Everyone has at least one reason they want to join the military. And sometimes it may seem like that reason doesn’t matter. Understanding why you are choosing to join the military is crucial and can help you build a strong foundation, while also allowing you to focus on what you hope to gain from military service. Then when your commitment is coming to an end you can look back at why you joined and see if you have met your goals or if you still have more you want to accomplish. Of course, after joining the military you might discover new goals and pivot to focus on meeting those new goals. But knowing where you want to go can help you figure out your path forward.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the process of joining the military or have served for years, going back to why you joined can help you in your military service journey. As life happens you can always redirect your focus or turn in a new direction. But understanding how you got to where you are and where you are going can help ensure you end up where you want to be.
A common reason people join the military is to get out of a location or hard situation. While this reason can seem like something that will not help you figure out where you want to go and seems straightforward. Taking time to realize what you need to ensure you don’t go back to that situation can help set your path on what you do and what you focus on while serving.
It can start with something as simple as helping you find a career field that you can use after you leave the military. Or focusing on the education you gain from either career training or the military benefits available. Utilizing these tools can help ensure you set yourself up for success for life after military service no matter how long you serve. There might also be character traits you believe the military can give you that can help prevent you from going back to a difficult relationship or situation. While you are in you can focus on gaining the tools that will help you in your journey.
Another common benefit that draws people into military service is the educational benefits. If you know that your driving factor for joining the military is to gain education benefits you can work on taking advantage of those benefits before you even leave the service by taking advantage of tuition assistance or other specialized programs that may be available. You can also start preparing and planning on how you will use your GI Bill benefits as your service commitment comes to an end. Applying to college so you can get your degree often happens months in advance of the first day of class so knowing that you will go to school upon leaving the military requires months of planning before you leave.
You can also be selective in learning about what type of job you would like to do in the future. Using your experience in the military can help push you to your future career. It can also allow you to start taking classes to prepare you for the next phase if you need a degree. You also might be able to take classes for a specific expertise. The military can also help you decide if the career field you picked is actually the right job for you. And if it isn’t, sometimes you can cross-train into a new career field.
Some people join to see the world. If you have a travel bug the Navy or even the Coast Guard might be the best option for you. But not all career fields lead to a life of traveling the high seas and visiting different ports around the world. When you are in the process of joining, learn all you can about different career fields. Look at what options give you the most likely chance to be able to see the world. Then follow that path and don’t get distracted by bonuses or offers for other career fields that don’t give you what you want.
Consider if you want to travel regularly or if you just want to have the opportunity to live in different locations. If you just want to live in different locations where you have the opportunity to travel and see new things, look at what military branch and career field meets your needs and desires. The more research you do and the more you know what you want will make it easier and more likely for you to be able to achieve your goals.
Find your reason to join the military
When you know where you want to go, you can create a plan to help you get there. If you are just along for the ride enjoying your time in the service you might miss out on opportunities that can help your future self to that goal quicker. If you shoot for nothing, you will hit it every time. But a military career gives you so many opportunities. It shouldn’t be wasted shooting for whatever happens to come your way. Instead, you should know why you want to join, and what you want to get out of your service. Then pivot as needed when life throws you curveballs along the way.