Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guest Blogger - Education

Today my guest blogger is the wonderful mom from "The 'sometimes single' mom". Please go check out her blog, she's fab-u-lous!

First I want to thank “Sailor’s Wife” for having me over! : ) It’s such a pleasure to be guest posting on such a wonderful lady’s blog.

Now I’m sure at one time or another we’ve all heard the “I’m just happy being ‘so-and-so’s wife” or something along those lines. We’ve all seen the graphic designs that say “Proud Military Wife” or “Proud (insert respective branch here) Wife.” But what I am beginning to wonder is, does our spouse’s job description define who we are?

A friend of mine and I recently talked about a few things. She told me that out of all the wives she knew on the post we’re at, there were very few that she had anything in common with. You’re probably asking yourself “Why is that? She’s an Army wife just like the rest of the wives.” She made a very valid point about spouses. A lot of the spouses are very young and with a couple kids… and sometimes only have a high school education or equivalent.

An education is very important in this day and age, especially now with what’s going on in Congress (or lack there of) regarding our spouse’s pay and it possibly being taken until Congress can come to some sort of proposal. We’ll get into that another time though. I’m sure a couple of people are thinking that it’s too expensive to go back to school, or you don’t have enough time, or you’re busy raising your children.

There is a wonderful program out called MyCaa. We all know there are new stipulations to this program, but it gives us MilSpouses the chance to go back to school and at least get their Associate’s Degree. Sure it’s “only” $4000 now as opposed to the $6000 the program originally started out with giving, but that is $4000 that is FREE. We don’t have to pay that back. Right now a lot of us qualify for and are still able to use the Pell Grant, which we do not have to pay back. If you are an Army spouse and living overseas, there is the AER GRANT; which helps put a little extra money towards tuition. Some posts offer a FREE Dental Hygienist program for the spouses once a year, spots are limited. The education center is available for spouses as well as service members, and even if you absolutely have to take out student loans, you can still get your education.

I think it is absolutely one of the most important things any person can do for themselves is get a college education or have some sort of trade to fall back on. It is tough as a MilSpouse to do it sometimes with training and deployments getting in the way, raising our kids (for those of us that have children), and all the other life obstacles that happen to get in the way, but the military will not be able to pay our bills and support us forever. What will a MilSpouse do if she/he separates from her service member… without an education and more then likely, children to support? Or God forbid, what if something happens to our spouse that prevents them from ever working again, or worse… doesn’t make it home alive? We need something that we can take into the “civilian” world that will allow us to get good jobs. We need something for ourselves, something that we can look at and say “I earned that all on my own.”

I, personally, have managed to earn my Associate’s Degree all while moving from Fort Benning to Germany, having my husband deploy for 12 months just two months after moving to Germany, raising our son, working with EFMP children, going through a pregnancy and birth. Here I am now starting my third class for my Bachelor’s Degree while raising our 4 year old son, and our 18 month old daughter while my husband is on another 12 month deployment. It is tough and there are days when I just want to throw in the towel… but I don’t because I know I can get through my classes and I enjoy what I’m studying. I need this for myself. 

The Sometimes Single Mom


Pamela said...

Great advice. We do all need something to fall back on - you never know what kind of curve ball life is going to throw you, and to be prepared is the best way to throw it right back!

I went back to school when my daughter was in preschool to finish up the credits needed to transfer to a four-year university to get my Bachelor's. Because my husband was an E-4 at the time, I got a lot of financial aid. I kept my grades up, and even more money came my way. You don't know sticker shock until you've faced the bill at the college bookstore (35 books for one semester!) and my financial aid took care of it all.

I know that the MyCAA program is not quite as generous but it's free money to get you started - go for it!

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