Should I join the Navy?

A letter writer is torn between the Navy and a music career.

Perhaps, says our elder, there’s a way to combine both…

Dear EWC

I’m currently a 17 year old senior in high school, and I graduate in December (a semester early). I have always wanted to join the Navy, ever since I was around 14 years old. But in August, I tried to enlist in the Navy and at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). I was almost disqualified for psych reasons. So, that put a hold on my enlistment process, and ultimately forced me to go back and forth with the Navy to go in. It has been a long three month process to finally enlist, but because I was so sure that I would not get into the Navy, I was forced to finally open my mind to other options such as college.

I now feel that I want to go to college and I plan on spending my spring semester at my local community college and see how thing go. I have asked so many people for advice but I have gotten biased responses from my friends and family, and I feel that I need somebody neutral to give me some real advice. My friends from high school have told me, “No, stay!”

While my friends that are currently in the military tell me that I will regret it if I don’t enlist. My dad, a Navy veteran, wants me to enlist and I am afraid to disappoint him. He’s been pushing me towards the Navy and has been more pushy since I expressed my feelings. My mom on the other hand, has always been against my enlistment and has always pushed me towards college and receiving an education. At this point, I really just want real, unbiased advice. I don’t know what I really would do if I were to go to college. Maybe go into music? I have been a musician for nearly 12 years, and am still taking private lessons. Or maybe become a psychologist or counselor? Or even a nurse? I’m not sure. I have no real plans at this point. What should I do? Thank you so much for reading my little rant here.

Aondreaa replies

I was interested to read your letter, since it has only been a few days since I enjoyed a concert by the Air Force Band. That prompted me to think about musical careers in the military, and just now I went online to and suggest you do the same! You don’t mention what instrument you play, but a brief search of the website reveals that the US Navy has multiple ensemble groups as well as a full-scale band, and you might seriously want to consider combining your music with military enlistment.

The band I heard the other night was very impressive, definitely professional level, and would certainly open up opportunities that you could pursue even after retirement from the service. In addition to the traditional brass, woodwinds and percussion, the band included a string bass, keyboards, and a vocalist. Interesting!

Definitely something to consider. Don’t be intimidated by their audition process, which involves submitting a recording and live audition if one qualifies. Your music teacher can help you prepare if you decide to go this route. You could pursue this idea at the same time as attending your local community college for a semester or two.

You mention “psych reasons” for disqualification, but don’t elaborate. It’s good to explore options as a high school senior, and always remember, you can change directions along the way!

Category: Career
Letter #: 413824

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