When I enlisted into the United States Army Reserves at the end of my junior in college, one of the biggest incentives was the money for college. I was at that pivotal point of every student’s life where the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up” not only needs to be accompanied by a realistic answer, but also has cost associated with it that must be financed. With very little job experience, and even less money to pay for the loans that would soon be out of academic deferment, my impending graduation filled me with as much anxiety as it did pride.
The day I went to sign my enlistment contract, the recruiter who I had been working with explained each part of the contract, making special note of the benefits section. I was surprised to learn that the Army wasn’t just concerned with molding me into a highly trained defender of the US Constitution and American way of life, but it was also interested in my development as an individual. It offered to help eliminate the debt I had incurred from my existing degree, as well as provided a means for me to fund a future degree.
The Army not only places an emphasis on professional development as a Soldier, but it also encourages personal development through higher education by giving promotion points for Enlisted Soldiers, requiring academic degrees for Commissioned and Warrant Officer ranks and senior level Enlisted ranks, and also through its various specialty programs available to Soldiers who are interested in going to law or medical school.
Since joining Reserves I have completed my Bachelor’s degree and gained the necessary work experience that help me land my first full time position, as well as my Masters degree which has helped to accelerate my civilian career.