Mentoring Resources for Veteran and Military Students

Are you a military member considering our International Relations Online program, or a student who wants to learn more about your military students? As the liaison to the growing military community here at AU, I’m here to tell you all about the resources available to you. But first, here’s a look at my background.

For the last eight years, I served in the U.S. Navy on active duty, deployed on the USS Enterprise, and spent time on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and shore commands throughout the world. For the past two years, I served in the Navy reserves doing staff support in Japan.

Now, in addition to being a liaison at AU, I’m also a graduate student at the School of International Service (SIS) in the U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security program.

Since becoming the liaison, I’ve established connections with various departments on campus in order to raise awareness about the military community at AU. I’ve also discovered many student resources available on and off campus.

Here are just a few of those resources that might be helpful to those of you completing your degree online:

University Library: The library gives you access to hundreds of databases that you can access for research online. You can request books from the interlibrary loan system and have them sent directly to you. The library also has a librarian on call that you can direct-message almost any time with questions.

Academic Support and Access Center: If you need disability assistance or assistive technology, visit the academic support and access center. This center also assists students who have been out of an academic setting for an extended period of time.

Career Center: Professionals affiliated with SIS can provide invaluable career advice at the AU career center, where you can find someone to review your resume. The center gives you access to CareerWeb, so you can browse job listings specifically for AU graduates.

Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition and Research (CLEAR): Whether you are learning a new language or would like practice in your current foreign language(s), CLEAR is here to help. CLEAR has language coaches on staff, a vast library, and links to other useful websites, which are organized by language.

The Office of Information Technology: If you need help with technical computer and Internet issues, then the Office of Information Technology is the place to go. You can gain access to free software that can assist in your studies. I highly recommend downloading Endnote from their site.

While this list is neither exhaustive nor expansive, it does provide a glimpse of some of the many online resources at AU.

Lastly, I would like to offer some tips that may help you succeed while earning your degree.

  • Take advantage of the resources available to you. They are part of your tuition, and there is no shame in asking for assistance—especially when you are paying for it anyway.
  • Stay in the loop about current events, particularly in the IR field. Doing so will help you conduct research for your studies more efficiently.
  • Find a balance between family, work, school, and any other obligations. If you focus too much on one area, you will undoubtedly falter in others. This means taking time to focus on yourself as well.

During the course of your studies, you may occasionally feel overwhelmed by all of your commitments and obligations. To stay on track, remember that whether you are a veteran, dependent, or officer, completing your master’s degree is going to help you advance in your career. Our time with the military has already provided us with the type of experience employers are looking for.

As a liaison, I am here to provide veterans, dependents, and/or active-duty individuals with assistance in any way, shape, or form. I’m here to answer any questions you may have or provide you with the right point of contact. For more information on AU resources visit the Academic Resources page, or e-mail me at ba8510a {at} student.american.edu.

I look forward to talking to you soon, and please do not be a stranger!