Is Joining the Military Right for You?

Zak Parchen, Staff Reporter

If you are in need of a sense of discipline, a sense of duty, financial aid for college, and have always dreamed of being able to make a difference in the world, joining the military just might be the right choice for you. Joining the military is a serious life decision, one that requires real evaluation before making, but definitely one that should be considered. Many people either have misconceptions of the military, shying them away, or simply join for the wrong reasons. It is critical that before making the choice of whether to join or not, a person knows what to expect.

Something that must be taken into account before joining the military is the fact that you may have to be away from home or even the country for months at a time. You are signing yourself into a several year job commitment, with no turning back. The United States military is stationed throughout the globe, meaning that you could end up anywhere: from Europe, to the Middle East, to Sub Saharan Africa, and so on. For some people, the idea of traveling brings thoughts of excitement, especially  when many of these positions are noncombat, such as peacekeepers. This allows military personnel to be exposed to new cultures, people, places, etc. However, there are also people who find themselves too easily homesick and most likely would not  be fond of constantly moving from place to place. Luckily there are still options in the military for people who prefer to stay close to home.

The greatest risk a person takes when joining the military is that they may be deployed for combat, where there is a chance they might not come back in one piece or even come back at all. Death is a possibility when in the military as more than 6,800 US personnel lost their lives in the Middle East, since the start of the War on Terror. Signing up for the military means that you are willing to put your own life on the line for your country, if this is not something you are willing to do, then the military may be out of the question for you.

An excellent benefit that the military has become increasingly well-known for is that joining will allow you to get aid towards paying off student loans and gain accessibility to scholarships. The Montgomery GI bill, for instance, provides over $60,000 that can be used towards college fees, job training, and more for active and veteran members of the military. In addition to GI bills, there are scholarships, such as the NROTC four-year scholarship that pays full tuition, provides a monthly allowance, and covers textbooks fees. This scholarship is reserved for Navy and Marine members, although there are plenty of other military scholarships for the other branches.

An option that should be looked into is the army reserve. The reserve requires its members to only serve one weekend out of the month and one full week out of the year, going to the base for training. The reserve makes it easier for a person to attend college while enlisted, due to the part time nature of the position.