View Full Version : I'm a college student considering the military...

09-24-2009, 03:50 AM
I'm currently a junior in college double majoring in computer science and cognitive brain science at Tufts University. I'm really not sure about my plans after graduation. I know I want to go to graduate school, but I don't know if I want to continue with computer science, Masters or Doctorate, or maybe go to Business school. I'm also concerned about the cost and which programs will accept me.

Before I commit the time and money to a career, I think it'd be wise to change my setting possibly change my perspective. I did this when I moved from Kansas City to Boston, and it helped a lot. Sort of a "viewing my past life from a distance" to better evaluate where I want to be.

I know people join the military for a variety of reasons, and mine certainly aren't the best or ideal. I also have other options like Teach for America, internships, getting a job, teaching English abroad, etc. However, none of these are as appealing. I also understand the joining the military would be a completely different and more difficult experience.

Before I keep on typing, maybe it'd be more helpful for you to ask me questions, or just give some general advice, literature, or ideas.

It's really late, hopefully this coherent. It also might be in the wrong section since I'm not a member of any "Troop", hopefully the mods can move it to General Discussion if that's better.



09-24-2009, 06:36 AM
Wyatt...I was a freshman at Penn State University in 1986 when I decided to join the Army. Fast forward 23 years...I retired as a First Sergeant and it was the best decision I made in my life (so far). It took me about 14 more years to finally get the BA (deployments have a way of getting in the way) I started at Penn State. I got to travel the world (not all exotic places), met some GREAT people, married a beautiful woman and had three children with, learned a trade, gained experience...I could on and on. I highly recommend the military (even if my opinion is a little biased). Good luck in your decision!!!
If you have any specific questions..do not hesitate to PM me brother!!

P.S.: Todays Army has changed quite a bit...you can work on that degree while deployed now!! :tu

09-24-2009, 03:12 PM
I'm coming from the other side. I never could bring myself to sign up but it has always been something I felt I lost out on (was accepted for the Naval Nuclear School when it was in Orlando). The experiences of my military friends has always been a fascination for me. It seems that they are more rounded individuals with a much more solid foundation in life.

And what Kelmac says about things changing is true. I have heard of people getting their school loans paid off. Of the military sending someone to training during the summer, then to grad school before active service begins. Find out the possibilities.

Think long on this (both plus's and minus's) but at age 45 looking back I personally regret not joining. Good luck on your decision.

09-24-2009, 03:22 PM
I spent 8 years in the Air Force and will gladly answer any questions you might have in regards to service in the AF.

09-24-2009, 03:28 PM
I spent a year in college and realized I wasn't mature enough to stay with school so as a 20yr old I joined the Marines. I needed to break out of my own comfort zone and the Marines did that.

I would do it again in a heart beat and I would also go Officer next time around because I feel I could have contributed and learned more for what type of person I am and what I was seeking. It wasn't the easy choice and it put a lot of stress on my family but I needed it.

Don't join the military due to money..don't join because you want someone to pay for your schooling..don't join because you just want to and have no idea what else life holds for you...I've met people who did this last part and when they found out what they wanted..most of the times it was not to be part of the green machine.

With that said, Do join if you feel it can help you better your life..Join if you want to be a part of a machine that protects this country..Do join after looking at all the branches and seeing what it can offer you and more importantly what you can offer it.

Why do you want to join the military?

Why is the military an option for you?

Which branch do you want to join and why?

Keep in mind that you may actually be on the battlefield, can you handle that?

Enlisted or Officer?

Again, money will always be an issue with most people in life and going military will not make it better.

09-26-2009, 07:43 PM
I signed a 4 year ROTC contract back in Dec 2001. Between that and my academic/wrestling scholarship my school was paid for. I always wanted to serve my country, but the dollar signs were also an incredible motivator as well. I graduated in 05, commisioned as a second lieutenant, field artillery. My 4 year committment was up this may, and currently I'm in the Special Forces Qualification Course. I can't imagine doing anything other than being in the military.
Yes I've deployed for 15 months, yes I've been away from my wife, missed birthdays and holidays, but honestly it's all been worth it and I have no regrets.
I'd be happy to answer any questions for you. You can always enlist with the option to go get your officer commission. Through my experiences, it seems like officers who've had enlisted time always benefit.
Anyway, good luck with the decision.
abnCPT (TJ)

09-26-2009, 07:53 PM
I was in the same position you were at one point. I almost joined out of high school, shortly after 9/11. Parents talked me into doing a couple of years of college. Next thing I knew I was studying Mechanical Engineering, and i just didn't see myself sitting in front of a computer every day. I went to the ROTC office and they really helped me out and were very up front. They are not really recruiters and for the most part will be very honest. They told me in today's Military, you will most likely deploy no matter what branch of service.
I had a very simlar situation as the above poster. I got a 4 year scholarship(graduated with a Mech Engin degree with no loans), commissioned in 08, went through all my schooling and I am now a Field Artillery LT (allthough I am an XO for a light Infantry unit). I have yet to deploy, but am in the process of preparing, and to this day I do not have a regret. I always say that I have the best job in the world, I get paid to do things most people pay big bucks to do.

