How to tell parents I want to join the Army?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by 5129, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. 5129

    5129 New Member

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    Background:
    I come from a Chinese background. My mom is EXTREMELY concerned with safety, to the point where she would not let me ride in my cousin's car for a half hour trip because he would be going on the freeway. My immediate family doesn't really have a military background, although, my grandfather on my mother's side was in the mandatory service in Taiwan. I haven't expressed any desire to them about joining the Army before and am still somewhat on the fence myself.

    ROTC:
    I am a freshman. I have been trying out the Army ROTC program at UCLA for about a quarter now. I like the program and think I could have a future in it. However, I haven't contracted yet. Mostly because I would like the consent of my parents but also because I'd like more information about what the Army is like after ROTC.

    Questions:
    -Any advice for letting my parents know?
    -What are the benefits of contracting other than money for tuition, books, and stipend?
    -What are my obligations if I contract? How many years will I need to serve? Does this differ if I get a 4-year scholarship or a 2-year one?
    -Can I still go to graduate school after ROTC? How will that affect my contract?
    -What is day to day life like as a 2nd Lieutenant? (I'm hoping to branch Engineer, more specifically) Will I be out in the field more often than not? What are the safety concerns?
    -What are my chances of getting deployed if I go Reserve?
    -What is life like if I'm in the Reserve but not deployed?
    -How beneficial will being an Army officer be if I want to get a job in the civilian market?
    -What's the difference between the Guard and Reserve?

    That's all I can think of for now. Thanks for reading it through!
     
  2. Downfall75

    Downfall75 USAFA Cadet

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    I understand the background you are coming from as I am sure my family is the exact same way. My father and grandfather were Marines in TW as well, and my parents did not enjoy the decision I made to go to AFA. The wisest decision you can ever make is to just grow some balls and go out with it. Honestly, this is the life you will be living and you cannot allow them to dictate how it will be lived. Come out of your protective shell around your parents. If they say that they will cut off your financial aid, so be it. Use your GI Bill. There are plenty of things the military has to offer that your parents cannot.

    -Any advice for letting my parents know?
    Just sit them down and be completely honest with them. There is really nothing they can do to stop you since you are over 18.
    -What are the benefits of contracting other than money for tuition, books, and stipend?
    The whole point of the military is to create a sense of leadership, discipline, and honor. It is more than just your GI Bill.
    -What are my chances of getting deployed if I go Reserve?
    I believe the reserves are one weekend a month and two weeks over summer, but I highly doubt that it is the case right now. There have been plenty of reservists that have been deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan.
    -What is life like if I'm in the Reserve but not deployed?
    It is basically like a part-time job. It is supposedly one weekend a month and two weeks over summer.
    -How beneficial will being an Army officer be if I want to get a job in the civilian market?
    It will be extremely valuable. Employers will see that you have the leadership training and skill based upon your background as an Army officer. Besides an education you will receive from UCLA (i assume), you will develop many technical skills in the field and have the discipline and leadership skill required in many jobs.
     
  3. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    -What are the benefits of contracting other than money for tuition, books, and stipend?
    For Army ROTC, you will get your uniforms (I don't think non-contracted cadets get class A's), you also will be required to do labs and have better opportunities for summer training.
    Of course by being contracted, you will incur a committment.

    -What are my obligations if I contract? How many years will I need to serve? Does this differ if I get a 4-year scholarship or a 2-year one?
    4 year scholarship is 4 years AD (or you could get reserves). Then 4 years reserves or IRR. check with your unit but I think a 2 or 3 year scholarship you contract for 3 years AD.

    -Can I still go to graduate school after ROTC? How will that affect my contract?
    Maybe - probably not right away. The Army does have a med school program. Normally, you need to make captain for grad school, I think. You can also use the New GI BIll for grad school.


    -What is day to day life like as a 2nd Lieutenant? (I'm hoping to branch Engineer, more specifically) Will I be out in the field more often than not? What are the safety concerns?
    Engineers is a Combat Arms Branch. to see what they do go here:
    www.branchorientation.com
    when deployed - all jobs are dangerous.
    -What are my chances of getting deployed if I go Reserve?
    Depends on the unit but pretty good.
    -What is life like if I'm in the Reserve but not deployed?
    You get a job. You can go to grad school or work on your civilian career.
    -How beneficial will being an Army officer be if I want to get a job in the civilian market?
    Pretty good. Lots of companies like to hire Veterans. Some gov't agencies give major points to veterans. depends on what you want to do.
    -What's the difference between the Guard and Reserve?
    Roughly, the Army Reserve is under the Army. The National Guard is state and can be activated by the Governor. Essentially the same though.


    About your family - do your parents know you are taking the Army ROTC course? What do they think about that? I think you should just sit down and speak to them - talk to your PMS in your unit about your parents' reservations. Perhaps he has some information or videos for them.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I will not even try to answer the questions posed. They are Army related and you have a fountain of wealth of information from them regarding the ARMY.

    First, thank you for your willingness to serve.

    Second, maybe that is how you should pose it to your family...you want to give back to your country and that they have done such an incredible job raising you that you believe you can make a difference. No parent wants to worry about a child, Iraq or Afghanistan is not the same as driving the NJTPKE and working on wall street.

    Third, our DS elected to do ROTC, but it is AF and the committment is different(they are commissioned as a 2nd lt with 5 yrs active duty owed) However, I find it hard to believe that you are attending ROTC and not getting credit, thus the folks know of your desire. If you are in ROTC even as an elective you are receiving a grade.

    If you want the military than follow it, you are an adult. It is hard as a parent to understand that we may endure the pain of the loss of your life, but you also need to give us credit that we would not want to quash your dreams.

    Good luck, and thank you for even considering serving our country
     
  5. beatkp

    beatkp Member

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    5149,
    One of the present day opportunities available to Reservists and National Guard is the Personal Force Innovation (PFI’s) system. You basically apply for PFI status stateside and if selected you will be assigned active duty status stateside at a facility such as an Organic Army Depot. One positive note with PFI status is that you will be gaining DOD civilian job experience while on active duty status, plus earning DOD civilian veteran preference points. Selections are made by what positions are requested by DOD activity and reservist’s ability to qualify for position.

    DOD civilian veteran preference points are counted as 5 points for having a DD214 active duty form and 10 points for having a 30%-100% military disability, plus DD214 active duty form. A few reservists are offered the DOD civilian job at the end of their PFI tour as long they meet minimum qualifications. Check out link below.

    http://pfi.dod.mil/PFI_Online.html
     
  6. USNA

    USNA Member

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    I suggest that you meet with the ROTC rep for most of your service specific questions.

    If you are first generation American, I would recommend that you honor your parents, and discuss this with them. I lived in SE Asia for a couple of years. The cultural differences need to be considered because of the longterm impact this could have on your relationship with your folks. If your parents are "Americanized" this isn't such a big a deal. If not, count the costs BEFORE you accept an ROTC scholarship. I hope this helps.:thumb:
     

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