David Matawitz, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, is a captain in the U.S. Navy, where he is the commander for the Afloat Training Group, Pacific. He has spent the last 29 years in the military and is getting ready for a civilian career. “I have about another year to go before I transfer out of the military, so I am taking classes using my GI Bill to better prepare myself and to refine the skills that I learned during my service. I am hoping that the combination translates into my next career, ” he says.
Because project management and contract management are used in the military – and Matawitz has experience and exposure in both – he decided to take project and contract management classes at SDSU. “The military has different terminology, but it’s the same concept. The best path is to take the skills I developed in the military and to learn more in the classes, so the transition after the military will be fluid. That is why I chose the courses that I did. I want to take the PMP exam and earn certification. That is the goal.”
One of the advantages of military personal taking classes at SDSU is the opportunity to engage with other students. Most work is military focused, so being able to learn and engage with other students is a positive thing. “It’s nice to talk to civilians, and understand where they are coming from and how they do things,” says Matawitz. He also reflects on his instructors, “My instructors are great – they have jobs in the field outside of the classroom, they are not just living in a college environment. They actually have and know real-world experience. They know what is going on, and that gives me insight on job openings, and where the communities are going as I start to make my transition.”
Regarding the GI Bill, Matawitz says this, “If you want to use your GI Bill start thinking two years before you leave the military. And, at SDSU taking classes is convenient since they are night courses. The campus is close for those stationed in San Diego, and SDSU has a Veterans Affairs Office to help you with the paperwork. It was a great decision, because after my military career, I’m not ready to retire. I want to contribute to society. I’m calling it my transition, not retirement.”