College degrees and the military.

Five plus years ago – it was March 2010.  I was visiting Rob in Maryland over spring break.  When he picked me up at the airport, we went out to the parking garage at Baltimore Washington International Airport.  He loaded my bags in the trunk and got down on one knee.  He was wearing his ACU’s and around his neck was a second set of dogtags.  They said “Will you marry me Amanda Dawn” and a shiny ring was threaded through the chain.

I, of course, said yes.

By the end of that week we had gone down to the courthouse in Annapolis, Maryland and I was a wife and Rob was my husband.

After that trip in March I returned back to Kansas to finish off the last semester at the local community college.  In May of that year I graduated with an Associate of Arts degree before loading my little Toyota Corolla up to join Rob across the country.

At the time I had every intention of continuing my education.  I wanted to be a teacher while I was doing my Associates.  But by the time I looked back into classes, I was ready for something else.  So I dabbled in interior design for a session at the community college in Maryland.  I had a come-to-Jesus moment and realized our plans of moving back to the Midwest after the military didn’t really support an interior design degree.

Enter graphic design.

The next year we had loaded that same Toyota Corolla, a Honda Civic and a moving truck down and started the trip back to Kansas.  I was going to live in a one bedroom apartment with the dog while Rob spent a year in Kuwait.  The perfect time to finish my schooling.

So I signed up to take online classes and two years later I graduated last summer with a Bachelor of Science in Multimedia Design and Development with a Web Design emphasis.

It took me 6 years after graduating from high school to get my degree finished.  Six long, painful years.

There are a couple of things I would have changed about that path.

For starters, I would have not dilly-dallied around about what to major in.  Changing my major three times added extra semesters that were nothing but a waste of money.

Then there is the money side of it.  As a military spouse of a service member E-5 and lower (at the time)… I was qualified for MyCAA certifications among other degree paths.  Had I looked into this form of tuition assistance I could have spent a year or two gaining an education that would easily transfer and not cost us a lot out of pocket.  If there is one thing that needs to be shouted from the rooftops, it is the MyCAA program and how it benefits military spouses nationwide.

Martinsburg College is one school that does its part to help military spouses master a portable career.  Since 2004 Martinsburg College has worked closely with the military community in an effort to assist service members and their families with their unique lifestyle.  By providing a sophisticated learning management system and providing easy to use learning resources, Martinsburg College has over a 95% satisfaction rate among past students.

So if you are getting an education and the spouse of an E-5 or lower – do your research.  The MyCAA program is there to help you – just like Martinsburg College.  You deserve an education and you deserve to not stress about how you are going to get it.

For more information about MyCAA and Martinsburg College, please visit this special Facebook group full of helpful resources and information for military spouses.

Disclosure - I received compensation for this post, but all opinions and stories are my own.

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  1. My husband goes to Troy University online and it is very military friendly. Having a school that knows the ins and outs of military life makes life much easier.

  2. It's never too late though to get an education!!

  3. You should be proud of your degree, no matter how long it took! You've done a lot great things for your husband, daughter and so many are a huge asset to so many!

    I wish I would have known more about the MYCAA! I was lead to believe by a school it was only for degrees in the medical field and totally wasted my MyCAA :(

  4. I agree with Heather - you should be proud no matter the completion date. I graduated with my BA the same month as my ten year date from high school graduation.

    Though I would have loved to have known about MyCAA from the get go it wouldn't have mattered - seeking my BA degree and having already graduated with my AS (too many credits) I did not qualify. That was a super bummer HOWEVER I am super thankful for all of the wonderful scholarships the post organizations offer. That is another piece of advice for military spouses. Check every military org on your current post or nationwide. They do offer scholarships for spouses and any extra penny these days could help.

  5. Well done for sticking through it and getting your degree!! That takes a lot of determination!!

  6. It's not for CG spouses though!

  7. I wish they had MYCAA open to all spouses instead of restricting it by rank. They complain that not enough people are using it and then they restrict it. Boo!