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The Reason I Won’t Be Broke By 22

 18 y.o., USMC enlisted (Boot Ship July. 22nd, MOS 02–)


For decades, high school students have worked hard to get into the best college possible and survive four years (or more) of studying,  all to get that $100,000+ piece of paper that says they’re good enough at something.

News flash.

Things have changed.

More and more employers today want this thing called “experience” more than they want the overpriced piece of paper. Right now, college is more expensive than ever, but most teens feel pressured to jump into some form of continuing education after high school. As of 2016, 60% of college graduates had an average $37,712 that needed to be paid off.

The original plan was a mechanical engineering degree from Texas A&M. After seeing a debt average like that, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I kept looking at colleges and tech schools, but the military became a viable option once I sat down with a recruiter and learned more about the Navy and the Marine Corps. After some time to debate between the Navy or the Marines, I enlisted in the USMC on July 17th, 2018; and so far it has been my best decision as an adult.

At Thornton, nearly half of all graduates are deciding not to pay for the overpriced paper, but instead head straight for the workforce. Some get good jobs working in a family business or at a job that vocational school prepared them for, but many others end up stuck at places McDonald’s or Walmart. Others find a place at a tech school leaning skills like plumbing, building or electricity that will always be in demand.

Trades are a good option, there’s always plenty of work for those who are trained in specific skills and willing to work hard, but less and less people are going for those, instead to heading straight for work or college. The demand for trades has grown in the past few years, offering tempting incentives, but much of our generation doesn’t find it appealing or have been told that college is the only way so they don’t consider trades as a viable option.

What few people realize is there is another option. It’s called the United States Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Army, National Guard,  and everyone should try it.

OK, no, not everyone. Statistically, 30% of the US population is mentally and physically ready for the military, but less than 1% of the population is physically and mentally ready for the more demanding branches, like the Marines or the Coast Guard. On top of that, even fewer are willing to enlist and invest their time and physical capabilities into the military.

So, big scary government organization that could support you for the rest of your life and your family? Why the hell not? What’s the worst that it could do?

There are arguments to this; some of them being “I don’t want PTSD” or “I don’t want to be deployed to a dangerous area”. Few people realize that there is much more to the military than training and shooting and blowing up things. Sure, part of the military does focus on those things, but they also offer jobs like cooking, music, intelligence, and mechanical repairs. The only issue is, not enough people know that about the military, and with a little bit of education about the variety of jobs, it may become more appealing to this generation.

More and more, America consists of lazy, selfish, idiots who want everything handed to them yesterday; and it is our generation’s responsibility to do something about that. The military has the potential to change anyone’s life path for the better, and is a risk worth taking when one considers the amount of benefits and mental strengths that the military can give you.

My generation is coming upon the age of taking over from the older folks…it’s about time we had the courage to really get involved in what needs to be done.

As a 18-year-old myself, I feel our generation needs to step up. In order to do that, we all need a plan. Some know what they want to do, others do not. Let’s help those who don’t by expanding their options. It’s about time more students knew that they can go into the military and be successful, most likely more successful than those who got their $100,000 piece of fancy paper.

We don’t need to mandate that everyone serves. Not everyone is made to do the things required in the military, and that’s okay. At the same time, there is a large number of people who could make it sweeping floors for the military, but have the same benefits and skills as the recon Sergeant who’s been deployed 5 times.

Why do I think more high school seniors should consider the military? :

  1. Colleges have become incredibly expensive.

From 1980 to 2014, college tuition costs have inflated over 260%. That is a lot of money, and it takes an average of 21 YEARS  to pay off the average BACHELORS degree… imagine a Master’s or Doctorate….

    2. The military doesn’t have a big enough presence in schools like they have in the past and needs more recruits.

Over the last couple of years, the Army, in particular, has fallen short of their recruit goals. Not a small amount, either. The Army was over 80,000 recruits short of their goal. Allowing military recruiters in schools more freely might help more people see the service as a viable post-high-school option.

    3. Military can pay for college. And housing. And food. And insurance. And that is just the beginning.

If you could work for 20 years while taking college courses for FREE, with pay, paid vacation, and be able to retire after those 20 years would you?

Imagine, enlisting at 18 and retiring by 38. Not 65, not even 45. 38. Work for 20 years and BOOM. You can retire. You don’t have to, you’re not required to, but the incentives keep growing the longer you stay.

But how can we change school culture so that military becomes a more acceptable option?

Let’s start by allowing recruiters into schools and public events more. Even just during lunch waves or local fairs and farmers markets, maybe coming in to speak in a class or two, but making appearances a couple times a week, at least could change how we see their role in society. Making the image for the military larger in schools can create ideas for the kids who don’t have a plan or idea for their future and what they want to do with their life.

The biggest comeback to that is; “We don’t let college recruiters in during lunch waves and classes, so why should we allow the military in?”

College is very different than the military. One will suck the money, life, and ambition out of young people who are then trapped into paying for educations they are not sure what to do with for the rest of their lives. The other is the military, where young graduates can find a job with a near-endless list of benefits and the potential to grow in whatever specification they choose, and have experience for civilian jobs after their contract is up.

Needless to say, technology hasn’t helped much either. Giving everyone a voice is most certainly not a bad thing, but it has the potential to plant skewed ideas and perspectives.

Welcome to 2019, where most prefer to stay behind their facebook account or snapchat, so face-to-face social interaction is something that people try to avoid. Call it old-fashioned or out-of-touch, but the more military we get into schools and places of high traffic, like malls and such, the better.

We have the potential to be the generation to turn this country to a better direction. There are different ways of tackling this, but one approach is to prepare our generation for the stresses and obstacles that we may come upon. I feel the military is one of the best ways to allow our generation to become familiar and prepared for those stressful situations. The world is a political and social battlefield, and being able to navigate through life with a goal and plan in mind is a surefire way to success.


One Comment

  1. Stacy Stacy January 29, 2019

    Great easy read..Held my attention with to-the-point qualifying statements! I still think 2 years in the military after high school should be a perk offered to every US citizen, with some incentive to do so.

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