I am willing to answer any questions you have. I actually went to school in MA as well, umass amherst.


09-26-2009, 08:27 PM
Hi there, Wyatt. I've no experience with being in the military, myself, but I can tell you about my father's experience....

He joined the Army after his sophomore year in college. He did, in fact, finish up his BA on the military's dime, and also got his MBA that way (got his Master's at UT Austin, even). He spent 25 years in the military, I believe, and was over in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm while I was just a wee beast. I know he has never regretted the decision. The skills he learned in the military have been put to good use in his civilian life. After retiring as a major in 2000, he's continued to work with government contracting. The last place we were while he was still in the Army was Picatinny Arsenal, and he worked on managing different weapons systems projects there. (I don't know if you know much about weapons, but the Picatinny rails you hear about on guns were developed there during the time we lived there.) After getting out, he continued to work in the private sector with the government on the exact same projects. He worked at General Dynamics for eight years-- with both GD-ATP and then GD-OTS. Now he works for DRS Technologies here in FL, working on radar systems instead of weapons systems, but his military background certainly helps here still.

On the other hand, my uncle Rich got out of the military a few years ago and couldn't find any work that related to what he'd done while in the Army. I suppose whether you eventually apply the same job skills in your civilian life will really depend upon what you do while you're in the military. In any case, I wish you the best of luck in making your decision!

P.S. Do you have any idea what it is that you'd like to do while in the military, if you decide to join?

LT Rich
10-02-2009, 06:51 AM
Well, that is quite the choice, something you definitely do not want to jump into. I commissioned in 2004 as an infantry officer in the Army National Guard. Since 2004 I have deployed 2 times, and spent a total of 32 months on active duty.

I am currently in Afghanistan, the team leader of 15 +/- Soldiers embedded with an Afghan National Army Battalion (about 500 soldiers), training them on war fighting (and learning from them too!). I am near the border of Pakistan and our battle space is a mountain pass which the Taliban use to infiltrate Afghanistan. I have learned basic phrases in two languages (Dari and Pashtu), and made friends with Afghan soldiers and officers.

You would be hard pressed to find a civilian with no military experience who has stories and experiences to match what my team and I have. It is my view that you live life for experiences. If you don't experience amazing things, endure hardship, test yourself, etc; what have you really accomplished in life. I look forward to boring my kids and grandkids with mundane stories of my life which they no doubt could not care less about. (I'm only 28, but I like to plan ahead)

What made me join the military? I wanted to buy a motorcycle, and my mother said "not as long as she's paying for college". I solved that problem.

Why did I join the Army? A few reasons really. I talked to the Army and the Air Force, the Army ROTC instructors were a lot more down to earth, a lot more like me. Also, I wanted the challenge. I figured if I am going to join the military, I'm going to go all the way, Army Infantry.

Do I regret it? Keep in mind, I am writing this while sitting in the middle of nowhere Afghanistan; and still the answer is no. I, too, have missed Christmases, birthdays, etc, it is all worth it. The sense of pride, patriotism, and the bond that your form with the men (something that is unparalleled in any other walk of life) makes all the hardships, all the missed events, missing the wife and loved ones all worth it.

One of my Sergeants and I were talking about this very thing while on a patrol a few days ago. We were talking about how the bond between Soldiers who have gone into combat together is unlike any other friendship. There is a trust, an understanding, that forms between a small team while in combat that is not replicated anywhere else.

Should you join the military? Who the heck knows; I sure don't because I know nothing about you. I don't know what makes you tick. Are you a leader? Do you hate failure? Do you look forward to meeting challenges? You are obviously book smart, do you have common sense? Do you like responsibility? These are all things you need to ask yourself and be honest with the answers.

I know that joining the military has made me into a better man, a better husband. It has given me a perspective on life that I would not have gotten otherwise. Sure it has messed up things, made things harder. My civilian career is way behind schedule, my wife cries some nights when we talk on the phone because she is worried about me and misses me... It is not easy, but in the end it is worth it for me.

I will be happy to answer any questions about this you have, shoot me a PM.

LT :gn

10-02-2009, 01:21 PM
IMO you cant go wrong with the military. I loved my time I spent in the USAF. The only thing I regret was getting out.

10-02-2009, 01:35 PM
Currently in the AF, if you've got any questions, feel free to send me a PM and I'll be glad to help.

10-05-2009, 08:18 AM
The military is best enjoyed BEFORE college, it straightens you up and makes you
appreciate the sacrifices it takes to excel in school and life. BUT college first certainly makes your
rank a little shinier, and cannot be understated. But service should be a part of EVERY
young man's life, and until it is mandatory, we will have to get by with only the people
who understand why serving your country is important...and the people who don't want to go to jail.

10-05-2009, 08:21 AM
IMO you cant go wrong with the military. I loved my time I spent in the USAF. The only thing I regret was getting out.

Haha, yeah, ditto. I had a BALL, but I couldn't get out fast enough. But when the calendar struck 20 years
after my enlistment, I was realizing maybe I should have toughed it out. I could be semi-
relaxed about now...hell, 9 years ago. All the money I made after that would be gravy. doh!