How Education Helps Veterans Open Doors for the Future
A wise man and author once said, “10,000 hours is the magic number for greatness.” This wise man was Malcolm Gladwell, author of many best sellers including “Outliers.” His research indicates that time spent on a certain task is the best way to excel at that task.
Time, it’s one of the most valuable things that we own as humans because, no matter what, it will run out. Choosing how to use our time to the best of our ability is a challenging feat, as there are many paths people can choose.
One article talks about the 7 best ways a person can use their time, one of them being focusing on high-leveraging activities. What better way to do that than expanding your mind through education?
When chatting with many veterans and active duty military members, I hear a similar phrase when it comes to education, “It didn’t work out for me” or “I’m not a very good student.”
Many people are discouraged by the increased tuition costs of college and are burdened by the belief that college is just money lost to a pointless degree. However, education comes in a variety of forms, with many of these forms being overlooked.
Education and learning are one of the greatest things you can invest in for yourself and there are many ways to do this. Education can come in the form of cooking and culinary arts classes, soccer lessons to develop a new skill or become a professional athlete, or even networking events to learn soft skills like reading a room and body language.
There are many benefits of expanding your mind and skills with an education:
An education allows you to increase your understanding of the world in which you live. By gaining knowledge and applying it to real life scenarios, you are able to develop new ideas and inferences that can potentially help change a point of view, idea, or even the world.
To speak knowledgably and understand your subject, you foster credibility and trust from your audience. To invest in knowledge and learn new skills, you open yourself up to new possibilities and the opportunity to meet and connect with new people.
Starting from a young age people learn many different skills from personal interactions and book studies. However, after high school, most people have developed the majority of skills they’d need to be a productive member of society; so why is a higher education and learning important then?
Let’s imagine in high school you decided that you wanted to become a pilot. Your passion and drive were set on learning to fly helicopters. To become a successful pilot, you would need to learn the necessary skills to fly an aircraft. To do this, you would need to go to flight school where you would learn things such as aeronautics and flight patterns and maneuvers. To develop skills and become proficient in a field you must dedicate the time and the same can be said for passions such as finance, marketing, engineering or even entrepreneurship.
To be successful in something you are passionate about you must dedicate time to read, learn, and apply the information into the needed skills. Like Malcolm Gladwell stated, it takes 10,000 hours to become the best! Why not dedicate those hours to something you’re passionate about?
Most people at one point in their lives have taken a class and said, “this is pointless, I will never use this in real life.” Perhaps, in many cases, this is true. With a marketing degree, when would you ever use advanced calculus?
But I challenge you to view learning and education through the lens of passion and curiosity and the sheer drive to get to where you want to be. But to get to where you want to be you must put the time and effort in to achieve the goals you set forth.
Let’s say you’ve been in the military for 12 years and are now transitioning into the civilian world. You really enjoy the idea of creating your own clothing brand, but you don’t have the experience, connections, or knowledge to do so.
With the desire to create your own business, you decide to go back to school or take on an apprenticeship to learn how to run a business. Once you have learned the skills you’ll need, you can now take what you’ve learned and apply it to something that is more tangible: starting your business.
How do you go about getting real world experience as a veteran?
There are so many paths, as a military veteran, that allow you to pursue a dream of getting or furthering your education. Upon leaving military service, veterans have the option of going back to school through the G.I Bill. Many officers leave the armed forces and pursue a master’s degree in a field of study that they believe will help enact change in the country they defend.
Another option of gaining real-world experience is through mentor programs and work opportunities. One resource that many veterans utilize is an organization called Dog Tag Inc. Their fellowship program allows veterans to get hands-on learning from Georgetown University that they can use while working at Dog Tag Bakery. This allows veterans to see firsthand how they could become an entrepreneur and what a day in the life of owning and operating a business looks like.
It goes without saying that any opportunity that allows you to meet new people allows you to network. By going back to school, you can network with your peers, professors, and even alumni by connecting through your shared interests, goals, and ideas.
Being well educated in your passions and having the ability to speak intelligently to peers you will automatically stick into people’s minds and allow you to connect with those who can make your goals become reality.
There is an ever-increasing number of ways you can further your education and many available resources that can help you in pursuing goals. For example, The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation has open applications for children of Marine and Navy Corpsmen to allow those who have sacrificed for this country the opportunity to send their kids to college. If college isn’t the path, The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation also has career and technical education scholarships allowing individuals the chance to find their passion in a certain field of study.
This month, True North is helping spread awareness for the opportunities our partners are providing for furthering education. The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and Dog Tag Inc. both have opened their applications for 2021 and are looking for eager and dedicated individuals who would like to expand their education and learning into the new year.
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Application: https://www.mcsf.org/apply/
Dog Tag Inc Application: https://www.dogtaginc.org/fellowship