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I have no idea what to do with my life.

Frask Frask Registered User new member
I'm in the military, in 5 months I'm going to be a civilian again and I'm fucking terrified. I’m really stressed out right now and I don’t know how I’m going to make a living.

I struggled in school due to ADHD that was only recently diagnosed, and medication hasn’t been entirely effective. I’m not even sure the VA will cover me when I get out and I still have a lifetime of shitty coping mechanisms and bad habits to overcome. I feel really silly even admitting that I have ADHD because most people think it’s a joke. The meds help a bit, but I feel guilty for needing them.

I know I’ll have my GI benefits, but I really don’t know what to do with them. The only thing I’m even remotely good at is art. I’m nowhere near the professional level, and even if I was it’s not a stable or reliable income. I love reading about microbiology, genetics, and epidemiology, but I really doubt I have the aptitude to work in a related field and my academic history doesn’t instill any confidence.

I hate to admit this, but I’m jealous of my friends and family. My step-brother never struggled in school and always had a knack for math. He was smart enough to party his way through college while graduating with a degree and CS and immediately landed a nice job. He’s generally very happy and has plenty of time to socialize. I work 12-18 hours a day and I barely have time to maintain any friendships or hobbies. I’m stationed outside of Seattle, and the handful of people I know are programmers. It’s hard not to feel inadequate when they constantly get to eat out and have fun in the city while I have to abstain because I know my budget can’t handle it.

I’d like to stay in the area, but I doubt I’d be able to afford it. The closer I come to the end of my enlistment the more stressed/depressed I get. I really don’t know what to do.

Posts

  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    first thing is to make sure your finances are in order - consolidate debts if you have them, quantify what you've got and what you owe. seems simple but honestly money is the one thing that stresses people out more than anything, and the best way to cope with money is to be organized with it - even if you don't have much of it

    it sounds like you're quite close to your family. i would suggest you lean on them. don't be too proud to crash with your parents or your brother if the option is there. life was not designed to be lived alone - family is the best way you can stay sane and grounded when you're uncertain in other areas. some people don't have this benefit, but if you can leverage it for a bit more time, do it.

    other than that, take your time, but have plans - get a resume together, decide on whether there's any academic area or industry you're interested in getting into, check out how feasible it is, make decisions and go for it. i know it's easy to fall into a sense of hopelessness but you must understand that nothing is beyond you. some people find they need to work harder than others, but hard work makes a habit of itself and it's a good habit to have.

    sC4Q4nq.jpg
    Nocren
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    You really don't have to be a genius to work in science, it's a more complicated subject at school because you're trying to cover an enormous range of topics - but when you're working in the field you're really just focused on one and things are so specific that a vast majority of places assume they'll need to train you up anyway to use the specific instruments and give you the background info on whatever protein, biomarker or assay you're using. As with almost all of these kind of things, they're not actually hard - just very specialised.

    It's different if you're looking at academia and post-docs, but you're not - you're looking more at a research assistant or analyst role by the sound of things, then perhaps deciding to take things further once you've found the area that you're particularly interested in.

    If it's something that interests you, and you find it easy to learn new techniques and get your head around new concepts - then definitely go for it, especially if there's jobs in your area.

    schussDis'UsagiZilla360Skeithkime
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    Frask wrote: »
    I'm in the military, in 5 months I'm going to be a civilian again and I'm fucking terrified. I’m really stressed out right now and I don’t know how I’m going to make a living.

    I struggled in school due to ADHD that was only recently diagnosed, and medication hasn’t been entirely effective. I’m not even sure the VA will cover me when I get out and I still have a lifetime of shitty coping mechanisms and bad habits to overcome. I feel really silly even admitting that I have ADHD because most people think it’s a joke. The meds help a bit, but I feel guilty for needing them.

    I know I’ll have my GI benefits, but I really don’t know what to do with them. The only thing I’m even remotely good at is art. I’m nowhere near the professional level, and even if I was it’s not a stable or reliable income. I love reading about microbiology, genetics, and epidemiology, but I really doubt I have the aptitude to work in a related field and my academic history doesn’t instill any confidence.

