Commentary: Take advantage of education opportunities military offers

Commentary: Take advantage of education opportunities military offers

by Tanaja Kristine
Stripes Okinawa

Being a soldier is an exciting job. But not everyone who joins the military makes it a career, even if they had intentions to do so when they signed up. But no matter how long you serve, you should take advantage of the great educational opportunities the military provides to help prepare for a life as a civilian.

A year after soldiers complete advance individual training, they are eligible for tuition assistance, also known as TA. Once they received TA, the military covers most of the schooling costs. It may take a while to get the degree, but it’s worth it when you’re bettering yourself.

SPC Brandon Armendariz graduated from AIT in November 2013 and applied for TA when he got back from a nine-month tour to Korea in February 2015. He started online classes in May at University of Alaska Fairbanks to help him reach his dream of building and owning a hotel resort.

He plans on starting his hotel in Orlando, Fla. He envisions 200 rooms, a few pools, shops and exquisite food.

“I joined the military for schooling purposes,” said Amendariz, whose enlistment is up in August 2017. “So after my contract is done, I’m going to get out and start preparing my hotel resort.”

“I met a few of my potential investors through military connections,” he said, “I just have to keep going after my dream.”

He hopes to get his degree in business, do some work in project management during his off time. His ultimate goal? Getting the hotel up and running four years after he gets out of the service.

Even though Armendariz is getting out of the military for his own personal reasons, others don’t have an option. Sgt. Terrence Holder suffered a knee injury and was medically discharged in July. But during his six years in the military, Holder took colleges classes.

“The Army told me I couldn’t continue with my contract, so, sadly, I was done,” Holder said. “But I am going to open my own car detailing shop in North Carolina, it’s already in process.”

He has a location locked in and is getting ready to buy a shop. He has the equipment ready to start washing and detailing cars.

Holder’s business will be called T&M Golden Touch. He plans to have two shops in North Carolina, hoping to pass one on to his son. The plan is for the first shop to open in April 2016.

“You can get your car washed, and the inside cleaned thoroughly,” he said. “We’ll also do window tinting.”

Although I love the military and once had thoughts of making a career of it, I have decided to focus on finishing up my degree and pursue a career in journalism. I am scheduled to get out of the Army in August 2017.

It’s not a bad thing if you don’t do 20 years. What matters is that you make the most of your time in the service and take advantage of the opportunities you are given.   

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