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Ask Stew: Having Doubts About Service

WhichServiceToJoinArmy

It's common to have doubts about joining the service and selecting what service is best for you, especially after coming straight from a life at home attending high school. But there comes a time when you have to put in the work to look into the details of your future career choice. Do not just blindly sign any branch of service that opens their doors. Do your homework and find what works best for you. Here is an email from a rather stressed and somewhat confused teen with the goal to serve, but who doubt his abilities and what service to select.

I began to think about enlisting in the military in the 11th grade when an Army recruiter came to my school. He shot me down for some reason. I began to look at other options. First I looked at the National Guard, but did not enlist. Then I looked at the Marines but told my recruiter that I didn't think I was right for the Marines and he let me go, but not without putting up a fight. Today, I am again thinking about joining the military, but this time the Air Force. The reason for writing this is because I'm looking for advice. Is the overwhelming/ anxious feeling normal? Is it typical for a possible recruit to be intimidated by the process? I continue to toss it back in forth in my mind and I just can't decide, is the military for me or not?

First of all – YES.  Absolutely. You are getting ready to leave home for your first time. Whether you are going to college, a job, or the military, leaving home and high school is tough, and causes doubts and anxiety. But it is time to grow up and make a decision. It sounds like you need to do more research on the branch of service you are going to join. Knowledge helps. Right now you are going into the unknown and need to educate yourself on the decision to serve. There is a lot of information on the Air Force Life at the official Air Force Website.

This is your future -- you should know EVERYTHING about it. Look through the official website and find out about your future job in the military, where you could be living, where you will deploy, how much school you have to do, how much money you will make, and many other quality of life issues. If you do not know any or all of these, that could be the cause of your anxiety and doubt. The more you know, the less you will doubt. See this link for more information on the Top Ten Things You Should Know Before You Join the Military.

Also, do not neglect your fitness. Do not go into boot camp or basic training thinking that it is their job to get you into shape. It is not. It is your job to come prepared -- both physically and mentally. See ideas for workouts:

Practicing pushups, situps, and 1.5 mile runs is going to be in your future. Get used to these events at a minimum. By the way, I tell people all the time that serving in the military is a calling, not just a job you do, because you can't do anything else or get into college. It is a profession that you have to be motivated to do. It is not my job to motivate you to serve. It is yours.

Stew

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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