One of the hardest things about being a military spouse is having to uproot your life and move. A new place means new challenges. This lifestyle can take you to a new city, state, or even country. Whatever the circumstances of the move, it’s a difficult transition and one to which I can relate.
My Husband and I moved to Jacksonville a little over a year ago from our hometown where I spent the last 23 years growing up. My only voyages outside our city limits were short vacations and last-minute road trips. So when I found myself in the largest city by area in the lower forty-eight, let just say, I was a tad overwhelmed. There was so much to do, so much to see, and I had no idea where to begin.
I spent the first three months cooped up in our one-bedroom apartment, feeling afraid of the world and completely overwhelmed. I needed a purpose: something to make me feel validated. I decided I wanted to go back to college at the University of North Florida, a decision that has continuously rewarded me.
On the first day of class at UNF I was extremely nervous. Although I had taken college classes before I had never attended a university. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I remember being pleasantly surprised that first day of the summer semester. My teacher was fantastic, the campus was gorgeous, and everyone was so helpful and friendly. My classmates quickly turned into friends. It was a great way to learn about the best places to go in the city, from the people who knew it best. I even got a great part-time job that a classmate of mine told me about.
The Military & Veterans Resource Center has also been crucial to this transition for me. They offer all kinds of assistance from counseling to tutoring. The office is warm and welcoming, and the staff really goes above and beyond to provide any assistance they can. When you first walk into their office there is a lounge with a TV, free coffee and even a refrigerator for those long days on campus when you have to pack a lunch. They conduct workshops throughout the semester that cover non-academic subjects like paid internships, mock interviews, and resume writing. I found their resume-writing workshop particularly useful in preparing me for my internship applications.
Attending college at UNF is easily one of the best decisions I have made. It has helped me meet new people. It has made me feel proud of myself. It has strengthened my relationship with my husband, and I am hoping it will help me stay strong through our first deployment. The Military & Veterans Resource Center especially, has made all of the difference. But the best thing about going to school at UNF is the way it makes me feel about myself. I feel empowered. I feel important. I know that I have endless opportunities at my fingertips and I know that I can make a difference.
Written by – Jenni Kowsh
Military & Veterans Resource Center
1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville, Florida 32224
Building 57, Suite 2700
Phone: Phone: (904) 620-5131
Fax: (904) 620-5900
Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30a.m – 6:30p.m.
Friday 8:30a.m. – 5:00p.m.