    I hate to admit this, but I’m jealous of my friends and family. My step-brother never struggled in school and always had a knack for math. He was smart enough to party his way through college while graduating with a degree and CS and immediately landed a nice job. He’s generally very happy and has plenty of time to socialize. I work 12-18 hours a day and I barely have time to maintain any friendships or hobbies. I’m stationed outside of Seattle, and the handful of people I know are programmers. It’s hard not to feel inadequate when they constantly get to eat out and have fun in the city while I have to abstain because I know my budget can’t handle it.

    I’d like to stay in the area, but I doubt I’d be able to afford it. The closer I come to the end of my enlistment the more stressed/depressed I get. I really don’t know what to do.

    Alright first off it sounds like you should talk to someone about your stress. I know it sounds corny but the chaplain is honestly great for this. Another option is to go to Fleet and Family/Family Support Services who will get you in touch with a counselor. Another option is to get psychiatric help through medical. Point is find a qualified person you can talk to face to face about your stress.

    Next up, if you're separating, you ideally should have already gone through what's called the Transition Assistance Program/TGPS but it sounds like you might not have. It's a week long class meant to help you with resume writing, education entitlements, health benefits, etc. If you haven't then contact Fleet and Family/Family Support Services to get it scheduled ASAP. Besides that Fleet and Family/Family Support Services provides access to other classes to help with transition. Ask them about those, figure out which might be best for you, and get them scheduled. These classes include more detailed information about resumes, budgeting, and so on.

    Besides that, whatever you've been doing for the military you're presumably qualified for. While it's not ideal you can likely get a government job in a similar specialty either directly or via contracting. While it's probably not what you want to do, having a steady job makes it a lot easier to take your time and decide what you do enjoy. Once again, Fleet and Family/Family Support Services can help you learn how to apply for those jobs.

    Finally, if anyone gets on your case about missing work for this stuff tell them to shove it. You're separating in five months. You just gave them the last few years of your life and now it's time to take care of you.

    NocrenASimPersonEvigilant
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    While being smart helps, there are far more successful people out there that got there through discipline and hard work than simple smarts. My buddy and I graduated from college at the same time, and we're both doing well. I would say I'm objectively slightly smarter than him, but he has 10 times the dedication to learning and work than I do. As a consequence, he makes a lot more and is further in his career. He deserves it.
    Don't let any perceived "dumbness" prevent you from doing what you love, because if you love it, you'll get through it and be more effective than you could ever imagine.

    Pacificstar
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    College is about learning new things, not just polishing the things you are good at. Your GI benefits will make going back to school a very easy and affordable thing to do and you should take advantage of that. Go to a public school offered through your state (that is accredited) and make use of their Career Center and Veterans Academic Services office asap. Both resources are specifically equipped to help you transition into civilian life and help you find out what you want to do with yourself for the next few years.

    School isn't about the rest of your life, it's about opening a few doors for the next 5-10 years. What you do during those years will determine the next 5-10 and so forth. Don't freak out about not knowing what you are going to do with the rest of your life, that's pretty much everyone! Make a short term plan and stick to it, then adjust it and extend it as you go.

    As a warning, there are a ~lot~ of private and proprietary schools that offer amazing employment promises and packages, but aren't accredited and are essentially scams. Go through an accredited public institution. The rule of thumb for college is if they are advertising on TV you probably don't want to go there.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Don't compare your blooper reel to someone else's highlight reel. You cant know what other peoples lives are like, though they seem to have it all together most of us are just fumbling along trying to make the best of things too.

    BouwsTschussIrukaTamWassermeloneQuidSkeithSCREECH OF THE FARGkimeSiskaVivixenneJimbo
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    I'd like to point out that you are already at a distinct advantage solely based on your decent writing ability. You have communicated your situation very well and are receiving appropriate feedback based on your ability to crystallize your thoughts and feelings without glaring spelling and grammar errors.

    Holy shit, are you ahead of the game!

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    RichyBouwsTschussAiouaCelestialBadgerZilla360DoctorArchSkeithkime
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    Some really good suggestions in here, so I won't belabor this too much, but I'd like to just point out that you don't have to use your GI benefits. Sure, having a degree can make things easier, but it's not a career guarantee and honestly it's totally ok if school isn't your thing!

