Apprehensive about the future

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by JTjax34, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. JTjax34

    JTjax34 New Member

    Apr 24, 2017
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    Hello All,

    I am a sophomore cadet currently in AFROTC not on scholarship. I originally entered college on a 4 year technical scholarship, however, I ultimately decided that a technical degree was not in my best interest academically and dropped the scholarship just before the start of this year. Originally, I would have never been able to afford my school without the scholarship, but fortunately, I found another means of doing so. Anyway, I'll get right to the point. I've always had a desire to serve and my ultimate goal in life is to have a positive impact on people's lives. Coming from a military family, the military seemed like an easy choice. If I'm being honest, I did have a few misgivings my freshman year but I felt as though it was best to wait it out and adjust to the changes. I am by no means a bad cadet. I participate in the unit and perform my duties accordingly. I'm even ranked top third in the detachment. My biggest concern, however, is that I feel like I've been on autopilot all semester. In other words, I've kind of just been going through the motions and my heart doesn't really seem with it. I haven't lost any respect for the military or what the mission of the military is. If anything, I've gained more respect for the sacrifices our service members make everyday. But with Field Training coming up, the thought of being committed until I'm 26-28 is a little daunting. The fact that I no longer need ROTC as means for tuition has also made it easier to explore civilian careers. I know at the end of the day there is no "wrong" decision here and I have to do what is best for me, but any thoughts and opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    kaylar likes this.
  2. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

    Apr 9, 2017
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    I am the mom of two young adults, not in the military. One in college (your age), the other is done with school and working. The first thing I thought about when reading your post, is that this phase of your life is very transitional and challenging. I tell my kids they are 'practicing adulting'. So absent your military obligation and desire influences, this stage of your life is full of questions and wonderings. Perfectly normal! My DD currently is questioning her (2nd) job. Not particularly enjoying it, thinks she should be advanced further along than she is. While I don't want her unhappy, I also know that you have to start at the bottom and work towards where you want to be....and to keep changing for something better is not going to solve all problems. What I am getting at is that you really have to think about WHY you want something different. BC something different may not be something better.

    How long do you have to decide? Are your parents receptive to the idea of not enlisting? My advice would be to talk to someone (parents) you trust about your feelings. Another idea would be to talk to a career counselor at your school. Also, have you taken a personality test? These tests can help you see what kind of career fits your personality, and maybe this would help with your decision. I would think the career development center would be a good source for that. They are also free online. But like I tell my own kids, the 'grass is NOT greener' elsewhere. And no Job/Career is perfect. Life is not like a movie....every day you have to decide to be positive and do you best. Best wishes!
  3. migs

    migs Member

    Feb 9, 2017
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    Only you can ultimately make the decision to go in the direction YOU want to go. I didn't follow my dreams right out of college (many years ago), and once I did I became a much happier person. The only advice I can give you is you have to do what makes YOU happy.
  4. madhttr

    madhttr AROTC Dad

    Aug 23, 2016
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    Not to compare them to the military commitment in any way but lots of careers involve a significant amount of time to get established, especially for non-technical majors. You may be the exception, but it's not uncommon for college graduates to just be hitting their stride at 26-28 (or later) anyway. Many end up doing something other than what they expected in their early twenties. And those years will pass a lot quicker than you may imagine. Again, it doesn't compare to the depth of the military commitment and that is something only you can decide, but just a perspective that you may not be missing as much in the early part of a civilian career as you might imagine. B.C. Forbes said, “Think not of yourself as the architect of your career but as the sculptor. Expect to have to do a lot of hard hammering and chiseling and scraping and polishing.” I would think that applies equally well to military and civilian careers.
  5. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper 5-Year Member

    May 16, 2014
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    The only people I ever knew who did not get cold feet after committing to military service were those whom the judge said "Jail or the military" to. Everyone has jitters or buyer's remorse but it typically turns out OK.

    And, from my ancient perspective as a village elder, 26 years old isn't exactly a lifetime. You'll still have a lot of lifetime experiences in front of you.

    But, hey, making decisions to do what you want to do is part of adulthood. Sometimes that sucks. Sometimes it's great.

    Good luck!
    Dckc88 likes this.
  6. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

    Dec 10, 2015
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    I am reminded by my own children and my nieces and nephews (ranging 19-32), that perspectives change quickly during this time of life. I remember my nephew wanting to be a minister, and his sophomore year of college talking about how he was going to be a missionary instead when he graduated because another three years of seminary after he graduated with his undergradduate just seemed like too big of a commitment. He was ordained this August as a Minister and installed at his first church this last weekend. I asked him if he regretted that extra 3 years of school. His response was he laughed and said "oh my goodness, it went really fast!" Don't get hung up on the time frame, like others have said above, focus on a path that interests you, but remember that still might change as you experience more things in life. Time goes a lot faster than you think, and re-inventing your career at 26 or 28 is very common and more than okay, and that might happen without the military. You have to make the best choice for you. I earned my Masters degree at 40 and changed my career at 43, and 6 years later I can say I am very happy with my new career. I was also happy with my career in my 20's and 30's, which were very different. Living a full life and trying more than one thing for a career can work. Doing the same thing your whole career is becoming more and more rare, but in some cases can work, everyone is different. Good luck and please keep us posted!
    turtlerunnernc likes this.
  7. thibaud

    thibaud Member

    Sep 28, 2017
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    You are an independent adult now. What do you want from life?

    What is your definition of fulfillment, of a life well lived?

    Specifically, what is that short list of must-have attributes of success, as you see them?

    My guess is that, if your definition of personal fulfillment does not have at or next to the top of the list the concepts of "service before self" and service to your country, then you would be best advised to get off of the military path. You can be fulfilled and happy, and a useful and productive citizen, without pursuing a military career.

    As one of our greatest poets wrote, "They also serve who stand and wait." Nothing at all wrong with the civilian path. Choose what's right for you.