Think back to High School or College, remember how your teacher provided you with a study guide prior to the final? Well here is a quick 5-step study guide on how to take the ultimate Final Exam- military transition.This guide seeks to provide you with 5 critical main points that you need to do as a new veteran in order to be successful in your transition from military to civilian life.
1) Know thyself
Your identity and who you are as a person is an evolving experience throughout our lifetime. The transition from military life to civilian is one of the biggest moments of this evolution that you will experience. Many veterans struggle with the identity loss they incur after transition. “Who am I now?” Knowing who you are and who you want to become are the most important factors in setting goals for your transition. Get to know yourself by experiencing new things, volunteering in your community, and determining your long-term goals.
2) Become inspired to do great things
The worst thing a veteran can do in their first year out of the military is getting out and taking a break. Hitting up unemployment for the full term, playing video games all day (unless its your job), and quitting exercise are common experiences that will hold you back. Look at the bigger picture and realize you left one job and it's time to figure out the next step. Find what you are passionate about and attack that goal. The gym is where I became inspired, and realized that if I picked up the extra 5 pounds in the gym every time, that I would pick up the extra 5 pounds in my life.
3) Know your benefits and do your research
The TAPS/GPS program service members go to when getting out is a ton of poorly designed information….lets be honest. Depending where you are you may get an instructor who is tired of giving the same brief and won't take questions. Because of this, YOU need to do your own research and get informed. There are a multitude of services available through the VA and outside agency’s that will make your transition much smoother.
If you aren’t on LinkedIn or attending social business functions to meet new people you are wrong. This is where I failed, but when I started building my network all the doors that were closed started opening. Join a networking group, or a nonprofit, or some other form of community organization in your hometown in order to maximize your efforts.
5) Be willing to learn, change, and grow
Newsflash, you don’t have all the answers and you will run into many situations where your military culture and training do not fit in the civilian world. Instead of becoming bitter, be open to experiencing new things that will shape your thoughts and actions. If you need help, get help. If you need emotional support, get support. If you realize you need to change, then change. If things aren’t working and life seems overwhelming when it shouldn’t be, then you need to adjust fire. Being well-rounded is a good thing, being close-minded will get you nowhere fast.This is by no means a perfect solution for everyone, but in my experience of working with hundreds of veterans, these are the area’s that the majority have had roadblocks.