILITARY CHILDREN’S SCHOLARSHIP HANDBOOK – 2015 UNITED STATES MILITARY HANDBOOK – 2015 UNITED STATES MILITARY RETIRED HANDBOOK – 2015 VETERANS HEALTHCARE BENEFITS HANDBOOK   The federal handbooks, written specifically for federal agency employees, include a variety of information about pay, benefits, education, travel, healthcare and retirement. – 2015 FEDERAL RETIREMENT HANDBOOK – 2015 FEDERAL HEALTH BENEFITS HANDBOOK – 2015 FEDERAL TRAVEL HANDBOOK – 2015 CHILDREN’S SCHOLARSHIP HANDBOOK – 2015 FEDERAL BENEFITS HANDBOOK – 2015 LONG-TERM CARE HANDBOOK – 2015 FEDERAL PERSONNEL HANDBOOK

Use Your Battlefield Training to Help Transition from Military to Civilian Life

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military-authority_battlefield-training-helps-transitionTransitioning from the military to the civilian workforce is both an exciting and challenging new adventure. It can be a challenge for veterans whether moving to a classroom or to a workplace. However, the following will tips should help in their transition process. The military skills you acquired are very valuable in the workforce. Your military training and discipline will increase your value within an organization, making you a good choice for promotions and additional opportunities. Employers value problem-solvers. Applying the tools, training and analytics skills you’ve received to your work’s problems and offering solutions can help your employers yield better results. That will be noticed and result in positive performance reviews. Identify your plans and goals. Your military lifestyle was undoubtedly very structured: training, work details, meal times and other things were planned out for you. Transitioning to civilian life means freedom from all the structures you are accustomed to. That newfound freedom may cause setbacks for you if you don’t identify your plans and goals. Create structures for yourself that you can follow on a daily basis. This will help you maintain your focus, be more productive, stay on track and reach your goals. Your Military Life Story. Be prepared and don’t get offended if new civilian coworkers ask questions that are military or war-related such as “Why are we still fighting in the Middle East?” or “How many people have you killed?” Prepare sets of answers for anticipated questions so that you can exit the conversation easily if you don’t want to discuss those things. Or try to steer conversations towards the education and work experience you gained which are helping you with your new job. In time, even people who may not like or appreciate military service will see that you are a valuable employee and stop asking offensive or intrusive questions. Take time to discover and explore. Transitioning from military to civilian life can be disorienting. Take some time to discover and explore the world you lived in before you entered the military. What interests did you have that you had to put aside during your service? You may decide to start a simple business or go back to school to acquire more skills to pursue those forgotten interests and dreams. Seek Help and Guidance from Family and Friends. You have a support system with you from your time in the military service – your spouse, family and friends outside your military life. Transition will be difficult if you are undergoing some post traumatic stress disorder or some combat stress. Get counseling, take part in veteran-to-veteran conversation groups, maintain healthy eating habits, exercise regularly, and practice stress mitigation techniques. There are also valuable resources out there that can help you with the processing of your Veterans Affair claims, treating stress, finding employment, and starting college programs. Each veteran going through the transition to civilian life can be successful, especially if he or she remembers to use the discipline, military training and experiences acquired over the years. Use them to your advantage to make yourself better and your life a happier, more fulfilling and satisfying.

The Military Spouse Employment Partnership

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Unemployed military spouses receive help from DoDThe national unemployment rate is around 7 percent, but it is much higher among military spouses who have to change jobs frequently because of moves. A Pentagon program called the Military Spouse Employment Partnership was started three years ago to help unemployed military spouses find jobs has surpassed its goals, connecting more than 60,000 military spouses with 220 private- and public-sector partners, including Fortune 500 companies.

Meg O’Grady, a senior program analyst in the Pentagon’s Office of Family Policy and Children and Youth, said “Eighty-five percent of military spouses actually have some college, 25 percent of them have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and 10 percent have an advanced degree.” The problem is that it can be difficult for large employers who want to hire military spouses to find them.

“We know that military spouses make great employees and businesses recognize that,” O’Grady said. “Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, we provide a variety of ways for businesses to actually connect with military spouses.” Companies such as Walmart, the nation’s largest employer, as well as other big names in corporate America such as Verizon, AT&T and JP Morgan Chase are marquee brands that O’Grady said also have their eye on service members and their job-seeking spouses.

Officials say the inability of a spouse to find employment can affect the well-being of military communities, thereby affecting readiness and retention, which is why the department has been reaching out to corporations, small businesses and organizations to expand the network of potential spousal employers.

Resources available through the program include education and training, career guidance and mentoring programs. In addition, more than 1.8 million jobs have been posted on the Military Spouse Employment Partnership’s career portal.