Best way to figure out if I'll like the military?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by usafahopeful1, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

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    What is the best way to figure out if I'll like the military?
    Go to summer seminar? Talk to vets, grads or people in right now? what about C.A.P. encampment? And also, what branch to go into (yes, I know I'm in the USAFA part)? I have a couple of years yet, but I'm sure it will be a hard decision then anyways. Do you have any good ideas? What are the best online resources to look at?
     
  2. Republic_Commando

    Republic_Commando Member

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    It sounds like your interested in the Air Force so I would recommend the Civil Air Patrol. Speaking personally it's a great experience and it'll benefit you alot.
     
  3. frisbforce

    frisbforce Member

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    When you graduate you could do prep school (NMMI, NWP, etc.. . IF you don't like prep school then you can quit, and depending on your SAt's and grades you could apply to other schools. Remember lots of dedicated people want to get into USAFA and the military and if you can't make up your mind it's not always fair to the people who really want it. Does that make sense?
     
  4. frisbforce

    frisbforce Member

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    Cap is also excellent!!
     
  5. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

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    I'm in CAP, but I just joined last September, and am a Senior Airman now. So far, I love it! If it's an accurate representation of what the Air Force is like, except way easier, then I'd probably love it. I'm going to encampment this summer and hope it will help me to understand what the military is really like. Next year I'll apply for summer seminar at USAFA and USMA. My brother's at USAFA right now, and loves it. We liked a lot of the same stuff, but had different specialties. My biggest worry is that I like sciences, but I really like foreign languages a LOT more. What kind of jobs are there for people who are interested in languages rather than sciences in the military? And I really like teaching, so are there jobs such aas foreign language teacher and stuff? I assume I'd have to do some other stuff first, but if I stayed in a long time, I would like to teach a foreign language.
     
  6. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

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    I don't know about a prep school. It makes perfecct sense, but I am hoping by senior year I'll have a better idea of what I wan to do. I'm a person who is fairly good at a lot of different stuff and enjoys most of it too, so it's always hard to decide what to do.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Prep schools are unique. Most do not take that route.

    You are young, if there is a college with any ROTC det nearby; you said military not AF, so I am going under the assumption you are open to all branches. Do a school tour your jr yr in the spring, and visit their dets/bn. Talk to the CoC and cadets/mids. They can give you a glimpse.

    Talk to vets, AD, etc. The fact is the AF that cadets enter now will not be the AF the AD or retirees served. It is an organic organization that changes with time.

    The one thing that everyone who has ever served will agree upon, is that the bond created is life long.

    I do not know 1 person who served that is not still in touch with people they met when they 1st entered. In our society that says a lot.

    I know for many CAP is a big deal, but remember that is HS. My piece of advice is to do it, but don't enter the AFA thinking that CAP is a feather in your cap (no pun intended).
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I like how the advice given is by people who haven't been in the military (Pima is a special exception. Special by being the mistress!). CAP isn't the AF. JROTC usually is not a good representation. Honestly, trying to use any analogies are difficult, it is a unique profession that isn't well understood by outsiders. Best shot of gathering viewpoints is to go read some well-established books (people like tpg, Pima, CC, Bullet, and others can recommend some good ones) to give you a literary perspective.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    To piggy back on Hornet. To the original poster, you ask a very good question. I can tell you right now, that even individuals who have wanted the military since they "Were a kid", still have no idea what they're getting into. Most of those who get an appointment to the academies have no idea what they're getting into. Hence; one of the reasons the academies allow you to leave any time in the first 2 years, without any obligation to pay back money or service time.

    (Those of you who don't like this, because it takes a slot from someone who really wanted it and didn't get it, don't go there. Most of the people who get out in the first 2 years at the academy, really, truly, did believe it was something they wanted their whole life. This is the ENTIRE REASON the academies have this option. They know you don't know what you're getting into. Especially at 16-17 years old.)

    The fact that the OP is actually trying to figure out if it's something they might want, is admirable. I will give you some advice. Things like CAP are really nice programs; but they AREN'T the military. They have very little in common with the military. Same with JrROTC. There are many people who think because they were in, and liked, CAP, JrROTC, and/or Boy Scouts, that they are a natural fit for the military. Sorry; but you might as well have been in the Marching Band. (Actually; athletes and marching band have probably more success because of the level of discipline and following orders). Nothing against these programs. Just that they are not the military, and they will not help you determine if you will like the air force (Military) or not.

    But generally speaking, you would like the military (Air force) if:
    1. You deeply want to serve your country as a patriot and not just for the education and other benefits.
    2. If you like being part of something that is bigger than yourself. Part of a "Team".
    3. Don't mind being ordered around, because you know that you need to start at the bottom. And all this ordering around will eventually help you when you are in a position to order people around.
    4. Can put away your Type-A personality; or at least curb it; because the academy is made up of 98% people ALL with this same Type-A personality. Class average is made up of cadets who ALL were the TOP of their high school. In other words; you go from a BIG FISH in a small pond, to a SMALL FISH in a HUMONGOUS POND!!!

