5 Ways to Ease the Transition From Military To Civilian Life

Written by on November 7, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page

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You’d think after having served in the military, readjusting to civilian life would be a breeze. But for many families, the transition is a difficult one. Here are five ways to ease the transition from military to civilian life:

1. Continue Your Education

Today, more and more people are entering the military straight from high school, in order to earn enough money to pay for college. Others, however, obtain a college degree before joining the military. If you’re in the latter group, and you financed your education through Perkins, Stafford and other Department of Education Guaranteed Student Loans, you are eligible to have the military help repay your student loans. In fact, there are a variety of different programs offered by the military to help personnel continue their educations, including tuition assistance while on active duty.

With more and more universities offering degree programs online, obtaining a degree while serving in the military has become a whole lot easier, and consequently, many service members are electing to do just that. This is in part because studies have shown that veterans with college degrees have an easier time readjusting to civilian life than those with just a high school diploma.

2. Have a Strong Religious Faith

Post 9/11 studies have shown that veterans who attend religious services on a regular basis (once a week or more) have a much easier time transitioning back into civilian life for a variety of reasons. (Note: this is true regardless of which religion you choose to observe.) To be sure, religious belief has been proven to have a number of positive affects on the general population, including better physical and emotional health, stronger familial relationships and community ties.

3. Take Advantage of Military Programs Being Offered

Only recently has the U.S. Army begun requiring service members to participate in transition services before leaving the forces. These programs are particularly helpful for the young veterans, who entered the military out of high school, and thus do not have much, if any, civilian work experience. Programs such as the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) and Troops to Teachers (TTT) are wonderful, free programs to take advantage of. To begin, TAP is a short, 3-day program currently being offered by the military for service members and their families to help ease the transition into civilian life.

The primary focus of TAP is to help place service members into civilian jobs and/or academic institutions. Likewise, TTT is a program designed to train service members to become teachers in low-income areas. Specifically, the service member can elect to receive a $5,000 stipend to help offset the costs of obtaining the necessary certification, or a $10,000 bonus, in exchange for a 3-year commitment to one of many preselected teacher training schools.

4. Become Involved With Your Community

Joining a local non-profit organization is a great way to meet others in your community while helping to make a difference. Certainly volunteering will help put your life in perspective, and help you to achieve a sense of balance. Additionally, it will help you to reestablish your life outside of the military. Don’t be shy to reach out and make connections with other volunteers – you never know who you’ll meet.

5. Maintain Your Physical Well-Being

Develop a daily regimen, and stick to it. In addition, eat well-balanced meals, and pay attention to your body’s needs. Limit your alcohol intake. Make physical activity a part of your every day life.

This is a guest post.  Carl Jones is a military historian and guest author at OnlineMilitaryEducation.org, a site with information about top-rated military friendly degree programs. Click here to read his latest article.

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