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career move? (military)

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by avatar dinoceros 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #717030 Reply
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    alyssa

    Here is a little background: I’m 18 and taking one class in college right now. i’m a “pot head” i guess you could say but i stopped and often take breaks from smoking. i originally started smoking when i was suffering from depression and it made everything so much easier. now that i’m in a good head space i find it makes me more lazy and often a little depressed. I’ve always admired the military. my family isn’t terrible but its also not great. mothers side is full of druggies, dad was a teen parent, has anger issues(lowkey same), is combating depression with weed now, and is on his last year of college at age 36, my uncle is another druggie who is kind of similar to me in only a few noticable ways, has been in and out of college and still gotten nowhere with it, couldnt decide a major and didnt stick to the ones he chose (same tho), my grandparents worked in a supermarket all their life and are well into old age and only one is retired. Totally could see myself becoming a version of my mom, my uncle, and my dad but i dont want to.

    I’ve stopped smoking again because I’m serious about joining the air force (or the navy if that fails). It seems like a good move and exciting as hell. I would love to get in shape, instill some discipline, and serve our country. The benefits are great and i’m not exactly a fan of school. I just got out and would love to take some time off, I don’t even know what I want to do I don’t have any sense of direction. Military may seem like a harsh choice but I don’t have any fear of putting my life on the line, and I’m not afraid of boot camp(I honestly think it could be good for me). I think that I could have a lot of great adventures and save up some money by the time I would get out. then continue my education. It’s super exciting at the moment yet some doubts still linger.

    -What if I don’t like it like I thought I would?
    -What if they place me in a job I hate?
    It probably wont be something I can transfer over to after the military because I’m asooming from my better judgement that the good career worthy jobs would be given to those with a higher education.
    -How do I know if I’ve chosen the right branch? It’s between air force and navy.
    -What if I’m just like my uncle?
    he joined the army with false pretenses and ended up leaving due to “being physically unfit”(he wanted out) understanding of course that he was set up for a job that endangered him a great deal.

    I have heard good things about the military, at least from outside sources, and from those I’m close to only negative but I cant exactly trust that because they either have a decade old view of it or they don’t want me to go. I don’t know what to believe. My family wants me in college I don’t feel motivated to be I college although I do like the social aspect. My cousin is joining too for sure. I’m still considering staying and doing college. All I would choose to do in college would be to take pilot and math classes to get a higher rank in the air force and hopefully become a pilot. But of course that could all change in a year I really don’t know.

    *a little extra note*
    My cousin and I are super similar born 2 days apart we’ve dealt with a lot of bad things in our time her more than myself and I could totally see this being extremely good for her and dong this as a career. I understand that it correlates to myself I also don’t like to copy her because we’ve done a lot of the same things which holds me back ever so slightly.

    After writing this I only see the positives to going through with this plan, i’d still like everyone’s opinion because, as you can tell, I often cant make up my mind, but i’m pretty sure i’m going into the air force. please advise me on as much as you’d like. My major confusion lies in whether or not I should stay in school for another semester and take air force related classes or go now so I can find myself, stable my finances and become a better person in general and keep me away from the bad lifestyle that is so tempting; and if I’ve made the right choice in branch.

    #717031 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Everyone’s experience is going to be different. My first husband joined the Air Force after starting and dropping college a few times. He has alcoholism in his family and was partying and smoking weed too much to stay in school.

    He went to boot camp in Texas, and it sounds like it was very very difficult (don’t go in hot weather – even in March it was crazy), but he made it, though some people in his class didn’t.

    They give you a skills test to decide what job you’ll have. It turned out he was some kind of savant, and they assigned him to Target Intelligence Specialist. So he was in Intel with a top secret clearance and no education…

    To be continued!

    #717042 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Anyway, he got that impressive job assignment and went to tech school, also in Texas, for a few months I think, then found out he got his first choice location to be stationed in Italy for 3 years. He was *extraordinarily lucky*. At that time we had the Bosnian conflict, and he was briefing pilots who would fly to drop bombs there, out of this northern Italian NATO base. Now, you could potentially be sent to Afghanistan or god knows where in the Middle East. Or you could be flipping burgers in Virginia, who knows.

    Once we got married and I moved to Italy, he was allotted enough money each month that we were able to rent a fabulous apartment. If he’d been single, I think he may have had to stay in dorms.

    After that, we were at Langley in VA for a year, which was okay but not great.

    He was able to party a lot in terms of drinking, but he didn’t smoke weed because of drug tests. You also had to show up at work each day or go to sick bay, so he kept his shit together. He also earned an associate’s degree (his goal was bachelors but he couldn’t swing it).