    If you feel comfortable with it and you're looking for career path suggestions, letting the thread know what your specialty is might be helpful, but just as an example I personally know many people working in the trades for good wages in the Seattle metro area.

  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    edited December 2014
    Usagi wrote: »
    Some really good suggestions in here, so I won't belabor this too much, but I'd like to just point out that you don't have to use your GI benefits. Sure, having a degree can make things easier, but it's not a career guarantee and honestly it's totally ok if school isn't your thing!

    If you feel comfortable with it and you're looking for career path suggestions, letting the thread know what your specialty is might be helpful, but just as an example I personally know many people working in the trades for good wages in the Seattle metro area.

    I haven't looked into it lately, not being a GI, but tuition didn't USED to be the only benefit. There were also some small business loan/home buying possibilities. Granted, that info may not be current, but I would say two things for sure - talk to someone who actually knows about your exact benefits, and how long you have to use them and don't be afraid to talk to a psychological professional. It seldom hurts.

    Jobwise, lifewise, one assumes you're in decent shape and you have recent employment history, and those are "pros" - there are also some specific companies and industries that are very military friendly, and not just things like being a cop.

    Educationally, you might be able to apply some military training as credit - be a little alert about how you use your benefits. There are for-profit schools that court veterans heavily like University of Phoenix. They aren't necessarily totally evil, but they will try to insinuate themselves and crowd out options where you can get same or better education cheaper and possibly faster, like state schools.

    You might think about taking a little time off. Your life has probably been pretty regimented and a real decompression somewhere for at least a few weeks might lend some clarity. Even if you can't afford or don't want to go someplace like another country, the US is BIG. Go someplace with different food, different weather. I highly recommend just driving around the southwest a little once in your life. Hit yellowstone or the grand canyon - believe it or not, they deliver. Maybe see some family or service friends in another part of the country you'd like to check out?

    JohnnyCache on
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    A good friend of mine just got out this year, and talking to him recently he is going back to finish his BA and a masters for free, and is getting like $1300 a month while he is in school. While that's not exactly baller status money, it's a hell of a lot more than what most people make going to school let alone school for free.

    Also don't shy away from school just because you weren't great at is in the past. My buddy enlisted because he was failing out of college more or less. But he's doing much better now, maybe it's all the discipline and perseverance and shit the commercials say the military instills into you, Maybe it's just he's grown up /calmed down in the last 6 years.

    6ylyzxlir2dz.png
  • JohnnyCacheJohnnyCache Starting Defense Registered User regular
    college as a slightly older person is a VASTLY different experience than "the college experience" that a 18, 19 year old signs up for. Tends to be much more business-like and you tend to have more empathy with, and get more empathy from, faculty and staff.

    bsjezzdavidsdurionsCelestialBadgerPacificstarEvigilantSkeithNijaJimbo
  • Disco11Disco11 Registered User regular
    Have you ever thought of going into a trade? They are usually in high demand and the pay 9in my experience) usually beats most college education level jobs.

    PSN: Canadian_llama
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    If you are interested in medical stuff, why not see what careers there are for medical technicians/nurses/etc. You could use your GI benefits to get a nursing degree, and nurses are always in demand. "A degree" doesn't have to be in Computer Science to be worthwhile. There are plenty of hands-on careers that a degree can lead to.

