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Should I join the national guard or enlist full time????

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  • Should I join the national guard or enlist full time????

    Ok, so I am having a very hard time deciding if I want to just leave my life behind for 4 straight years, or enlist in the national guard. I am 22 years old, a 5th year college senior. I will be graduating in Fall '14. I made mistakes in undergrad that led me to having to settle and major in psychology. What I actually want to do is human resources. I want to go to graduate school and major in HR. I want to join the military to help pay off my student loans and also to pay for graduate school. I know that either active duty or national guard could do this for me. However, my mom and brother (he was a marine) think that i should enlist full time active duty because it's not like im leaving a kid or husband or boyfriend behind for a few years. My mom wants me to get full time benefits that i can only get with active duty. Also, more potential job experience in an HR type field if i were to be full time.

    I do not want to take graduate school classes online. Not an option. My sister in law once told me that at her job when they have applicants with online degrees on their resumes they don't even look at those applications. From the moment I heard that i decided i had to go to a real school for graduate school. Could i do that while full time in active duty? How often (realistically) would i be able to leave to visit family and friends? (i have a friend in the air force that only comes home like once a year) How often would friends or family be able to visit me? Also, can i enlist active duty full time and then like 2 years into that switch to national guard?

    I hope I have given enough info. What would your advice be given my situation? My main goal is to get HR job experience (which a recruiter told me i could get in the national guard but i dont see how thats possible if i would only go one weekend a month), to go to grad school for HR, and to get help on paying off student loans.

    If anyone could help, or give advice that would be really helpful. I don't have too too much time left to decide which route i want to take.
    P.S. I also want to try to be an officer whether nat. guard or active duty (probably air force)

  • #2
    Also, you should visit both an NG and a Regular Army recruiter to help make a decision. The 42A MOS (human resources specialist) is probably what you are looking for. I did 42A in the Guard and I was in a unit that only trained in it; not actually support a unit in doing so. So, if you do go Guard, ask if the unit that has 42A positions, actually supports a unit to get that good admin experience.

    I started out Army Reserves and flunked out of college to join the Marines. After I was discharged, I thought I will never serve on active duty again. I joined the National Guard in the 90s, earned an associate's and bachelor's degree in IT (from UCONN), where I attended boring lectures and classes. Just kidding. Anyway, due to 9/11, I came back on active duty in the Army and been on active duty for over ten years with three combat deployments. I earned my master's degree online and I have to tell you that it was very much of a challenge compared to my undergraduate degree. Also, my master's degree from the University of Maryland University College is just as legit as someone who attended the university personally. My degree does not state online nor on a resume would it be required to state so. Perhaps, your sister omitted that those schools are considered diploma mills and are not accredited and on a hit list, so it adds no weight to their application and probably bypassed. But experience will trump education most of the time young padawan.

    Overall, I have enjoyed active duty (it is more of a challenge serving than part-time because there are much more strict rules to adhere by and you are subject to the UCMJ during your whole time on active duty), because of the robust training and what full-time service provides. I have traveled the world and I been stationed in Europe, Japan and been on exercises in Korea. At the current moment, it appears that I am going back to Korea on assignment and that will be for two glorious years. In my opinion, not because my goal is now a retirement after 20 active years of service, I think active duty is better suited for a young person initially. But there are people who start out in the Guard and Reserves and a couple of years later, find full time jobs in the AGR or technician program and then complete 20 years full time while serving in the Guard or Reserves. Many people like myself, who started out with part-time service and finished with full time service do regret those other years because they have to be made up to get a active-duty pension. I do not knock the money I receive based on my years of service, but if I add those years to my current active duty years, I would have been retired by now. I have ten years service of total reserve and guard time.

    Also, the civilian world jobs operate much differently compared to military, so if you like that civilian work environment over the military's; then that is something you should consider as well. I do miss civilian employment because in the positions that I held, I did not have the stress that I get while on my military job because in the military everything needs to be done now.
    Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; April 6th, 2014, 08:37 AM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Chief Kemosabe View Post
      I joined the National Guard in the 90s, earned an associate's and bachelor's degree in IT (from UCONN), where I attended boring lectures and classes.
      I didn't know you were a UConn guy, Chief. Go Huskies.

      To the OP...Have you considered OCS? As a platoon leader, you'll get a lot of managerial responsibility right out of the gate.


    • #4
      Also, my family is concerned because my brother (the former marine) said that national guard gets chosen first for deployment. Of course they are afraid of their little girl and little sister being deployed to some dangerous mission. is this true? i thought that reserves got deployed more, not national guard. could anyone give me insight on this?


      • #5
        also, could anyone tell me more about HR or 42A? How would that work in the national guard? would i get real experience that a prospective employer would seriously consider?
        Sorry if i seem to be asking so many questions, but i really want to be able to give my family very concrete information on what decision i end up making.


        • #6
          A great benefit to joining the Guard is you have the option to go Active Guard Reserve (AGR) or stay part time if you decide to. I would recommed O9S (Officer Candidate School) if you already have a degree. You will ship off to Initial Entery Training and then to Officer Candidate School before you specialize in Human Resources. Another great benefit is you will most likely stay local and not have to move every three years like the active component.