When their spouse is away, many military spouses attend college to help start or complete their education and pass the time. Ironically, this can be one of the most stressful and difficult times to do so. Life is full of responsibilities– child care, working, and supporting our active duty spouse—so how can you stay focused on your education when he or she is away?


Self-motivation is one key ingredient of success. The ultimate trait of the successful student is belief in yourself.  Love and support from family and friends is necessary, but being able to self-motivate is essential to completing your goals. Whether you are motivated by intrinsic or extrinsic needs, the idea is to recognize your motivations and keep them in focus.


Focus is essential to success in college. Concentration, time management, and preparation are all critical to achieving this success. Although your spouse is away and your plate is full, you can manage college and reach your goals by having a positive mindset, knowing obstacles will occur, setting small attainable goals, tracking progress, and finding enjoyment in what is being accomplished.


Be sure to share your goals with your spouse. When your spouse understands your desires, goals, and dreams, he or she can be encouraging and supportive even when you’re apart. Focus on good communication so that the distance doesn’t overshadow your needs and goals.


About the Author

Nichole Ahlstrom teaches online courses for American Military University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and a Master of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. She is currently working on her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership at the University of Phoenix. A military spouse, she lives in Okinawa, Japan with her husband, who is an active duty Marine, and two boys. Nichole loves being a mother, spending time with her family, volunteering, exercising, and traveling.

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