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  • Career advice

    I am a sophmore in HS and have been training for quite some time now. I am on track to have very competitive PST scores by the time a graduate. However, I am unsure of whether I should enlist, commission, or enlist with a degree.

    I am at the top of my class and have a high probability of getting into a very good school if I applied. I think that it would be smart to wait to join in order to further develop my mental conditioning and maturity. However, I am not set on this. I am also not sure whether to enlist or try to be an officer. I am a leader in many things including student groups, sports, and more. I have a talent for leadership and am usually the default unoffical leader in many situations. I think that I would do well as a leader in the teams.

    And while I have no problem with being held to higher standards at BUD/S and other training, I heard that getting to BUD/S as an officer is many, many times harder that getting there as enlisted. My main goal is to become a SEAL, being an officer is secondary. I don't want to not make it to BUD/S simply because I didn't jump through enough beurocratic hoops. That being said I go plan on applying to the USNA, and if I get accepted, I will almost definitely go.

    To my understanding, going to BUD/S as enlisted is a simple as telling your recruiter and passing the PST. I would most likely have a bachelors degree, so I may be paid even more than officer trainees as an E-3 once you factor in bonuses, which is certainly a plus. I also think that I would enjoy the brotherhood that the enlisted share, that isn't quite as strong between the enlisted and their OIC (so I've read). In addition to this, I absolutley hate beauracracy and all it entails, including paperwork, politicking, and playing the social/political game that seems to be prominent amongst military officers.

    So there is my delimia. I'm hoping that I can get some advice from guys who have had experience in NSW. I know this is a very long post, and I thank you sincerely for your time.

  • #2
    You have a respectable vision, and I respect it. I used to be in your shoes when I was an underclassman in hs and if I were to give advice to myself five years ago, it would defiantly be to attend a junior college/two year school and then reassess what the next move should be, whether to enlist or continue school. Why I mention it is for the following reasons:
    • Lower cost tuition
    • Most two year colleges have fitness centers and natatorium along with low cost/free membership (which is a plus!)
    • Some two year schools offer athletic and leadership programs
    • It'll give you time to figure out on more of what you want for less of loss (post #1). Some of these reasons are of realization if you want to just take a few credits, finish a two year program, or to transfer to a university for a four year program, etc.
    Disclaimer: I am NOT in NSW. I am NOT in the military. I was a former candidate(contracted during senior year) but left DEP due to unfortunate life events. However, my situation improved, I decided to go back to school and here I am in the final semester for my associate's degree and on the fence whether or not to transfer to a university or get the ball rolling to come back. I am encouraging you and other high school students on this forum to consider attending at least a two year school due to the fact that more than likely your life WILL change within 2-5 years.

    "If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small." - Proverbs 24:10 (KJV)

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    • #3
      I agree with Roboscout, my advice would be to get your degree if you can afford it. You will be positively surprised by how much you mature and grow in those 2-4 years. To answer your other question, the spots are much more limited for officers so it is more difficult to obtain one, but if you feel thats the route you really want to go, you should put all your effort into obtaining those slots. This is another reason to take more time in making your decision, since as you mature your priorities may change or you may realize your personality fits better into one role or the other.

      "In addition to this, I absolutely hate bureaucracy and all it entails, including paperwork, politicking..."
      I understand what you're getting at with this line, but just know you're joining one of the largest bureaucracies in the world when you join the military. An officer may have to deal with this more often, but you will still run into all the negative (and positive!) aspects of bureaucracy if you join as an enlisted sailor.

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      • #4
        Another consideration is what do you really want to do with your potential career in NSW? I just finished reading Breaking BUD/s by Mark Owen, and Warrior Elite by D*ck Couch, I recommend both books by the way. Both books stated that the enlisted men in the teams are the "sled dogs". Basically what I took away is that the enlisted guys have way more opportunities to do exciting navy seal stuff such as range practice, jumping, diving etc. I have absolutely no experience in NSW yet, but this is what I have collected in my research, so take the information with a grain of salt. Good luck brother.

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        • #5
          Thanks a lot for your replies. As far as what I plan to do in the teams, I am not sure yet. I am not sure if I want to serve for a few tours and then continue on to a civilian career or make it into my life long career. I don't think I will know the answer to that question until I have actually served. However, I could certainly see myself serving 5-10 years active and then pursuing a career elsewhere. There is no other job like NSW, and it is certainly something that I really desire to experience. However, I still have other passions and interests that are not part of the SO life, such as animal biology, ecology, and other science fields.

          So that raises another question, is it reasonable to think that I could pursue an entirely unrelated career after the teams? Or would the experience change my personality in a way that would disqualify me for a future career in science/research (my other big career interest)? Obviously I would be far more likely to stay if I were an officer, as the possible career is twice as long as that of an enlisted (40 years vs. 20).

          I know that joining the military for a few years and then going to college/starting a civilian career is very popular. However, I heard that this is very difficult for "grunts" (infantry) in the Army/Marines. Would this also apply to SO's?

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          • #6
            1) Yes, you can pursue whatever your heart/mind has set in stone in regards to what you want in your career. How I know this, just google some notable Team Guys and you'll come across some diverse career fields they pursued. Some are businessmen, politicians, athletes, scholars, and pastors.

            2) In terms of time in service in the SPECWAR capacity, an enlisted SO contract commitment is 6 years active duty. Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that the officer service commitment is either 5 or 7 years. If at the end of your active duty commitment you want to have a civilian career and continue serving, NSW does have two reserve SEAL teams. Of course, the reserve SEAL teams are for SEALs with prior active duty experience and this particular topic is mentioned on this website under FAQ.

            On the last part of your post, it varies. It depends on specialties and certifications but in reality there are plenty of veterans that I personally know who are successful students, employees, and still are able to make time for their families. Another thing from my opinion, it seems that you are overthinking your life. While it is great to have a plan, but keep in mind from what I've mentioned before in terms of the probability of your life situation/plan changing in a couple of years are repetitively high. Focus on your interests and pursue the goals that are within your reach within short term...if anything, that is one of the things I do regret about my hs years; that I was very closed minded and now here I am reflecting on some of the leadership, academic, and athletic opportunities that I missed out on...

            I hope this helps!

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            • #7
              As someone with a degree, wishing I enlisted 5 years ago, I now know things that a younger Me did not: For starters, younger Me wouldn't have the same mindset as I do now, training for hours, eating and recovering appropriately. Secondly, I'm not even considering an attempt at being an officer, even though my PST scores are improving every week - I think that learning an organization from the ground up would make me the best team mate. Lastly, I think that if you took a couple years to work, train and study, you'd be able to have a better grounding for what you really want to do long term.

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              • #8
                ive always heard go to school and keep training hard

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