As a military spouse we encounter a lot of added stresses such as deployment, financial strain, and above all single parent-hood.Have you ever asked yourself, ” how will I make it through nursing school married to the military? I have been a Navy spouse for 7 years as of February. I decided that I wanted to take my career to the next level. In 2011, I decided to enroll in school to become a Registered Nurse. In the beginning there were not very many pressures due to the fact my husband had just gotten home from a deployment, and it would be a long period of time before he deployed again. Now we have another deployment “looming” in the very near future, I have discovered the pressures have increased ten fold. Since my service member will be leaving soon I have found it hard to accomplish reading my chapters for the next semester due to not being able to think about anything but spending time with him. Personally, it has led me to wonder, can I tackle a deployment while being enrolled in a full-time nursing program? But when I think of the implications of not completing what I have already started, as if the months of attending school will have been for nothing, my motivation for surviving school during a deployment returns. Ladies and gentlemen, if you can survive one deployment with children then you can survive a deployment while attending a full-time nursing program. Even though the separation during these types of events are not easy, one piece of advice that had been entrusted to my by a fellow spouse had been to stay busy. Therefore, with day-to-day management of your household, work, children, and school this part of it will fly by. Here are a few tips on how to cope with the separation from your service member while also managing your stress levels during the semester:
1. Get plenty of rest.
3. Make plenty of time for your studies so you do not feel so rushed to consume all of the information at once.
4. In order to cope with separation from your spouse, spend some time making a themed care package. One that will have some significance to your service member once he or she receives it. For Example: The last deployment I sent my husband an, I Love the 80’s themed care package. When we are home on the weekends that is one of our favorite shows to watch. Plus, we are both 80’s babies.
5. Take time to just get out of the house to do something fun. You deserve it!
6. If you have children set a schedule that you follow everyday to include all of your activities for that week, and stick to it. In this instance, you will find your time management will improve drastically. Make sure when writing this schedule that you include time for homework and studies. The general rule for this is you need to allow yourself 2-3 hours of study time per credit hour. Do not overload your schedule if you feel like you cannot handle the study time involved. It will interfere with your financial aid, and could possibly put you one academic probation. Make sure you e-mail a copy of this schedule to your spouse so that they do not attempt to call during your class hours. I know that it’s difficult for the service member to predict when they will have time to call home, but this will give them an idea. That you don’t miss their phone call, because we all know it could be a while before they can call again. It’s always nice to hear their voice on the line when we have had a difficult day.
7. If you are worried about child care for your little one check to see if your college has a child care center to watch him or her during your time on campus. The maximum is usually 3 hours a day.
8. Realize you cannot do it all. Your not “Tinkerbell” the laundry can wait an extra day or to. Your studies come first.
9. If you find you are having difficulties coping with deployment talk to someone about it. Utilize the resources out there that can help you make it through with out having a nervous breakdown.
10. The Armed Forces Y.M.C.A has fitness classes, mommy and me classes, and respite care to give you some extra “me” time when it is desperately needed. The best part is it’s all free.
11. When deployment begins coming to a close, make time to plan for homecoming and the adjustment period your spouse will have to go through. If you cannot take time off from school, make sure you spend all the time you can with your service member on the weekends. Notify your professor that you will not be able to attend class, and why. Most of the time they will understand if you have a test or quiz, and will allow you to make it up.