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It’s your call

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“Just join the military if you want a free education. I’m sure you’d do fine in the Air Force.”

I’ve heard these words many times since I’ve graduated from high school from friends, acquaintances and family who have joined the military. I was flattered to hear these words, but I knew I just wanted to go to college.

Opinion by Tia Mitchell
Opinion by Tia Mitchell

Recently, some of my friends in uniform weren’t fond of the idea of free education for college students. I’ve heard some say “if they want something for free, they need to earn it.”

Serving the military has its benefits and one of them is a paid education. While I can’t say the statement to “earn it” is wrong, I do think it’s a little misguided.

First and foremost, not everyone is fit to serve in the military; whether it is physically, mentally or emotionally. Everyone can’t handle the pressure and the standards that come with the military lifestyle. I’ve heard stories from horrible recruits in basic training to marines breaking down because they were not able to handle the lifestyle.

We should know it is not a ‘sign up and you’re guaranteed benefits’ deal. You can’t expect everyone to pass through the MEPS process or pass the ASVAB because it’s not fit for everyone to pass.

Most students’ field of study is not compatible with the military. For some, maintaining a master’s or a doctorate degree is needed to keep moving forward in their field.

Today it’s not easy to come by scholarships, sometimes loans and small grants are needed for a better education.

The military is very difficult and college isn’t a breeze either. No we are not on some field training in the mud, but we’re spending a lot of time in our studies.

In between going to class, studying for hours and taking tests, students are working to pay rent and long hours at internships. Students are also involved with organizations to gain work experience for their future career. In all we’re trying to balance everything so we aren’t falling behind.

Both occupations have their own challenges. Everyone who chose to serve this country deserves the benefits such as paid education. But those who choose not to join the military do too.

At the end of the day, I think a mutual respect and understanding of both sides is important.

It’s easy to be very biased when you don’t hear both ends of the stick.

Every person experiences life differently and everyone has their own reasons for walking the path they’re on now.

Some people like the military life and want to join, cool!

Some people love the idea of college and will do everything in their power to make sure they attend school.

There’s no right or wrong choice.

It’s simple, do what makes you happy.

Tia Mitchell, mass communications senior, is the Campus Echo Co-editor-in-chief. Her interests include music, books, and fiction-writing. Her dream is to work as a communications director in medicine and science.

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