It all depends on what your plans are for the future; whether you want to go to college after your service, want to stay with the military as long as possible, or something else. Joining the military is sometimes seen as the wrong thing to do or a last resort, but in my opinion it's a great option that will land you many benefits and teach you many things.
Without knowing much more about your future plans, what branch you plan to join, and more about you personally, it is hard to say whether military service right out of high school would be a good idea, but let me try to explain a couple of general points about the military. To start off, it isn't easy regardless of the branch you decide to join, although some are harder than most, such as the marines who go through intense training during boot camp. Make sure you find a good, honest recruiter and try and read your agreement thoroughly before signing, many times they will tell you that you will receive something like a 10 or 20 thousand dollar bonus, but that only ends up being true if you re-enlist for another 4 or 8 years. Lastly, really think about your future, if you want to go to college after your service, then definitely go as soon as possible, but if you're going to be in the military as long as possible, you have to have some sort of backup plan because many people do not last more than 8 years in the military due to burnout, possible injuries, trauma or PTSD, and more.
Think about why you're joining the military and what YOU can get out of it.
Talk to your counselor/advisor as well as an honest recruiter, don't let them get you caught up in the bubble they want you in, explore your options and ensure that the military is right for you.
Do not let the position you are in now go to waste and be proud of where you are and what you have accomplished so far. Take this as guidance and formulate our own opinion.
This is a great place to be but does not last long, you can take risks and if it doesn't workout or isn't what you thought it was after an honest and fulfilled attempt you can recover and try something else. College, military, or going straight into the work force all have their pros and cons but you have to ask yourself what risks are you willing to take. Try to look your options, college degree does not equal a job career and military does not equal an well developed individual. Normally people will tell you college has to be your next step and has to be done right after HS mainly because college degree equals a good job and who doesn't want that right away. The big thing you need to realize is you are in a position that has many right answers but only one wrong answer' that would be to do nothing. Do your research, don't be an individual that says yes to the first thing, reflect on what is being presented to you and ask the hard questions, what are your priorities. I myself went into the Marines out of HS, I didn't feel school was for me and that I wasn't ready to take that financial burden when I didn't even know what I wanted to go to school for. I was good with my hands and wanted to travel the world. I spent 8 years in the service and spent about 6 of it overseas. Like everyone priorities changed and when it was time to look at reenlisting I asked myself the hard questions. There will be highs and lows in anything you do and my experiences are different from those who also served. The military was not my only choice but I lock back on my decision with pride because I made a commitment to it and saw it through. I am sure you will find yourself in the same potion as long as you commit to it, college or military.
Douglas Lemmo, P.E.
As you may have already discovered, the answer to your question depends on many factors. Many people in their senior year of high school already know exactly what they want to do upon graduation; Go to college, go to work in a craft (trade), get some kind of job to make as much money as they can, join a branch of the military service. Some just do not know what they want to do. If someone is strongly focused on what they want to do upon graduation - they should go for it. If that is the military, great. But, one should keep in mind that going into the military is not the same as going to college or just getting a job. It is much more than that. It is called military service for a reason. It is called the Armed Forces for a reason. It can be a very rewarding experience (I was in the US Army) . You can learn a skill, travel to many places around the world and meet a lot of very interesting people. You will become a part of a group much larger than yourself. But not everybody is cut out to be in the military.
Many people decide that they like life in the military and decide to make a career of it. Others, after serving for a tour of duty, decide that they want to leave the military and focus on a civilian career based upon skills they learned in the military. Others may decide to go to college. Their experiences in the military having helped them decide what they would like to do in civilian life. The military offers significant benefits to veterans . You would be wise to visit the military recruiters of the various services to see which service branch appeals to you, what type of training they offer that you might be eligible for and what benefits you would be available to you upon completing your military service. But, keep in mind that members of the US Military are sworn to defend the United States of America and being in the Military, after rigorous training, you may become directly involved in that defense. Thus my earlier comment that Military Service is much more than just going to collage or getting a job. You will be taking on a commitment. But one thing is pretty sure, after your service, you will have a much better understanding of the World, your place in it and what you want to do with your life.
I hope the above is helpful .
High school is your time to trial and discover what you enjoy and are passionate about. My recommendation for high school students is to explore their options. For example, if a military career is of interest to you join an ROTC program at your high school to learn more about the military and explore if that is the path for you.
Additionally, you can take college courses in high school to help you gain a good perspective of what a college experience is like.
Lastly, if you have an interest in a particular trade, I recommend volunteering or seeking a weekend job to get first-hand knowledge of what that trade is like.
All of these trials will give you the experience you need to make an informed decision and can help you in deciding what your next steps are after high school. Also, consider the people you will meet along the way that will help you understand what it takes to pursue each path.
Best of luck!