One of the greatest quotes in my military career was not from a four-star general or even a high-ranking officer, but from a platoon sergeant. On seeing a private not being able to complete a simple task, he barked, “Hey, it don’t take no GED to figure this out!” While his nod to education was not too subtle, being educated can and will make things easier for you in the long run — both in the military and civilian world.
The drive to have a highly educated military is by no means an accident. The culture of self-motivation to complete more and more degrees for all in the military is a well-placed organizational ethos. Being educated will not only make things easier for you by learning how to work your way through problems, but also will benefit the organization that you belong to. Having additional letters by your name is cool, but the real impetus is that of making yourself a better person — and a better Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine, as well.
Knowing a little about writing, or at least organizing your thoughts, comes in handy when you have to describe a problem. Whether it is while coming under fire and requesting backup in a war zone or trying to describe how a maintenance issue should be fixed, it can be a lifesaving skillset. Speaking well and using the right vocabulary at the right time wipes out much confusion and helps you get your point across to others who can help with the situation at hand. Organizing and communicating your thoughts and ideas get easier the more you do it. You don’t want to get caught up in a stressful situation trying to get your point across when seconds count and lives are on the line. Being well-versed in communicating through other opportunities makes life a lot easier to handle when the temperature gets turned up.
Getting a degree — whether it’s an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate — can not only help you flex your brain muscles in times of stress, but also sets you up in your military and possible civilian career down the road. So why not take advantage of the various tuition assistance and GI Bill benefits available to you now and get a step ahead?
Regardless of your branch, component or status, getting a degree shows you have the grit and determination to see things through, and that is a great quality to have for any service member. If you are enlisted, getting that degree also sets you up for possible promotion to the officer ranks in your branch. Most services look for that before considering you for their Officer Candidate Program (OCS), and all ask that you have at least some college credits.
While you may get paid to do these things now, think of what comes next. No one lives in uniform 24/7, or for the rest of their lives. When you put down the uniform, at the end of the day or when your term is up, you have to be prepared for the next steps in your life. Getting a degree now or taking classes on what it is you want to do in the future will put you ahead of your contemporaries. Get after it now so that when you compete for that position or promotion, you will outshine your peers and your competition.
So, take advantage of the benefits you have now to help set you up later, when it’s your time to transition out of the military. Being in the military helps you figure out things you like to do and things you don’t like to do. That can help narrow down career choices and job opportunities once you reenter the civilian world. Add to that knowledge a degree in your preferred field and you just greatly increased your chances of being hired.
We all know that coming in second place is unacceptable in the defense of our nation; now, you need to adopt that attitude to your life at large. If you take your education seriously now, and finish that degree or extra certificate, you will certainly be able to get ahead of the rest of the hordes!Read comments