When I was a high school senior I met with recruiters from the various armed services of the United States. I was interested in enlisting as an alternative to going to college and as a way to enter a career and move away from my neighborhood. I remember arranging to meet with an Air Force recruiter so that he could give me some insight into what I was trying to get myself into.
I visited the recruiter’s office on Fordham Road and Grand Concourse, my friend Christopher was with me. We walked upstairs, and walked past the other branches’ offices. As I walked in, I noticed the layout of the office, on a whiteboard to my right there was a message written: “The Military is not a plan B.” We learned about the process of enlisting during this visit, we learned about the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), the medical requirements, the “buddy” system, and the Basic Military Training.
Those words on that whiteboard were very powerful. I often heard from my classmates the words “if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll just join the military” yet this is the worst approach that someone could take towards the military, and their career. This line of thinking undermines the reality of being a service member. This line of thinking does not take into consideration the danger that comes with risking your life for the country and the other service men and women.
I decided not to enlist right after high school, thanks to my constant outreach and conversations with my recruiter.I found out that although becoming a service member was something that I wanted to do, there were many options to become one. I decided to go to college and join the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and I spent a year in the program. It was a great learning experience. he skills that I learned from my peers and my flight mates have made me a better leader. This program gave me some idea of how some things in the service works.
If you are a college student or a high school student debating whether to continue your education or not, keep in mind that the armed forces are not meant to be a plan B. There is too much risk involved when one chooses to join the service and this should not be a light matter. Think carefully about the choices that you make, because the choices that you do today will affect you tomorrow.