A large part of my life has ended. I closed the doors completely on that day we said goodbye to each other and entering a new and exciting part of our lives. I can clearly recall the day that my husband’s orders for a 15 month deployment landed in my hands. I was still in shock from the overall news but this made it real, there was no way out of this and it was happening. Who would have known that the horrid thought of deployment would change my life for the best?
At this time in my life I had plenty to keep me busy – a two year old, full time job and my home. So why did I feel the need to add something else onto my plate? My husband and I discussed going back to school for a few years and now that he was deploying he wanted me to pursue this goal. Besides having something to keep my mind off the deployment, he wanted me to have security in case he did not return. This tore me apart inside just thinking about it, but I knew it was the right time to do it, and I wanted to do it for him. I swore that I would not look back and get my degree, no matter what.
With the HUGE support of financial aid and utilizing the military discount, I enrolled in classes to obtain my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. People get scared at the thought of debt, trust me, I was too. But the end result was something I had to focus on; I needed to get my hands on that degree. I am in no way saying that getting into debt is okay, but student loans are there for those of us that need it, we shouldn’t feel bad about borrowing money especially since there are so many scholarships and discounts that military spouses are eligible for. My degree cost me half of what I should have paid thanks to the benefits of being a military spouse, I am grateful for that each and every day.
I started classes in July of 2008 and I was stressed about the upcoming deployment, I was afraid that adding to my already busy life, school would ultimately put me over the edge. I didn’t let that break me or deter me from moving forward. I continued in school and shortly after my husband arrived in 2009, I was halfway through. What an accomplishment!
As military spouses we will have many obstacles but it is up to us to use that same strength we use during deployments and separations to have something we can do to further ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a college degree, but how about a certificate program or any type of learning you can use in your life?
Being in college and speaking to other military spouses about why I decided to go to school has always kept that deployment alive for me. I am not sure why but it has always been a reminder of the person I was and how much more resilient I have become since then. I guess I have that deployment to thank.
In 2011 I graduated with my Bachelors and in 2013 I walked down that stage once again, this time with my Masters. Yes I am done with school for now, but I will never be done advocating about continued education – I am passionate about learning.
As for the military, the memories of that deployment slowly fade away and new memories are being created for me and my family. I am not saying farewell to deployments completely, we are a military family and face that possibility in the future – I am however looking at deployment in the face and saying “BRING IT ON”! Who knows what I may accomplish next one?
By: Angela Caban