    tapeslinger
  • EvigilantEvigilant VARegistered User regular
    I was in the Army for 12 years and both separated and graduated from college last year. Here's some things I did and would have liked to have known before getting out:
    • Before you separate, talk to a benefits person. Write it down. Know exactly what you're entitled to.
    • Use the VA and go often enough but be wary of how much medication they will give you. Honestly though, the VA hospital in my area was great and there were no waiting times. Registration and enrolling however was a huge pain in the ass, so knock that out as soon as possible.
    • Talk with a counselor. It's never a bad idea to talk to a professional about mental health. It's their job to listen to you and help out, it's your job to talk to them.
    • Talk more with other vets. Either friends you know, or go to the VA or VFW and find people you can talk with. No one else in the world quite understands what you're going through like another vet will. Talk to older vets too, because they'll usually have some advice about how to get through some tough and trying times. You will find that there is a huge community of veterans whom all have your back.
    • You may be getting out of the military, but that doesn't mean whatever friends you have while in are gone. Keep up the contact, especially in this day and age with technology it's insanely easy.
    • Look at military-member banks (like USAA and Navy Fed and what not) and enroll. A heads up though, if you choose Navy Fed enroll BEFORE you separate out. USAA is pretty baller too.
    • If you go to school, go full time and use all of your GI bill benefits. By the time I graduated, I had 3 months left of my benefit, which I plan to eventually use towards a masters degree. It's not a huge chunk of change, but it's usually enough so that income isn't that much of a worry. This allows you to pick up a job and work the hours you want, because you don't have to stress about paying so many bills.
    • Use college to explore things you're interested in. Take some fun and interesting courses, don't just focus purely on getting the degree. Obviously, if you choose to go to school, get a degree in something you have interest in, but also use it to find out what interests you.
    • Take your time, don't rush things, do it at the effort you can. It's easy to overwhelm yourself when getting out; but again, what's the rush?

    Gone is the rigidity, the structure and familiar pace of being in the military. I found it liberating honestly, like I got my personality and brain back; but I totally understand how scary it can be for others. The best part of separating and having to make decisions now though is that you're so far ahead of the game, mentally, financially, and stability wise. If you choose to go to school and finish off, absolutely use your GI Bill. Whatever remainder of tuition your GI bill couldn't cover, whatever that amount is so vastly smaller compared to your peers that you are way ahead of the game. When I finished school, I had 8k in student loans from my freshman year, I was a fool and didn't use my GI bill benefit but that was it.

    If you really enjoy your MOS, find a civilian counterpart and see if that's something that might interest you. Find out what kind of training or schooling you need to have in order to get that job, find if companies in your area take interns, etc.

    If you need someone to talk to, send me a PM and I'll give you my personal contact. I'm not in the Seattle area, but I still have a few friends whom are. Also, hit up the military thread in H/A, we're more than willing to listen and help out as best we can.

    Google+ Profile XBL\PSN\Steam\Origin: Evigilant
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    college as a slightly older person is a VASTLY different experience than "the college experience" that a 18, 19 year old signs up for. Tends to be much more business-like and you tend to have more empathy with, and get more empathy from, faculty and staff.

    I want to agree with this more than once, but I can't. So I'll expand on it. The fact that you've been in the military for some time plus your age will mean you'll have an easier time just buckling down and getting shit done, ADHD or no (especially with a 12+ hour workday). If you explain that your meds aren't entirely helpful at keeping it under control, your school will almost certainly work with that. Plus you're not looking at it as just an opportunity to party, and that's big. You'll have more discipline than most of the people you come across in class, and that's what you need to get decent grades. Being smart helps but if you can't get the work done on time you can't get the grade.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
    Quidkime
  • Frask Frask Registered User new member
    edited December 2014
    Just wanted to thank all of you for the advice/encouragement.

    Good news, I worked up the courage to voice my concerns with my boyfriend and he offered to let me move in with him. We were approaching that point in our relationship anyway, and it was something both of us had been meaning to discuss. He doesn't mind if my cut of the rent is proportional to my smaller income. He's been incredibly understanding and supportive considering my work load, stress, and time away from home. Things feel less dreadful now, and excitement is starting to win over.

    Also, my step brother fell in love with Seattle over the course of a few visits and now he's looking to move here come summer.

    Frask on
    davidsdurions
  • silence1186silence1186 Character shields down! As a wingmanRegistered User regular
    Frask wrote: »
    I struggled in school due to ADHD that was only recently diagnosed, and medication hasn’t been entirely effective. I’m not even sure the VA will cover me when I get out and I still have a lifetime of shitty coping mechanisms and bad habits to overcome. I feel really silly even admitting that I have ADHD because most people think it’s a joke. The meds help a bit, but I feel guilty for needing them.

