Education helps Navy veteran find new purpose13 February 2020
For Navy veteran Deb Morris, education is a stepping stone between Defence and her new career path.
A scholarship from RSL Queensland is helping facilitate this time of personal growth.
Deb has close ties to Defence – she served for several years in the early 2000s, her spouse also served, and her family history dates back to veterans from WWI. But when she discharged in the mid-2000s, she left military life behind her and sought a new direction.
“When I left Defence, I pretty much burnt my bridges, threw it over my shoulder and walked away. I didn’t want anything to do with the military or with veterans,” Deb says.
“There’s a number of challenges that you face when you leave Defence and it can be really overwhelming. It’s been likened to a reverse culture shock, where you have to learn a whole new set of rules of engagement and new norms to participate in society.”
FULL CIRCLE BACK TO DEFENCE
But Deb’s life has come full circle and the RSL Scholarship Program is now helping her finish her PhD – which examines the home space for families of veterans.
“It was actually through the process of going back to university and studying that I started reconnecting with literature and the things that were happening in the veteran community,” Deb explains.
And her PhD is only the most recent of her educational pursuits. Since leaving Defence she has completed a certificate II, diploma, undergraduate degree and honours.
“I fell into that category of being young, still focused on having a career in Defence, but really didn’t have any idea of where I wanted to go.”
EDUCATION CHANGES HOW YOU SEE THE WORLD
Deb believes Defence members really benefit from doing further education when they leave the Armed Forces.
“It doesn’t just give you an idea of how you can go forward and have a career, it gives you meaning. It gives you a different way to see the world, a different way to appreciate things and a different way to live,” Deb says.
She cannot speak highly enough about RSL Queensland and what the scholarship has meant for her.
“The scholarships really ensure that you’ve got a bit more financial security to ensure that you can continue to study – to be able to move on with your life.”
With the veteran community in a state of flux, Deb says RSL Queensland is trying hard to catch up, understand the nature of contemporary service and provide services for veterans transitioning out.
“Because the scholarship is coming from an ex-service organisation, it’s actually supporting those that served to ensure they can move on with their lives and receive further education, which is paramount to having a career post-service,” she explains.
APPLY FOR AN RSL QUEENSLAND SCHOLARSHIP
The RSL Scholarship Program empowers ex-Defence personnel, partners and their children by supporting them through tertiary study or vocational training.
Visit our Scholarships page to find out if you are eligible.