Written by Scott A. Ostrow USAF (Ret) It’s that time of the year again, thousands of high school seniors turning into high school graduates. This is both an exciting and anxious time for those young adults ready to leave their mark on the world. While many have had to make the tough choices about where they will go from here; perhaps having to choose from a number of colleges, still others may have known where they were going after high school for some time. Maybe they are continuing a family tradition at a particular college; or, perhaps, continuing a tradition of serving their country in the armed forces. Yet, others may have just realized that the world just got real and the future they worried about for so long is now the present.
After being hit square in the jaw with reality, many of these individuals may have decided that the military is as good a place as any to get a start in the real world. Or, at least is a place to hang out for a few years while they are trying to find their place in the world. If this describes your situation; I advise you to slow down and consider all of the alternatives.
Please, do not get me wrong, I believe that the military is a great place for young people to get their start, or make a career, but it is not for everyone. You may be feeling pressure from your parents, or other family members, or perhaps friends, to, “do something with your life,” but don’t allow that pressure to force you into a situation you don’t want to be in. I, of course, urge you to read my book, Guide to Joining the Military, and pay special attention to the section on needs assessments; however, I also encourage you to talk to others. While military recruiters are fountains of knowledge when it comes to enlisting, just remember that’s their job.
Once again, congratulations on this milestone which will prove to be the beginning of your adventure into adulthood. For those who have already chosen their path, I say stay committed and focused. For those trying to get your bearings and are contemplating joining the military; I say slow down and make sure you are making a well-informed decision.