Most veterans coming back from war are having a tough time getting back into civilian life. For Brittany Becker:
Her life wasn’t moving in the direction she wanted it to.
“I just didn’t have any clearly defined goals, and I just kept waiting for things to happen,” said Becker, 30. “I was wondering why these things weren’t happening. I thought I was doing the right things, but in fact there were a lot of things I wasn’t doing.”
But then Becker heard about a course offered at the College of Marin that is specifically designed to help returning veterans transition to civilian life.
The class, “For veterans: reset your life and thrive,” is offered as part of the college’s community education programming.
The course is taught by Marilyn Spoja and Ann Moreno:
They were inspired by personal connections to start the course, as well as determining what veterans need. Spoja’s son is in the Marines. Moreno’s father was a colonel in the Army.
Spoja and Moreno’s course follows a certain process, presented in stage:
In the first session, the veterans are asked to do self-assessments about their physical and mental health, career aspirations, cost of living, and family and friend support systems.
From there, the veterans go through exercises to identify their strengths and to use this awareness to determine their goals – and how to achieve them.
In the last session, Moreno and Spoja guide their students through the process of reaching milestones and setting priorities. This is the “coaching” part of the course, they said, which continues for the next three months, as they maintain contact with the veterans to make sure they’re following through with the lessons learned in the course.
For veterans like Becker who have trouble adjusting back to civilian life found herself being more proactive in defining her goals after she took the course:
“We’re asking them to listen to themselves,” Moreno said.
“And to give themselves permission to listen to themselves,” Spoja said.