    If you can be this person; knowing that your little part of it, will be contributed along with everyone else, to "Accomplish the Mission" which is much bigger than yourself; then you probably would like the military. If you strive for the individual attention, or like individuality, then the military probably isn't for you. Not that there isn't individuality; just that it isn't the prime focus or importance of your personality.

    Anyway; there is the 2 years to get out if you realize you don't like it. That's what it's there for. You always have that option. But being part of CAP, JrROTC, etc... is in no way going to help you decide if you'll like the military. Do those activities because you WANT TO; not because you think it's going to give you some insight of what you're getting into. It won't. Best of luck to you. Mike....
     
  10. armystrong2015

    armystrong2015 Member

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    I was in CAP for almost three years- it is a great introduction to a few military traditions (ie, some drill, uniform, etc). I loved it while I was in it (exited as a C/2d Lt). Encampment is a GREAT way to be introduced to some aspects of military life. The best part is, it's not just for people who want to go Air Force. I'm going into either the Army or Marine Corps.
     
  11. Boozebin

    Boozebin Member

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    I won’t beat a dead horse about CAP/jROTC the others said it best and trust me I’ve don’t both and was AD AF and you need to listen to them…

    But in an effort to answer some of the other questions the OP had you can start by going to each branch’s web site and specifically look at the JOBS each offer and see which of those interest you the most. If you give an honest assessment of the JOBS and which interest you; you’ll find yourself gravitating to one branch… The reason I capitalized jobs is because you should always remember it’s service before self… always… so you may not get the “dream” job you want so you should like a collection of jobs when you decide on your branch. I’m not saying don’t shoot for that dream job but just be prepared if you don’t get it.

    Talk to as many people about it as you can… The reason I say as many is because you’ll get a lot of different opinions and views about life in the military… And don’t talk to just AD/Ret military either talk to their spouses if you can... They will have a unique perspective on it as well. Just ask PIMA!

    As for me I loved my time in the AF (hell I have the AF logo tattooed on my left calf!) I wish I stayed in like most here but it was better for my family (wife and son at the time) for me to get out. But I can say this I am the man I am today due to, in a large part, the military.

    I hope this helps and good luck!
     
  12. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

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    Thanks Christcorp, that's pretty helpful. I am becoming happier and happier that I still have lots of time to think about ti.
     
  13. usafahopeful1

    usafahopeful1 Prospective Cadet 2017

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    If you could recommend some good books, that would be great. Especially something describing a field in which teaching/foreign area studies plays a part.
     
  14. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    The Unforgiving Minute is an interesting look at the life of a West Pointer.
     
  15. wind

    wind Member

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    Number one best way to figure out if you might work well in the military? I would talk to a lot of people in the military and not just one specific branch either...they are all different in their own ways, each have pro's and con's. Also, each person will probably tell you different things, but since they all have more experience with the military than you or I, they are probably the best source of info...I would also recommend talking to people who are currently in, so they can give you the most up to date info. Good Luck!
     
  16. RyWalk

    RyWalk Candidate-2015

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    I think some soul searching could give you an idea of if it's right for you. Not that thinking that it is right for you will mean it definitely is. You just have to know you're joining for the right reasons. Ask yourself the hard questions if no one else is.

    Do you just want to go to an SA or a service?
    Do you do community service just for the hours, or because you want to?
    Do you know what you would fight for?
    Do you honestly enjoy pushing yourself past your own limits, and discovering new things about yourself?
    Are you obedient? Do you respond well to being yelled at? Meaning you don't talk back and make excuses. Which ties with: When in a leadership role, do you have accountability?
    Do you work well in teams? Do you prefer working in teams?
    Are you interested in many different military careers?

    I'm just a candidate, so I'm not exactly sure of what are good questions. But you probably can't go wrong with these. I'm sure any former/current military member on or off this forum could ask you the right questions. Just ask them to ask the hard questions. If you have what it takes to join the military, you'll probably end up enjoying it.
     
  17. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Easy answer!

    Read this:


    Commissioning Oath

    I, (state name), having been appointed a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.


    If you can't say you want to raise your right hand and take that oath, than take the time to look deeper.

    If you choose the military you will state those words.

    Sorry, ry, but in the end of the day it comes down to saying I will give my life for this country to succeed and prosper.

    Taking orders, giving to the community, pushing past limits is fluff.

    Are you willing to say, I will be like the Fukushima 50 in Japan and go into save the country.

    Are you willing to be those helo pilots that dropped water knowing they would die from radiation?

    Not something anyone wants to address, but that is the reality when you join the military. You serve to protect and defend this country.

    Harsh, yes!

    Reality, yes!
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    That's like "Press ANY KEY to continue...... "Where's the ANY KEY?"

    I'm still looking for "State your name". I think I saw him once at the Chow hall. :thumb:
     
  19. RyWalk

    RyWalk Candidate-2015

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    I agree with Pima. Service before Self. You need to know that you will always be ready to do that.
     
  20. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    "The Blue Book says we've got to go out and it doesn't say a damn thing about having to come back."

    -Capt. Patrick H. Etheridge, Keeper 1891-1909, Cape Hatteras Life-Saving Station, USLSS
     

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