Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Military as a Giant Cushion/Safety Net

The idea that the military is really a giant safety net really hit me while at the dentist today. 

I was talking to the hygienist about going to college, and she mentioned, "yeah, you really put a lot more effort into college then into high school because you have to pay for it." 

Number 1: Paying for College
The math:

University of MN semester tuition and fees: $5,403 (http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/costsaid/tuition.html) (quite a bit more for CSOM)

divide that by full time student at 13 credits, and it comes to $415/credit

Each credit has about an hour of lecture/week for 15 weeks.

So each lecture hour costs $27, therefore a 2 hour lecture will cost you $54, more than many concerts. So many people put a lot more effort into school, realizing the price they are paying.

The Military:
Covers all tuition, fees, living expenses, and then still gives you cash on top of that. Therefore, you get paid to go to school (if you deployed already, are still in the military, are going to a state school, got a good contract when you enlisted, don't have any AWOL's, etc). So you don't have any of that weight on you to put your all into it. Though you still may be motivated by looking for a job or graduate school after college. This definitely did not help as a freshman or sophomore that wasn't close enough to graduation to care, and didn't have to worry about any bills or whether their money was going to good use.

Number 2: Going into the Real World
When I mention to people that I will be graduating in December, they all talk about how scared they were (or will be) when they graduated. The risks of looking for a job, applying to graduate school, etc., they talk about for a while, and then ask how my job-search is going.

To which, there is a simple reply, "I'm getting deployed, so I don't really have to look for a job just yet." Job security for sure for probably at least 15 months.

Definitely prolonging the maturity process that is required to find and hold a full-time job. I'm quite certain that this may come as a challenge post-deployment, as going to college was a challenge immediately following my last deployment (much for the reasons given in Number 1)