    He chose to get out when his 4 years were up and he got an AMAZING job with a company that contracts with the government. I mean seriously set for life. But ultimately he couldn’t handle it, just didn’t want to “work for the man,” wanted to party and smoke weed and live in his hometown again, so that’s what he did and is still doing now at 45, working at a pizza place.

    Hope that was at all helpful!

    #717051 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    Other thoughts… I’d say just sign up now. I’m not sure what classes you could take next semester that would matter, and you don’t want to be at AF boot camp in summer.

    I get you hate school, but a huge benefit of the military is the ability to get a degree in the GI bill, so it worries me a bit that you’re not going to be taking advantage of that to better your life. I don’t think you’ll have much choice in what kind of job they put you in, and it might or might not transfer to civilian life. It’s a risk.

    There’s also kind of an underside to the military in terms of what it does to families, but I’m not going to go into that…

    #717052 Reply
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    Sunshine Brite

    Part of what sticks out to me is that you want to get away from the bad lifestyle; I feel like in almost every walk of life there’s a ‘bad lifestyle’ to be chosen/found.

    I think you’re insightful about your weed use. I’d encourage you whatever you decide to continue some sort of mental health treatment if you’re able to process some of these family traumas, depression and self-identity (classifying yourself as a pot head) type issues.

    As far as the military/career, I’ll just pose some questions to consider. What do you find you admire most? College isn’t for everyone; why is one class your threshold? What are you doing in addition to stopping weed use to get in shape now? You’ll want to get a fitness base before any bootcamp. Any trades/skills/topics that interest you? Have you looked for pros/cons of each branch you’re considering?

    I know it seems exciting and it could very well be, but remember a lot of the jobs are standard or boring too. If you don’t like it, stick it out and then don’t renew once you’re done. If you get a job you hate, inquire about transfer process. Think of skills you want to build and maybe later there will be more interest in pursuing a degree if it’s needed for whatever you find interesting. Focus on those transferrable skills too, every job has a lot of them. Try and get some current perspectives on the military; look online for military communities or pose questions places like quora. I would caution you against expecting to find yourself as the military is not the place for individuality, but at the same time just know that is a journey that isn’t going to happen in a few years. Sometimes I feel like I’m just now getting to know myself.

    #717058 Reply

    I’d also say that today’s military is incredibly different than the military of 30-40 years ago. In the old days, you didn’t really need a college degree to succeed. But in today’s military, getting a college degree is pertinent to getting promotions. And if you want to be a pilot, you have to have a bachelors degree before you are even enlisted!

    My brother who retired after 30 years of service (and was the highest enlisted rank), had two masters’ degrees under his belt and a shitload of military schools.

    And when I was in around the 90’s, you really couldn’t even be considered for promotion to Sergeant without an Associates so I imagine it probably a bachelors now.

    IMO, don’t join the military to get away from going to school. Go to school then join the military and you can have a really good career.
    And don’t join the military to get into shape either, you will need to be able to pass a PT test before they even sign you up (again the military has changed dramatically since the 80’s).

    If you are serious about the military–go to college, maybe join ROTC to get a taste of military life and get into shape, then transition into a military career. If you don’t want to be an Officer, then study study study for the ASVAAB so that you can score in the range for the MOS (military occupational specialty) that you want!

    #717062 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    One thing you need to know about the military is that officers all have college degrees. In the Air Force the pilots are always officers and so if you want to be a pilot then you need a college degree. You can gain that college experience and officer training at the same time by joining the ROTC,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reserve_Officers%27_Training_Corps

    A lot of people want to be pilots so you need to do well in school and get a slot in flight school. There are a limited number of slots but people do get into them.

    If you don’t want to do all of that then you could talk to recruiters about your interests. I work with a woman whose daughter just went through basic training for the Air Force and then did their paramedic training. If you are serious I’d start working out now and be in good shape before going. Many of the enlistees in her class didn’t make it through because they couldn’t meet the physical training requirements. I’d look into what physical requirements each branch has and start working on some of the basics. This is what the Air Force requires.

    https://www.thebalance.com/air-force-basic-training-fitness-requirements-3344444

    I’d start working out now. Exercise helps combat depression and can help you have more energy. Even if you ultimately don’t join the military you won’t regret getting into shape.

    #717070 Reply
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    Northern Star

    I don’t have specific advice for you, since I don’t have experience with the military—but I want to encourage you to stick with your goals to have a better life. You have a good head on your shoulders—that’s HUGE. 🙂

    #717117 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    Keep in mind that the military doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation for mental health care. I understand your desire to use it to mold yourself into a more disciplined person, but as much as you can do to learn coping skills for your depressed beforehand, the better. It’s not a fix-all, so you’ve got to be in the right mindset before entering too.

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