What is your dream job? My dream career is to be an attorney prosecuting or serving family court.
What are three steps you plan to take to land that dream job? 1) Save enough money so that I can enroll in a Kaplan course to enhance my LSAT score so that I will be considered competitive for the Law School of my choosing. 2) Attend campus events that that will help me learn more about law schools 3) Try to connect with other military spouses who have the same goal of attending law school and building a network that enhances the field of law and paves the way for spouses.
What is one thing your wished you had the courage to do? I am always a little reserved when I first meet someone, but the truth is that I am a really positive, bubbly, outgoing soul. I wish that I had the courage to always be my true self and not shy away during initial encounters.
What is one goal you hope to accomplish by the end of 2014? By the end of 2014, I hope to hold a full-time position so that I can contribute to the household finances. Growing up, I always knew that God instilled in me a potential that is not to be wasted. I enjoy working hard and achieving maximum results. I also want to open a college savings account for my daughter as the cost of education is steadily on the rise.
What is the most recent goal you achieved? How did it feel to accomplish it? I have been struggling with my weight and fitness for 7 years now. Each time that I have taken a step forward, I have made excuses and allowed myself to backtrack. I always seem to have an extra burst of motivation whenever my husband is away training. In the two weeks that he has been gone for JRTC, I have found myself in our community gym everyday with our daughter. I make sure that I complete at least 35 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength before I leave. My daughter patiently waits in her stroller and watches her favorite show, Paw Patrol, or plays with her toys while I do this. It feels amazing to have accomplished this goal, not because I want to be thin, but because I want to be around to see my daughter grow, get married, and have children and I know that it starts with getting my fitness and eating under control.
What are you most proud of? The things in my life that I am most proud of are my commitment to God and my family! God is the pith of my life and through him, all things are possible. I am proud of this amazing family that he blessed me with, a husband who has always been supportive of me and my goals, and a daughter whose smile literally brightens my day EVERYDAY! I am proud of the woman that I have become because of them and I know that I am a better person because of them!
What advice would you give to a new military spouse? To a new military spouse, I would say find your niche, get involved, and be open to meeting new people and turning those meetings into lasting friendships. I encounter many women who would prefer to not get involved because of stigmas associated with groups such as FRG that are meant to be supportive, informative, and helpful! I made some lasting friendships by way of getting involved with the FRG and learned that there are so many resources that spouses ought to take advantage of! Though my husband and I were both born and raised in Fayetteville and have our families here with us in town, we understand that for some people, this is not home, this is not where your family is, but you can build a family here if you are open to trying new things and meeting new people.
What challenges have you faced because you are a woman? I have had challenges asserting myself as a jack of all trades. I have heard some people say that they think military spouses sit at home and don't do much of anything, but I try my best to lead by example. I am an active member of my church, I hold a bachelor's degree in Psychology from UNC Chapel Hill, I am in the process of applying to a part-time law school program, I currently work part time for a Real Estate Management company while searching for full-time employment, I take care of my daughter during the day (the best job), and I still find a way to keep a semi-clean house.
What is the most challenging thing about being a military spouse? What is the most rewarding thing?
For me, the most challenging thing about being a military spouse is having to deal with your service member being away especially during milestones, holidays, and other momentous events. Currently, my husband is at JRTC and was not home for our daughter's first birthday. We made the best of the situation by celebrating with all of our family and friends 2 weeks before her actual birthday! It is sad that he was not home to see our big girl turn one, but we understand that this is the nature of the job, this is what you sign up for and we have been blessed to have had him home for other events!
In terms of professional development, my experience has been that it can be difficult (not impossible) to get yourself going in a career due to the responsibilities that come with being a military spouse. Also, the job market of the area that you're in can play a huge factor in the ability to obtain employment as well as your skill set and education. My experience has been that I am often times over or under qualified for many of the positions I apply for. There is not a whole lot of a happy medium.
The most rewarding thing for me is to hear people say "I don't know how you do it". Truthfully, I don't do nearly as much as my husband, I mean he is the one actually doing the physicality portion of serving his country. I am his support system and I have learned to keep busy when duty calls. When my husband and I were engaged, he had two deployments and it was my family, friends, and college experience that got me through him being away, but whenever someone tells me that they "could never date a military guy" or "don't understand how I do it", I smile on the inside because it reassures a certain strength within me.
What is one obstacle you have faced on a personal level, as a military spouse that you would have never expected? I think access to higher education while being able to maintain a life inside the home is a challenge for me that I never expected. Even before I had my daughter and was contemplating a higher education program, I knew that it could potentially mean having to spend the next 3-4 years residing in a different city and focusing on school. The closest law school is Campbell University and is an hour away from Fayetteville (their law school is located in Raleigh) which means that I would have to commute daily. Many schools don't offer a part time option, or if they do, it means having to commute at night but this is difficult if you have limited access to childcare in the evenings and especially considering that with the military there isn' t always an "off by 5 rule". There should be a way for military spouses to have access to the higher education programs of their choosing while being able to maintain a life in the home such as part-time day programs.
How has being a military spouse helped you grow on a personal level? Being a military spouse has matured me in many ways and it has also helped me to establish quite a bit of independence. For example, when my husband left for JRTC, I told myself that I would keep busy to 1) make the time pass and 2) prove to myself that I could run the household on my own with him away. It is the first time that he has been gone for an extended period since our daughter was born. Since he has been gone, I have worked, gotten the bills paid, travelled to the gym everyday, taken my daughter out for frozen yogurt, story time and to the park, and gone to church every single Sunday. This may not sound like a lot but I grew up mostly sheltered and in the home; I didn't learn to drive until I was 23 and only because I was pregnant and had no choice. These experiences enable me to help new spouses that sometimes have trouble understanding that maybe their husband will have a 24 hour duty, or week long field exercise and they won't get to communicate with them.
As a military spouse, I know one thing for certain, it is . . . that God would not have placed us in the position of being a spouse if he didn't absolutely know that we are capable of handling the challenges that come with such a role!
My biggest fear is . . . living a life with an unfulfilled potential!
When I grow up I want to be . . . Well, I am already grown up, but ultimately, I want to be an example and an inspiration to others. I want people to know that I lived a life that served God first and that all of the success I encountered followed after making the choice to give my life to God. I want to be a positive role model and a believer and doer of God's word.
In 2050, I hope women are/can/have . . . I hope that in 2050, women can have the careers that they absolutely dream of having without their spouse's career trumping their goals and dreams. I hope to see more programs like this that advocate for women and their career goals that additionally assist in matching women with their career interests.
What is your legacy? My legacy will be to never let obstacles stand in the way of doing what you love! Find the resilience within and put your faith in GOD!