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Many Ashford Students find themselves returning to studies after being in the workforce or providing service in the military. While this transition can be daunting, there are many benefits to returning to school. Translating your service, skills, and experiences into academic and career goals is a great way to ensure that you get the most out of your time at Ashford. These are just a couple ways that you can ensure that your transition is a smooth one.

Keeping Track of Time

Returning to school can have a significant impact on your schedule. Finding time to study, complete schoolwork, and maintain your personal life can be difficult. By planning ahead, and designating your time wisely, you can avoid falling behind.

One of the most important aspects of creating a schedule is to remain realistic. Setting aside a half hour to study might not be enough sometimes. On the other hand, not spending enough time with your friends or family can also have a negative impact on your life. While you might have to prioritize what needs to be done on a weekly basis, it is important to keep it real when looking at your calendar.

The most important part of scheduling your time is making sure to set aside time for self care. While studying, relationships, and work are all important, taking the time to care for you is critical in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Whether it be watching your favorite movie, taking a walk, going to a yoga class, or curling up with a good book, be sure to take the time you need. For more information on how to balance your time, check out the October 2012 issue of Ashford Student Health 101.

Maintaining Your Relationships

Once you’ve considered the time you’ll need for yourself, it’s important to consider the ways your relationships might be impacted by deciding to start or return to school in order earn your degree. One thing that it is important for all students to realize is that returning to school will likely impact relationships with friends, family members, and loved ones. Acknowledging this potential impact rather than ignoring it is a great way to ensure that you, and the people you care about, will be ready to deal with any changes that might affect the way you interact.

We all know that school can be time consuming. While studying and schoolwork are extremely important, school related activities can decrease the amount of time that you’re able to spend with those you are closest to. According to the Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas at Austin, “Changes in life outside your relationship will impact what you want and need from the relationship. Since change is inevitable, welcoming it as an opportunity to enhance the relationship is more fruitful than trying to keep it from happening.” Here’s a list of some other ways to prepare for the ways that change can impact your personal relationships.

  • Communicate Openly – Communication leads to understanding, and understanding where the people you care about are coming from during times of change is extremely important during transitions.
  • Respect Opinions – While returning to school is an incredibly exciting time, it is important to listen to those that you are closest to, and to take their needs and opinions into consideration.
  • Create a Schedule – Creating a schedule to balance both your personal life and your school work is a great way to ensure that you have time to spend developing personal relationships.

Returning to school can be a tough transition to make and maintaining healthy relationships throughout this transition can help make sure that you have a strong support network as you advance your education. The encouragement of those individuals that you have a close relationship with can be your greatest source of support and motivation. For more information about maintaining healthy relationships during transition and hectic times, check out the December 2012 Issue of Ashford Student Health 101 .

Make your Work Work for You

For many students, coming from both the civilian workforce and military service, there is a common misconception that academic responsibilities differ greatly from those in previous roles. This is often not the case. By recognizing your talents and learning style, you can boost your confidence and ability to succeed in school.

Your success is our top priority at Ashford University. If you have previous corporate training, continuing education programs, credits from national testing programs, or other nontraditional sources of previous learning, they can be assessed for potential college credit. Your transfer credits can include up to 75 non-traditional credits. This can be a combination of ‘prior learning credits’, ‘military credits’, ‘CLEP’ and ‘DANTES’ tests, or other ‘non-traditional credits’.

“Everyone has a variety of interests, so acknowledge your versatility and ability to multi-task.”

Pursuing a New Direction

If you love your work, that’s great! Perhaps you are returning to school to refine your skills and earn a degree that will offer you greater leadership opportunities or earning power.   For some students, the return to school is to support transitioning to a career path that is a better fit or a lifelong passion. Returning to school is a great time to reevaluate your interests. Since you already have experience under your belt, you can examine which tasks you accomplish with relative ease, and which are more of a challenge.

Spend time thoroughly evaluating your roles within the work place or during military service to identify what you liked and didn’t like, and what skills you’d like to develop further. Don’t just focus on the things you did every day, but also those you did occasionally and really enjoyed, or wished you could learn more about.

Everyone has a variety of interests, so acknowledge your versatility and ability to multi-task. Are there aspects of your “unofficial” responsibilities that you’d love to spend more time on? Do you have skills that could be applied to a new field? One great way to find out more information about your career potential is by contacting Career Services. With Career Services, you can find assistance with:

Contact [email protected] for more information related to career advice and guidance. Or visit the Ashford Career Services website .

Tips about transitioning from military service to an academic focus or civilian career

Military Service to Academics and Civilian Careers

Whatever your role has been in the military, you have learned many useful skills, including some that are very specific and highly prized. But veterans sometimes don’t realize that they have had opportunities and have developed skills that will help them find employment in a variety of industries.To win over a potential employer, you need to find the words to describe your military experience in civilian terms. Here are some tips:
  • Employers recognize the value of someone with military experience, but they don’t always understand how military skills fit into corporate America. Clearly make the connection in your cover letter, résumé, and in the job interview.
  • Find out which private sector jobs compare to your specific military duties, and then use words from the civilian job description to craft your résumé.
  • Consult Web sites that help translate your military experience, literally, into language that civilian managers will understand. Some resources include:
    • My Next Move for Veterans.
    • S. Department of Labor, CareerOneStop, Military to Civilian Occupation Translator.
    • S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Career Center.
  • Some veterans feel most comfortable continuing to work for the government in some capacity. If this is the case for you, search for jobs using resources such as the United States Office of Personnel Management’s USAJOBS Web site.
  • You can also talk with fellow veterans and support agencies to get recommendations of specific companies that employ a large number of military veterans.

Tips on showing employers how your previous experience relates to a new position

Leadership and Management Skills You May Not Have Recognized

Here are 12 key skills that many returning students have acquired, but may fail to recognize:
  1. Leadership abilities
  2. Ability to work as a team member and as a team leader
  3. Interpersonal skills: the ability to get along and work with all types of people
  4. Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  5. Ability to give and follow directions
  6. Systematic planning and organization
  7. Ability to conform to rules and structure
  8. Proficiency juggling multiple priorities
  9. Flexibility and adaptability
  10. Self-direction
  11. Specialized technical training
  12. Sensitivity to safety concerns

There’s no reason to limit the kinds of things you learn while in school. This is your opportunity to expand your knowledge, strengthen your current skills, and explore a variety of ways to achieve your goals.

Take Action!

  • Identify the skills and strengths you already have.
  • Consider the knowledge areas you would like to develop and talk them over with a mentor or advisor.
  • Think about whether you’d like to remain in your current field or explore something new.
  • Search for learning opportunities outside the classroom.
  • Identify ways to connect with your fellow students. The AU Facebook page is a great way to start!

By Anthony Everette

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