Deciding to join the military


I didn’t always know I wanted to join the military. The military seemed to me like this distant, untouchable world that I would never understand. People in it talked about “branches” and “units” and “MOS”s, none of which I knew anything about. (And still kind of don't.)

But at the same time, the military has always had a certain draw for me. The very first time I thought about joining the military was in high school. I think the adventure and the challenge of it appealed to me. But I had a couple major hang-ups about it, and I was too shy to talk to a recruiter.

One semester teaching abroad, 18 months serving a religious mission, and two years of college later, I began to once again think seriously about joining the military. I had participated in a couple ROTC training exercises at college just for fun, and loved them. I had also heard that the military could help pay for your schooling; which for a while there, seemed like the only way I could afford to continue college.

So I started doing a little detective work online about what life in the military is like. WWW.GoArmy.com is a great resource for learning about the different paths you can take specifically in the Army. WWW.USA.gov/join-military covers the military more broadly. It lays out the requirements, benefits, ways to get in touch with a recruiter, and many other things you’ll need to make an informed decision about joining the military.

About the time I was researching all this, I was pleased to learn that I qualified for a full-tuition scholarship at school. I no longer needed the money, but reading all the content online about the military had gotten me so excited, I decided to contact a recruiter and start the journey anyway!

Deciding to join the military is a serious commitment and should not be taken lightly. It’s not something you can join one day, then decide isn’t for you the next. I think sometimes people are shocked to hear I am joining the military because it seems so out of the blue to them. But what they don’t know is that I have spent weeks researching the commitments, as I recommend everyone to do who is curious about joining the military. Take plenty of time talking with your recruiters, too, because they will be able to answer your questions more in depth.

In short, what I discovered is that joining the military is a great opportunity to give back to our country for all the freedoms we enjoy. You don’t have to be a soldier fighting on the warfront in the military; you can do all sorts of normal jobs that you would be doing outside of the military anyway. (Except with insane benefits.) In your own way, you can give a little back to the country that provides such abundant opportunities for you.

If there are any readers who are thinking or even just curious about joining the military, go see a recruiter! You don’t have to commit to joining the military in order to talk to a recruiter, no matter how many times you go back. They won’t spam you for the rest of your life (which I was definitely worried about). In fact, in my experience, I’ve had to be the one to reach out to them every time I want to meet!
Your dutiful research, coupled with your recruiter’s extensive knowledge, will help you decide if joining the military is the right decision for you. My mom worried a lot about me starting this journey, which I think had something to do with the idea that they would push me into signing up on the spot before I knew what I was getting into. But in actuality, the process to get into the military is long and sometimes arduous. Be prepared to go through extensive questioning, ask a lot of questions yourself, and hit plenty of road bumps along the way. In the end, it will all be worth it!

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