(104) Schools are not just for Fish and Dogs: The Joy of Education and Going Back to School

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

Now is the time to think about going back to school. Do I hear a groan, a word of denial, or maybe whimsical thinking? While school is not for everyone, it just might be for you.

Education serves as a high priority for the Veteran’s Administration. The VA offers grand opportunities for Veterans and in many cases for the families of Veterans. Start your educational journey here!

Why Should I go back to School?

If you were six or eight, I might entice you with new clothes, fancy school supplies, or a new lunch box. Obviously, none of those bribes will work if you are a Veteran or a caregiver of a Veteran. Molly helped me generate a list of benefits that might drive you to the VA website or encourage you to hop in your car and drive over to your local university. Here are 16 reasons for going back to school:

  1. School gets you out of the house for something other than a doctor’s appointment
  2. Allows you to meet others, who are like-minded (in your major area of study) or to meet other Veterans; school allows you to decide how much socializing you get; if you want more, study in the dining hall; if you want less, skip the dining hall and take a night class, going straight to your class and leaving right after
  3. Learn something amazing that you have always wondered about but never understood
  4. Find an occupation while on the education journey
  5. Learn a new skill that you can use in other parts of your life such as robotics to tinker on the weekends or drawing to give you time to work through important personal issues
  6. Earn a degree that you can frame and put on the wall in your safe room to remind you of how awesome you are
  7. Use the “I’ve got homework” excuse to get out of uncomfortable family or social events
  8. Be a role model to your children (regardless of their age), showing them how important an education is; sit with them at the table and do your homework together for a great bonding time
  9. Take advantage of all that money sitting in the VA coffers to better yourself
  10. Get a library card all of your own
  11. Create built-in exercise time for you and your service dog by walking the campus to and from your classes; if anyone questions you about bringing your dog to class, tell them the dog is the student and you are his/her ADA companion because your dog has trouble taking notes
  12. Find buried treasures in various courses, instructors, and topics; you do not have to major in anything, as you might just want to take fun classes such as scuba diving, flower arranging, culinary arts such as cooking for pets, or astrophysics
  13. Your spouse, children, friends, and fellow students will look up to you with awe in their eyes, remarking how incredible and brave you are to go back to school
  14. Campus food is really good and likely your spouse or caregiver will not be at the cafeteria, lurking over you when you peruse the menu and select pizza with extra cheese
  15. Grades are not as important, as they were when you were a kid although the VA will require you maintain a certain GPA

    16. No one will ever take away the knowledge, skills, diploma, or certificate you earn—they remain your sole property for your entire life.

What are your Excuses?

Although Miss Molly will celebrate the Fourth of July in Friday’s blog, we will return in next Tuesday’s blog with a list of excuses that might keep you from going back to school. In future blogs, we will consider the different educational options available and explore VA educational resources. This is exciting! Come join Miss Molly as we continue to explore Schools are not just for Fish and Dogs.

Post your Comments: 

Can you name another good reason to go back to school? Please reply below. 

About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.