NMFA Scholarships Help Military Spouses Go the Distance!


Not long ago, I decided it was time to make a change in my life. This change would not come at a very convenient time of our life.

My husband and I have five children–all teenagers. He was preparing for retirement from a career that he loved, and I was thinking of starting my own. At 35 years old, with kids who needed less and less of me, I found the time to think about doing something inconvenient. Up until then, I worked years as a preschool teacher, substitute teacher, teacher assistant, and even a bus driver!

But I did all those things because they were convenient. It was convenient for me to be at school with my kids. It was convenient for me to be highly available to a large family who needed me very much. But now what? I managed to go to school part-time for fifteen years at six different colleges in four different states, and had no clear idea of what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up.’

I lost my love for the classroom. I am thankful for those connections to my kid’s schools, but their idea of Mom hanging around middle and high school is not what it was in elementary school! I was no longer Room Mom or Team Mom for them.

I had to think about who I was to me. And I had no clue.

I have always had a flare for health and fitness, and started to focus on that. It became my new motivation, and I realized this was it! I headed back to college and earned an Associate of Science Degree (Summa Cum Laude). But before I graduated from Tidewater Community College, I figured out that distance learning would be my best option as I continued on to my Bachelor’s degree. So I began taking classes at Kansas State University’s Distance Dietetics Program.

I will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics in 2019, and become a Registered Dietitian. I finally figured out what I wanted to do! Now, I attend school part time and am home to help the kids when they need me (they still do!) I also support my husband in pursuit of his next career. My distance education is allowing me to realize my own dreams right alongside of my family as they realize their dreams.

The National Military Family Association has awarded me scholarships to help combat one of the inconveniences of college…tuition!  These scholarships are special to me because they reflect my efforts on my own behalf. This organization is truly dedicated to the concerns and betterment of military spouses.

Going back to school is not always convenient, but dreams usually aren’t. I would never encourage my kids to stop pursuing a dream because it wasn’t convenient. I didn’t ask my husband not to build a small business after retirement because it wasn’t convenient. And I no longer tell myself not to go after a career because it’s not convenient.

I am going the distance!

Are you a military spouse going the distance? Let NMFA help take away the financial burden–applications for scholarships and professional funding are being accepted now through June 30, 2017! With thousands of dollars available through multiple partner schools, you’re bound to find your calling!

Posted by Heather Wooden, military spouse and NMFA Scholarship Recipient

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