Military or College: Why Not Both?

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Jennifer Brown
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As a student who has always been interested in the military, I’ve gone back and forth on whether I should join any branch. During high school I saw recruiters set up their tables and pass out pamphlets. I even scheduled a time to take my dad with me and meet with an army recruiter. At the time I was confused about what I wanted to do in the future. With being so indecisive, I knew I probably should wait to make a decision. I waited all the way up until the summer before my senior year of college. It was a huge step, full of uncertainty and following many talks with my parents.

Waiting for the right time

Why did I wait so long? After I graduated from high school I decided that maybe the military was not for me, at least not yet. I chose to go to community college and also got involved with volunteer opportunities in my areas of interest. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I loved the experiences I got from volunteering and going to a community college. I believe those experiences made me who I am now.

An idea that resurfaced

After transferring to the University of Central Florida, I found myself again pondering the idea of enlisting. I had several friends who had suddenly joined the military. It made me realize that the same passion in them was also in me. First, I considered joining the ROTC program through my university. However, I found that as an online student it would be difficult to manage. After browsing around for recruiters, a Navy recruiter contacted me; there the journey began.

Making the final decision

So, what does it mean to join the military? What about college? If you join the military you can get your college paid for. You can get trained in any field you desire. However, I wanted to finish my degree and work in the field of psychology. In my case, I had the option to go in as an officer and receive the benefits of being an officer. I also had the option of extending my major and doing ROTC at my university or going to another college for the specific ROTC program I wanted. In the end, I chose to enlist, despite many people telling me to start as an officer.

Gaining insight

Why didn’t I join as an officer? I spoke to multiple recruiters, talked to veterans, and talked to people I knew were currently serving. This allowed me to gain better insight on what I really wanted to do. I did not find any officer positions I fell in love with so enlisting seemed like the best option for me.

The choice is yours

If you are considering the military, what you do and what you experience is up to you. Do your research, work hard and don’t give up when obstacles come your way. You decide your life’s path. You can go to college and join as an officer or enlistee. There are even civilian careers associated with the military. Realize that your options can be endless!

Pearson students — are you a member of the military or considering military service? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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