A Ranger goes to college…but should you go to college?
The question is highly dependent on your individual situation. I don’t recommend it for all veterans but I would recommend that all of us at least consider it, especially considering that you can pretty much go to school for free using the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and even have housing paid for. So let me take a break from making fun of hipsters, feminists, and even other veterans to take a closer look at why vets should or should not go to school.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider using your G.I. Bill:
1. After you got out of the Army you are sitting in your mom’s basement playing video games and not much else. This was literally what I did for a few months after I got out. When you leave the military the worst thing you can do is to stop being a soldier. That means sitting on your ass, not doing PT, just mopping about and ranting about shit on Facebook all day. If you have fallen into this category, than it is time you put in some college applications.
2. Even if you don’t know for sure what you want to do on the outside, (what that TAPS workshop didn’t help you figure it out!?) college gives you some breathing room and gives you some time to figure out what your next step will be professionally speaking. I know it helped for me. While I was in college I also wrote three novels, helped Brandon stand up this website, and engaged in some other extracurricular activities. Can you begin building a business while you are in school? Of course you can.
3. Some of you are interested in things like medicine, engineering, or the finance sector. This is a no-brainer if you want to go into these fields. You need a degree. Same goes for furthering your service to America if you want to work for organizations like the FBI or CIA.
4. Girls and booze. I think this is why most people go to college in all actuality. A lot of partying with a few classes in between. Come on…its not like college is really that hard. You’re really just marking time until they hand you a degree. Some of us were a little old for that kind of thing by the time we got to school, but the average 23-year-old Marine or Infantrymen probably isn’t. I’m not bullshitting you folks. Just google “college parties” and like a hundred links to Redtube videos pop up. Nothing like being young, irresponsible, and devoid of adult responsibilities.
5. Although a college degree is not nearly as valuable in of itself as many would have you believe, at least it does give you something to fall back on. A lot of guys have their sights set on para-military contracting when they get out of the military. If you don’t have some kind of Special Operations background it is going to be hard to get into that type of position. I can’t tell you how hard it is not to laugh when some Ranger battalion private tells you his plan is to get out of the Army and be a CIA contractor. Sure you are hero. Contracting provides gainful employment for a lot of vets, but it isn’t necessarily a career move as the industry can change quite rapidly.
Now what are some reasons why you shouldn’t go to college?
1. You are committed to your life of playing video games in your mom’s basement. If you don’t have any focus or drive to do anything in life than going to college isn’t going to sort out all of your life’s problems for you. The best advice I ever got about the military was from a former Marine who told me, “you get out of it what you put into it.” In other words, you can spend four years in the Army handing out basketballs in the gym and have a shamtastic time collecting a free paycheck, but it isn’t going to lead you anywhere in life. Same goes for college. If you don’t want to put any work into it than you really are wasting your time.
2. You are one of those super squared away dudes who had a awesome transition plan and somehow walked right onto a great job. If you are one of those rare veterans than I salute you, nice work.
3. You have started a business that is showing rapid growth. Going to college would eat up all the time you could be focused on your business. At this point you need to do a cost to benefit analysis. If your company is growing fast and showing great returns than maybe that is what you need to be doing, not sitting in intro to international politics class with 18-year-olds.
4. You are a trust fund baby and don’t need to work, ever.
These are the main factors I think veterans should consider as they are separating from the military. College isn’t for everyone in all situations and whether or not it is worth your time is something you need to look at critically. Going to school on the G.I. Bill can be a great experience for many, but isn’t for everyone.
I took something away from my college experience, and not just that America’s youth are close to worthless, but taking classes on international affairs helped me contextualize global events and issues which helps inform my work as a writer here at SOFREP. Other than that college was pretty…blah. But that’s my case and you’re mileage may vary.