by Lindsay Iserman, Guest Contributor
When I received word that I had been awarded an educational grant by Corvias Foundation, I was in shock.
I remember receiving the phone call while I was standing in the check-out line and the news moved me to tears. Fortunately, the cashier was understanding and she even congratulated me. What struck me most about the call was not just being told I had won the grant, but also how I was told. It truly felt like I had earned the grant.
The grant has been a huge help for my professional development. It’s also served as a reminder that people truly value helping military spouses continue their education and pursue their career dreams.
Military spouses like myself often have to put our goals on the back burner for one reason or another, but this grant showed me that my goals are important too.
Military spouses often find career pursuits blocked by a variety of factors, such as money, resources and child care. These are barriers that many people face, but in our case, we also have to deal with frequently moving. This lack of stability can be difficult for career-driven spouses to overcome, so many opt to stay at home to raise the children. Finding the right people for child care is a challenge before you even consider how you’ll pay for it.
Going to school is difficult in a single-income household. Child care is a large expense on its own but then you have to factor in the cost of education, like tuition and books. That’s why financial assistance, like the grant I received from Corvias Foundation, is an important helping hand for pursuing your dream. It has helped me with the cost of my tuition so that my education is less of a financial burden on my family. It has also helped cover some of the costs of child care so that while my husband has been deployed and I’m at school, I can focus on my assignments.
I first learned about the educational grant from Facebook. You never know where you’ll find inspiration to pursue your dreams, but it’s important for all military spouses to know that there are a lot of people out there that want you to succeed. It may take some digging around the Internet, but help is out there.
The best advice I can give is to take advantage of all of the scholarships and other forms of aid that are out there specifically for military spouses.
I would also say that it’s incredibly important that you spend enough time on you. Planning out a future cannot be done in 5 minutes, so you have to spend whatever time is necessary. We all work at different speeds, just make sure you’ve given your dreams the time they deserve.
It can also help to seek out individuals who are going through the same experiences that you are. Even if it’s a pen pal on the Internet, talking with someone who shares your aspirations, challenges and overall situation can make any difficulty a little bit easier.
Even if you are not pursuing professional dreams, you can still be a tremendous help to someone who is. The biggest social change I have faced is going from having a very close and long-term support system to constantly moving and having to rebuild my “village.” It is always a challenge to start over somewhere new, make friends and build a support system.
This is something military spouses know all too well and it’s something we do without complaint for our spouse’s career, but sometimes it’s really, really hard.
To help lessen that burden, communities of all types can support military spouses and their families by simply being welcoming to our coming and going. It can be hard to find friends, a church, a job, etc. knowing that you might only be around for a few months or years. Extending a hand to a military spouse can help them get comfortable with new surroundings and not feel overwhelmed.
These are simple yet important ways the military community can take care of itself. My goal is to take this grant to earn a master’s degree and to put that to use helping members of the military community open small businesses. Because we know the unique challenges of military life, we are the best suited to help others overcome them!
Lindsay Iserman was a 2016 recipient of an educational grant from Corvias Foundation. Originally from Stillwater, Minn., Lindsay is a sophomore pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland-University College. Upon completing her degree, she plans to begin a career helping service members and military families open small businesses. In her free time, Lindsay enjoys traveling, cooking, yoga and spending time with her family. Her husband is Warrant Officer 1 Joshua Schmidt of the U.S. Army and she is the mother of a 2-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son.
Since 2006, Corvias Foundation has equipped hundreds of military spouses with employment resources and education funds to pursue their professional goals. In 2016 they awarded $118,000 to 47 military spouses around the country. For more information about the Covias Foundation Scholarships, visit their website, http://corviasfoundation.org/.