Author Topic: How to maximize my G.I Bill  (Read 3952 times)

MariaMustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
How to maximize my G.I Bill
« on: August 22, 2013, 09:37:38 AM »
Hello Mustachians, I need badasses like you to give it to me straight as far as the best way to maximize my G.I Bill.

Here's the skinny. I have a B.A in Communications, but I worked retail throughout college and continued to do so after I graduated. (I was a manager making decent enough money with no clear ambitions) Then I got a job as a banker and hated it. So I quit knowing I had school money left.

Here are the numbers. I have 9 months of Chapter 30. Which is $1718 a month during the semester. My cost of living expenses, without considering cc payments, is $770 a month. The local community colleges run $89 a credit, and I'm considering getting a certificate in Web Development so I can have some marketable skills, plus use them to freelance on the side for extra income. Plus, I have the opportunity to make $825/mo during the semester doing work study.

After I use up the Chapter 30, I'll have 12 academic months of Post 9/11, which will give me an $1800 housing allowance and pay my tuition up to $18k.  Getting a Paralegal Certificate at Loyola was something I was considering, or maybe doing some post baccalaureate certificate programs at Northwestern University.

OR, pursue an Engineering Management Degree, which could take a few years and require student loan debt.. Or throw my hands up and do nursing.

I'm guessing there's a good pool of various professional backgrounds amongst you mustachians, so I'm looking forward to any advice you would care to offer. Thanks!!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2013, 09:40:14 AM by MariaMustache »

MariaMustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 11:47:24 AM »
*crickets*

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 01:06:48 PM »
Your options are all over the place.  Web Development, paralegal, nursing, or engineering management- it's like you drew them out of a hat!  Is there one of those that you actually want to do?  What made you choose those 4 options?

Since you already have your degree in communications, why aren't you interested in doing something related to that?  What is making you want to go back to school to get another degree instead of working?  Are you unable to get a job in your field? 

It doesn't sound like you have a lot of direction.  I've known several people who went back to school (and back in debt) because they didn't know what they wanted to do with their lives.  Now they are in the same place as they were before, except now they are paying interest, too!

I wouldn't recommend going down a path that requires you to take on debt unless you have a really good reason to do it. 




olivia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 770
  • From Consumerism to Minimalism
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 01:13:59 PM »
What did you like/dislike about retail? And what did you like/dislike about the banking job?  I would try to narrow down the type of work you like and go from there.

If you liked retail because of the interaction with people, then maybe doing web stuff won't make you happy if it means you're on your own most of the time.  Once you figure out the type of work environment you enjoy, then I'd focus on degrees that will allow you to have that type of environment.

davisgang90

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1255
  • Location: Roanoke, VA
    • Photography by Rich Davis
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 01:20:55 PM »
It sounds like the best way to maximize your G.I. Bill is to figure out what you want to do.  Pick one and do it. 

Quickest and worst way to blow through your benefit would be to gadfly around different degree/school options without a clear plan.

mgreczyn

  • Guest
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 10:24:43 PM »
Maria, one vet to another thanks for your service!  I burned 15 months of Chapter 30 getting an MBA, which worked out but as with law school it's very important to choose your venue wisely.  I still have a bunch of chapter 30 left as well as that nice 12 months of Post 9/11 and am also not sure what to do with it, if anything. 

So you know you don't want to do retail or finance, that's a good start and rules out a big chuck of the economy.  You might be well served by vicariously exploring some of these options. Talk to some nurses, web developers, paralegals, etc. I know a lot of non-practicing attorneys, and would generally tread carefully around legal careers, at least in the short run. Before dropping any coin on web development, there may be some free options out there so you can see if you have the skills and enjoy the work.  Codecademy, etc.  Nursing... I have huge amounts of respect for nurses.  Couldn't do it myself. 

Take a look at state benefits.  For example, look into Texas' Hazelwood act, if you're eligible for it then it or something like it in your state it will help stretch that education dollar a LOT farther and you could explore some options. 

I don't know what options are out there for comms majors.

MariaMustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2013, 10:13:29 AM »
Thanks everyone for the feedback. Maybe I should pump the brakes for a bit and take some time to explore my options further.  Before I left the bank I tried finding jobs in the Communications field, but it seemed like I lacked any technical skills, so that sent me into a tail spin of technical jobs or professional schools. I'm going to do it a bit more research and try to narrow it down. :-)

mgreczyn

  • Guest
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 12:47:10 PM »
So I'll tell my wife's story, she managed to spin a fine-arts undergrad into a technical-ish position without diving headfirst into coding.  She went to business school in a techie area geographically speaking, got her foot in the door with an internship at a very small startup doing business process and marketing analysis, impressed the founders who, although they couldn't hire her themselves, shopped her to their former colleagues in larger companies and voila: technical business analyst job.  No coding background, but now she's learning SQL, software testing/QA, a little product management thrown in and loving it.  She makes fun of me when I suggest that maybe I should go back and pick up the CS degree I dropped in favor of english back in my undergrad. 

mgreczyn

  • Guest
Re: How to maximize my G.I Bill
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 12:54:52 PM »
Potentially off-topic but the thing to remember about b-school if you go that route: it ain't about the learning.  You already know high school math, you'll learn some statistics and some more advanced finance and marketing concepts that you honestly could easily learn on your own, and then they'll try to bury you with busy work, reading and projects.  Someone at my school did a quick calculation based on average reading speed and the amount of reading assigned and quickly decided not to do any of the assigned reading.  Ignore as much of the out-of-class academic stuff as possible, ignore the protestations of your classmates because they will protest, and keep in mind that the number one purpose of business school is to spit you out with a job and a network.  Go to all of the classes, do the minimum required work to stay over a 3.0 and otherwise find people and activities that A) you find interesting and B) potentially lead to employment. If your goal is to work for McKenzie or Goldman, ignore what I said about grades.  Nobody else cares.