I am trying to decide whether or not to do ROTC. I am 19 years old and will be entering my sophomore year of college at the University of Minnesota as a mechanical engineering major. When I was applying to colleges, I applied for and received an AFROTC scholarship. I was lucky and got a very generous scholarship offer from UMN and elected not to take the ROTC scholarship as I didn’t really need the financial assistance. Now I’m once again considering joining ROTC. I understand that I will not receive that scholarship or any financial assistance for that matter. I would just like to serve my country. I looked into the differences between OCS (Officer Candidate School) and ROTC and it seems that ROTC would at least give me the opportunity to see if the military life is for me before I commit a few years of my life to it. I heard from a friend who joined ROTC his freshman year that as an engineer you mainly do design work, but that once you are promoted beyond lieutenant you manage teams of people rather than doing the nitty gritty design work. Is he right? I also have aspirations beyond the military and was wondering how service would fit into my long term goals. I’m interested in mining asteroids, colonizing Mars, or terraforming desert, if I can’t get off planet. I would eventually like to start my own company. Since I don’t plan on making a career of the military, I’d like to learn more about how serving would affect a civilian career in engineering, before I contact the UMN detachment. What is it like transitioning from the military to civilian life if you’re an engineer? Is it hard to find a job after being out of the industry for several years? Does service essentially entail losing the 4-6 years of career and salary growth? In other words, would I, at 26 be put at the same position as I would if I didn’t join and went to work in the private sector straight out of college at 22? Financially speaking, I know that I’d make a lot more in the private sector. However, can the military come at least a little close if you include all of the benefits? Beyond that, what are your experiences with working in the military? Any advice you have? Are there certain things I should consider that I may not have, or are there benefits to service that I may have overlooked? Thank you very much for your feedback!