On the Move? 5 Tips for Achieving Your Educational Dreams

I recently reconnected with an old friend who has moved on average once a year for her job. She wants a new career and it having a hard time planning for that amongst all the packing and unpacking.

She’s not alone. Whether it is for their job, a spouse’s job, military commitments, or other reasons, many of us are on the move.  Whether you move once or often, the challenges of completing your education and progressing in your own career can increase exponentially.

It is easy to get discouraged, but here are a few tips that can help you achieve your educational goals and maintain your own career progression.

Tip 1: Walk before you run.  If you wanted to train for a marathon, you wouldn’t start out by completing 26 miles on our first day of training would you?  Finding a good education fit is the same.  Start slowly by gathering information about available degree programs in your area.  Determine the possibility of realistically completing your degree of choice prior to your next moveor consider an online program of study.  

Tip 2: Seek out local education resources.  Visit your local college. Military education centers are staffed by subject-matter experts who can help you to navigate the available education programs in your area.  Help is also available from online sources such as Career One Stop.

Tip 3: Get financial support.  There are many sources of financial support to help you to continue your education. There are specific programs that offer financial aid for spouses of service members as well as general scholarship opportunities.

Don’t shy away from paying out of pocket or taking a reasonable student loan.  You will receive the best return on investment for you and your family by investing in yourself. According to a recent analysis of Census Bureau data by The Pew Research Center, individuals who have a bachelor’s degree will earn $1.42 million dollars over a 40 year career compared with $770,000 earned by an average high school graduate. 

Tip 4: Investigate online learning.  Consider attending an online university or college.  Completing your degree online can afford you opportunity to study free from time constraints, location, or frequent moves.

Tip 5: Surround yourself with positive people.   The great American author and humorist Mark Twain probably said it best, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. The really great make you feel that you too can become great.”

His message should resonate with all of us. If you surround yourself with people who are positive, well balanced, and focused on problem solving, you will likely emulate those attributes.

Moving can easily sidetrack you from personal education goals.  However, by gathering information about available education programs in your area, seeking assistance from education professionals, and maintaining a positive attitude, you will be in a better position to achieve your educational dreams.   

About the Author

John Aldrich is the associate vice president for Military Relations at American Military University (AMU). Prior to joining AMU, he served as an education services specialist for Marine Corps Base Twenty-Nine Palms California; director of career services and job placement at the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort South Carolina; education services specialist for Navy College Programs, Sicily, Italy; and academic advisor for undecided students and student athletes at the University of Rhode Island. Aldrich also served as a Naval Hospital Corpsman, Fleet Marine Forces. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Sciences and Services and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel from the University of Rhode Island. John served as the 2008 chair for the Joint Spouses Conference Hawaii. He is married to Captain Dianne DeVoll Aldrich, USN (RET).  John enjoys any outdoor activity, cooking, and making furniture.

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