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Your Career

One Sailor's Experience with Career Intermission - Part 3

Starting College

As predicted, this month has been a whirlwind. I made the 16 hour road trip from Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I started college full-time and I've been working out a few kinks in my Navy status. Shocking, right?

Graphic on Career Intermission Blog

Graphic on Career Intermission Blog

Everything seemed fine as I was going through the process of separating from the Navy, and I followed OPNAV 1330.2 precisely and asked questions when I had them. So it came as a surprise to me when I discovered I only had $76.83 in my checking account on New Year's Eve. I was expecting my end of month paycheck at the end of December, since I'd separated on the 29th. DFAS wasn't having it. The first of January came and went and I didn't see that last paycheck. I got in contact with my separation clerk in Maryland and the Career Intermission Program manager in Virginia, and through a bit of detective work, they were able to get me my end of month pay by the middle of the month.

Another contributing factor to January's financial woes was that I literally had no idea that you couldn't collect Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits in the first month of classes. Those payments from the VA are postdated one month; my academic advisor at school let me in on that one, the first day of classes. Had I anticipated these things happening, I would have been much more financially prepared, and usually I am. It's just this post-holiday time that's always challenging for me, even when I am getting paid.

My family has basically kept my life from becoming a complete catastrophe. My parents live a mile away and since my older brother is in town, we have family dinner at their house every night. My wife has been working and was able to cover the bills during this awkward transition. It becomes clearer every day that there's no way I could do this without them. My family has always been there for me and I think when I was out in the fleet, I really took that for granted. Being able to engage with them face to face every day has given me a new appreciation of how awesome they are. I'm also super excited because next week, they'll be able to be a part of my reenlistment ceremony. Yeah, you read that right. I totally forgot to reenlist to fulfill the terms of the program, and since it wasn't covered in the OPNAV, they just let me walk out the door without any terms of obligated service. So I will go to my local recruiting district and swear to support and defend the Constitution yet again. It's not the way that I would have liked to do it, but I think it will be special to have my family there.

I think some of these challenges that I'm having right now are allowing me to really put things in perspective. Regardless if I do or don't get paid again, this is an amazing opportunity that I have and all of my basic human needs are being met. I have food, wi-fi and shelter. As long as I have those things, I can be patient while everything else falls into place.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of MC2 Timberlake's blog.