Opinion Piece: You Got Your DD-214, Now Go Take a Vacation

Separating from the military is an extremely unique period of time, and you will identify different paths depending on your levels of preparation and positivity. At first, you’ll enter the honeymoon stage where it still feels like you’re just on regular leave. Then, you’ll enter the realization stage where you’ll come to terms with turning the next page. Hopefully, before you separate, you will have created a step-by-step plan to crush your next endeavor. I highly recommend including a vacation in that process.

For the last 4+ years, you’ve put your head down and ran, and I’m willing to bet that you were a standout leader within your unit. After all, instead of playing the new Call of Duty, you’re reading about how to succeed in the time following your years in uniform.

With that said, you deserve a break. Go home if you want—this is totally your call. But I recommend traveling to some new part of the world where you can relish in your newfound liberty to pick up and go as you please. Once you’re in school, you’ll be swamped with homework and extracurriculars, so take this time to treat yourself. You’ll be able to look back and instantly associate your separation from the military with a positive memory, reinforcing your decision to move on to new challenges.

Now get out there. And oh yeah, I did take that picture.