One day, as I scrolled through my emails, I came across an email to join the military. I immediately become intrigued by the benefits that would be provided to me—especially the “100% tuition” payment. This offer came to me during a time I craved change in my life, and I can surely state that my life shifted this day. I decide to enlist to New York National Guard Army. Upon this journey, I was excited to take a break from school, as well as taking this time to expand my mind on the challenges I was capable of overcoming. By challenging myself in choosing a job that was related to electrical circuitry and mechanics, I did just that.
Moreover, during boot camp, after a couple of days, doubts began to cloud my mind, filling me up with “could I do this? Do I have what it takes to continue in the military?” thoughts. A few weeks later, after various training; jumping off walls, hiking, running miles and much more, I doubted my self even more, and questioned if it was all worth it. But, at that point, I thought the only way to get through it was to complete the training—it was going to make the experience easier. As I got deeper into the process, I realized that it was not the experience for me. Furthermore, now that I am back in New York it is a constant struggle to manage my college life and military responsibilities. For instance, when I’m required to attend training, the long traveling day from Oswego to Staten Island is exhausting. As well as having to leave the same day for another 7 hours in order to make it on time for my classes. One conclusion/opinion I can say from my personal experience is that the military is not made for everyone.
I thought that the military process would give me the confidence or the missing piece I was looking for. I got out of it twenty-one weeks later happy to be “free” but, I still didn’t feel content. Now that I look back at it, it was an experience that I could never forget, but wish I thought more beforehand. I thought my college tuition would be paid but since my mother makes such a low income, and I was already receiving the benefits that the military was offering from the very beginning. Additionally, I was upset because I wasted a semester of my college career to a delusional fantasy; this is what I needed to find myself, and graduate with fewer loans.
If I were to give advice to anyone interested in joining the military, I would say do your research. The support provided to students who embark on this journey from SUNY Oswego helps make the experience more pleasant for individuals. On campus, there is a room made just for military students to reach out with one another. The coordinator Ben Parker, also does a great job often offering lunches for veterans during the semester and much more. I know it may seem as if I have to only point out the good things about the army, as a member, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and proving my honest experience is important to me.