Joining the military can be a great experience for some people, but for others it can be a terrible mistake. People enlist in the military for a variety of reasons. Some soldiers enlist to serve their country, just for the challenge and adventure, to see parts of the country or world that they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten the chance to see, to stay out of trouble, to pay for a college education, or simply because it is a steady income in a hard economy. Joining the military for me was both a great experience and a terrible mistake.
I first enlisted in the Army National Guard when I was junior in high school. I joined because I thought that it would be a great way to pay for my education and still experience all the adventure of the military while serving my country at the same time. I went to Oklahoma and Virginia for training, got to see Iceland, an island in Portugal, and Germany two times, and ended up stationed at Fort Drum when I went active duty. Getting to meet people from all over and learning the variety of skills needed to be a soldier were some of the greatest experiences that I have ever had.
Joining the military can end up being a pretty big mistake for many. When I joined I was really didn’t understand what a person has to give up to be a soldier. My obligations to my state and country prevented me from getting into college when I had originally planned. As a result I ended up not continuing my education for another thirteen years. Realizing that a military family isn’t so much a family unit as it is a single parent home with an occasional helper was the point when I knew that becoming a soldier was a mistake for me.
I have learned that the reasons for joining the military may vary but don’t matter. It is more about what each individual person is willing to give up that ultimately determines the experience that one has.