Great idea by Tac Nuke to start a thread like this. I'm sure that in between the applications, the decisions on where to apply, the physical, the interviews, the WAITING, and the good news that yes, you got an appointment, a LOT of these candidates and their parents have asked the question, "so what exactly will I / he /she be doing when they get out?" Allow me a few minutes to provide some insight as to what will make you sucessfully transition from worrying about finals to worrying about your career: 1) What is the number one thing you should be worrying about as a newly commisioned officer? Simple Answer: your J.O.B.! For the most part, our young officers need to become the TECHNICAL experts in their career within the first few years of thier career. Be it flyer, tank driver, ship Navigator, platoon leader, whatever. You want to be successful at it? Then work your tails off to know everything about that position there is to know. Better than the people you lead, better than the Major who leads you. The higher ranking guys / gals are worried about the LEADERSHIP / ADMINSTRATION aspects of the position. They already know the technical apsects, but may have been out of it for a few years. They will RELY on you knowing the TECHNICAL aspects. Of course, there are some careers (like flying) where becoming the technical expert takes YEARS, and you're expected to focus on the TECHNICAL aspects for a lot longer than other career fields to be successful. 2) Get to know your NCOs. They already know the Technical apsects, and are miles ahead of you in most leadership aspects as well. Earn thier respect by treating them WITH respect. Ask for and follow their advise. But remember, the ultimate decision is ALWAYS yours. Don't try to make them your buddies (you have other Lts for that), something that comes off as unprofessional and something they'll ultimately resent (besides, it's against UCMJ). Instead, treat them as your expereinced quarterback while you are the new coach; they are their to help you LEAD the team. LEARN from their insights. 3) Don't worry about the NEXT job. Worry about the job your doing NOW. You keep striving to be the best you can at the job your doing now, and your boss will worry about the next job FOR you. It's their job to identify whom they think will be their services' future leaders, and they will steer them to the positions and future assignements that will get them there. If your goal straight out of Surface Combat school is to become XO of an attack sub, and all you worry about is what do I need to do to get that assignment, your boss will see that attitude right away, and then you can kiss that dream goodbye. Bottom Line: you want test pilot school down the road? Then worry about becoming the best pilot in your squadron NOW. 4) Family and friends. They will be the rock you will cling on to in the storms that will be your career. NO ONEs career is perfect, with everything you do lollipops and candy canes as you skip down the path to One-Star! You wll have bumps, bruises, bad days at the office, and headaches galore. But you know what helped me get through it, everytime? I came home each night (when I could) to someone who would meet me at the door with a smile and a kiss, and a pack of young-uns who would rush into my arms laughing and begging to play! NEVER put them second to your career. Instead, place them on equal footing. If you're lucky, they will understand that sometimes the life you chose will have to come first, and you won't be there for too many special days to count. Spend 24/7 on the job, and that's all you'll have. And I'll pass on to you all some advise that Pima gave me a long time ago. A long time from now (hopefully), when your maker has finally called you home, there may be a few of your old military buddies and mates standing around your gravesite passing some stories about you. But the ones who will be crying the longest that day, and usually the last to leave, will be your family. And they will be the only ones to visit your grave site with fresh flowers in one hand and tears in their eyes as the years go by... 5) Finances. Someone mentioned this on the first thread in here, but let me give you my advise as well. They said it perfectly: PAY YOURSELF FIRST. Set it up so some of your pay check is automatically set aside in an IRA or savings account EVERY pay period. This way, you won't miss it when you look at your LES (Leave and Earnings Statement, the military pay stub). I'd recommend AT LEAST 15% of your initial pay at first. You don't make much as a brand new Lt, but every two years, you will be getting a significant raise, along with your promotions. I would also piggy back that you should stock away at least 1/3 of each pay raise into savings. Life Insurance? Well, the military has one of the BEST programs availalble: SGLI. $400K for about $30 a month, automatically deducted from yor pay again so you'll never miss it. When you get married and start a family, you'd be a FOOL not to take this. It will be up to you to decide whether that amount is enough to set your family up comfortably if something should happen to you. There are multitudes of financial planners and advisors out there that will search you out to become one of their clients. I mean, you're an OFFICER in the military, someone they know is responsible and low risk when it comes to being deliquent in payments. I don't really care if you use thier services or not, the choice is yours. What I will say is DO SOMETHING! Don't fritter your money away on the latest / coolest toys every month. Pay yourself first, place the money in some type of savings plan, and by the time your ready to retire you'll have a nice nest-egg. Keep buying the latest I-phone every six months, and you'll have some nice memeories and perhaps a good I-tunes library (if they even exist in 20 years), and not much more to live on... ----- Now, I'm sure there are lots of things I missed or didin't emphasize enough. I rely on some of the other posters here who have "been there / done that" to add their perspectives. But one final bit of advise: LOVE what you're doing. Be thrilled with every day you have this opportunity. You keep sweating the small stuff, and your life in the military will be miserable (and there is a LOT of small things to sweat over). Keep the BIG PICTURE: you're getting to do things and see things that most of America would never have the chance to do, and would love the opportunity. Don't ever forget to appreciate that fact everyday. And you get to do this with some of the best people you'll ever have the honor to be associated with. And when you get to that 20 year High Shcool re-union, and you meet some old aquantiences who start that bragging game of "Im a Doctor" or "I'm a Lawyer" and they ask "So, what do YOU do?" You get to see the jealousy in their eyes when you reply "not much, I'm just a Major / Lt Col in the XXX". And you can walk away saying "I won".