    Don't. Mental illnesses are physical illnesses like any other ailment. There is nothing wrong with taking medicine when you're sick or have a long term condition.

    V wrote:
    Words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

    schusskimedavidsdurionsPAX_SkeletorSilverWindUsagiBouwsTSkeithDashDTam
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Frask wrote: »
    I struggled in school due to ADHD that was only recently diagnosed, and medication hasn’t been entirely effective. I’m not even sure the VA will cover me when I get out and I still have a lifetime of shitty coping mechanisms and bad habits to overcome. I feel really silly even admitting that I have ADHD because most people think it’s a joke. The meds help a bit, but I feel guilty for needing them.

    Don't. Mental illnesses are physical illnesses like any other ailment. There is nothing wrong with taking medicine when you're sick or have a long term condition.

    Seriously. There's nothing wrong with being on meds. Ideally, you'll eventually go off them, but you may not (if it's especially bad) - either way is fine. Having to take meds for ADHD is like other people who need insulin because they're diabetic or blood pressure medication because of genetics.

    davidsdurionsPAX_SkeletorBouwsT
  • NSDFRandNSDFRand FloridaRegistered User regular
    Frask wrote: »
    I'm in the military, in 5 months I'm going to be a civilian again and I'm fucking terrified. I’m really stressed out right now and I don’t know how I’m going to make a living.

    I struggled in school due to ADHD that was only recently diagnosed, and medication hasn’t been entirely effective. I’m not even sure the VA will cover me when I get out and I still have a lifetime of shitty coping mechanisms and bad habits to overcome. I feel really silly even admitting that I have ADHD because most people think it’s a joke. The meds help a bit, but I feel guilty for needing them.

    I know I’ll have my GI benefits, but I really don’t know what to do with them. The only thing I’m even remotely good at is art. I’m nowhere near the professional level, and even if I was it’s not a stable or reliable income. I love reading about microbiology, genetics, and epidemiology, but I really doubt I have the aptitude to work in a related field and my academic history doesn’t instill any confidence.

    I hate to admit this, but I’m jealous of my friends and family. My step-brother never struggled in school and always had a knack for math. He was smart enough to party his way through college while graduating with a degree and CS and immediately landed a nice job. He’s generally very happy and has plenty of time to socialize. I work 12-18 hours a day and I barely have time to maintain any friendships or hobbies. I’m stationed outside of Seattle, and the handful of people I know are programmers. It’s hard not to feel inadequate when they constantly get to eat out and have fun in the city while I have to abstain because I know my budget can’t handle it.

    I’d like to stay in the area, but I doubt I’d be able to afford it. The closer I come to the end of my enlistment the more stressed/depressed I get. I really don’t know what to do.

    Do you have a thread in the art forum? The Kubert school may be for you, they take the GI Bill (I thought about using the post 9/11 there, but opted for a "regular" college because of my own career goals) and is less of a fine arts school and more of an intensive commercial art program geared to get you ready to go into commercial art/illustration, like an atelier, but much more structured.

    What MOS do you have that has you working 18 hour days CONUS (holy shit)?

    Uncle PK
  • ElaroElaro Threadkiller, Harbinger of the Lock GodsRegistered User regular
    I have a cousin who has ADHD and the advice that his father gave was to "Go with your passions". I also have a thought-disturbing ailment, and I can concur. Because what you're passionate about is what you won't forget about; it's what you'll always come back to. My cousin's passion is mechanical things: first he wanted to be a pilot, but he had arthritis, so eventually he became a metalworker and welder, and he's very happy now.

    You have an interest in microbiology? Study it at a community college or university. I swear on all that is true in the universe, it's going to be more interesting than what you learn in high school. Okay, I might not know the quality of cheap US post-secondary education, but look around. At the very least, when you can afford it, get this book. It's the textbook I used in school, and if you can grok it, I don't think you should have problems studying biology.

    And, just generally responding to the thread title, if you don't know what to do with your life, ask yourself "how can I make people less miserable in the long run?" Your future might not be the most comfortable, but at the very least other people will live better lives because of you.

    Derp derp still a smurf
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