A Closer Look at the Focus Forward Fellowship: A Firsthand Experience (Part 2)

 

 

Focus Forward Podcast Transcript Jan. 11, 2022

About this Episode:

In this Let’s Talk Transitions episode, Jenny Rea has the privilege of chatting with Diane Darling a Focus Forward Fellow of the class of 2017 and current coaching mentor. Their conversation centers around the current challenges of women student service members and veterans (SSM/V), and the Focus Forward Fellowship, and how this program has been beneficial to Diane in supporting her as a woman SSM/V. Additionally, Diane shares how Focus Forward helped her transition into civilian life, especially the transition to college, and how the program gave her lasting confidence and skills to get her into her recent doctoral degree endeavor. They conclude the episode with Diane sharing unique and beneficial strategies that military family service providers may be able to use in their work as they support military service members and their families.

A few takeaways of the podcast from Diane:

“There were women that I admired. There were veterans that I admired. But no one who was really occupying that shared space. And so I think that being able to see all these women who were claiming this identity was really empowering for me.”

“As far as working with folks.. professionals who serve service members, their families, or veterans, I think it is incredibly important to understand that not every veteran’s experience is the same – it’s not safe to assume that everyone was in the Army and wants to be called soldier, that everyone deployed, that everyone has PTSD, or that everyone is even proud of their veteran identity. Recognizing, largely, that this demographic has a set of experiences that differs from more traditional students in higher education, and listening to them individually to better understand each unique experience is the most important aspect of helping this demographic.”

Mostly I just really hope if you’re going to take one thing home with you today.. If you are a woman veteran, do yourself and your future self a favor and apply for the Focus Forward Fellowship! You will earn tools you knew you needed to improve on, and some that you had no idea you needed. You will make connections that will simply make your life, and your future, better. You will meet a remarkable group of people: not only your amazing cohort, but also a carefully curated group of mentors who care about you. Lastly, the fellowship gives you something that you simply can’t get in other spaces. You can be you, a military-connected woman, and really take the time to learn about yourself. You can learn about how to harness the entirety of what you are and magnify those parts that will help you be successful in academia, your career and your personal life. I cannot stress this enough — I am still in awe at how aptly every activity pulled me toward knowing myself in a way I could not have previously imagined.”

Guest Bio:

picture of Diane DarlingDiane Darling is a Focus Forward Fellow of the class of 2017 and current Focus Forward coaching mentor. Diane served as a Mandarin Cryptologic Language Analyst in the Air Force from 2008-2014 and is currently a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Fielding Graduate University. Her research interests lie in the areas of financial psychology and financial therapy, specifically focusing on the emotions and behaviors around money in romantic partnerships. Diane also works part-time as a financial coach for women, couples, and veterans. In her free time, she enjoys reading, lifting weights, and going on hikes with her fiancé and stepson.

Website: https://darlingdirectionsllc.business.site/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darlingdirectionsllc

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/darling-directions-llc/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/darlingdirections/

Resources mentioned in the podcast:

Focus Forward Fellowship

The USAA Educational Foundation

OneOp Resources:

A Closer Look at the Focus Forward Fellowship: Meeting Women Student Service Members and Veterans Where They Are (Part 1)

Women in the Military: Special Contributions and Unique Challenges

 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense under Award Number 2019-48770-30366. 

United States Department of Defense logo, a partner of OneOp
United States Department of Agriculture logo, a partner of OneOp