The next concept to take hold of in the REINS (Resume, Education, Interview, Networking, and Service) of transition discussion is Education. Many people fail to realize how fortunate we are to have had the military professional development models in place, and leaders pushing us to continue the education process, whether military education or civilian.

I have discovered, since my recent retirement, the civilian world pretty much expects you to already have your education completed. You either have it, or you don’t. With that in mind, I want to encourage everyone to make the transition in your minds to becoming a life-long learner. Like the resume timeline, the best time to start your post-secondary education is immediately after graduating high school, the second best time is now.

As a military member or veteran, we have tremendous resources available to start, continue, and complete our education goals. Even though civilian organizations don’t put the same emphasis or resources toward your education, they are looking for lifelong learners. If you are not pursuing some sort of next level education degree, then you are getting further and further behind. If you’ve completed the highest level of education you desire, then I recommend certificate programs or other credentialing programs.

If you are a procrastinator (welcome to the club) then you might need to get an accountability partner or mentor to help you stay on course. I hear time and time again about how much is going on in life and there isn’t any time for school. I will admit there are some very rare occasions when I might recommend someone wait a semester or so to let things settle down, but most of the time, I find it to be a discipline issue. We get comfortable at where we are at, the lifestyle we currently have, and forget to think far enough ahead to the future until it’s too late and we’re playing catch up.

I recommend getting yourself into a rhythm of learning; a set time each day to devote to your learning. It doesn’t have to be the same time each day, but the same amount of time each day or week will give you a good start on getting started and staying committed to reaching your education goals.

This world continues to evolve, and education will continue to evolve as well. If you spend the time now to become a lifelong learner, the investment will pay off in the future. You’ll be better prepared when opportunities come your way (take a look at, you’ll set a great example for your team and your children, and you’ll become a better, more rounded, and enlightened human being; and we all know how much this world needs more people like this!

At Trident, we are passionately committed to helping you reach your goals so give us a call and let us partner with you for success.

This is part three of a six-part blog series about preparing for your military to civilian transition. Here is part one and part two.

Mark A. Weedon is Trident’s National Director of Strategic Alliances and a 29-year military veteran. An avid learner, Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is currently working on a Master of Science in Human Relations. Learning more about Trident’s resources for veterans and active duty military members.