It may be hard to picture what your life is going to look like after high school. If you take the college route, you’ll probably be going to class during the day, maybe work on the weekends and hang out with friends at night. If you go right into a career, you’ll likely be working normal work hours all day in the field of your choice.
But what do your days look like if you decide to join the military? While there’s no real “typical” day, we asked Anton Guzman of the National Guard (www.nationalguard.com) what students might expect to do after they enlist in the military.
A typical day during training
A day in the military is anything but typical. According to Guzman, what you do often depends on what job you have, what rank you are and where you are. “We did physical therapy usually early in the morning,” says Guzman, “[or] from time to time we would do field training or weapons training.”
As someone who was preparing to be deployed, Guzman’s days often revolved around getting up in the early morning, eating breakfast and spending the day out in the field or training. “We did a lot of job-specific training, like police tactics and paper work,” he says, “but on the other hand, we did a lot of combat training, doing simulations for scenarios from moving in a convoy to clearing buildings. We also spent a lot of time in classrooms going over rules of engagement and laws of war.”
Guzman says that when he went to Iraq, his days also varied depending where he was needed most. “We were on call as a quick reaction team some days and on other days, we were up early and rolling out on a mission.”
Early mornings are to be expected while deployed as soldiers are briefed on the day by their superiors and then go execute whatever tasks are assigned. Some tasks include doing maintenance on the base, doing maintenance on vehicles and weapons, or gearing up and rolling out on missions and doing whatever planning was needed as well. “We had our downtime here and there where we could work out or relax, but we also spent a lot of time keeping up on our gear and vehicles and weapons,” Guzman said. “We spent countless hours doing inventory and maintenance checks on everything we were issued.”
What the military can do for you
While a “typical day” may not always be the same, Guzman believes that the National Guard can be beneficial for students who want to serve and still go to school. “[The Army] pays for most of your schooling and if you get into an ROTC program, you come out of college as an officer,” he says. “The military also gives you a skill set and trains you in a job faster than any school will. There are an endless amount of jobs you can do and most of them transfer into the civilian world.”
However, he advises that students shouldn’t try to over-reach by trying to do too many things at once. Don’t take more classes than you can handle while also pursuing a military career.
“Think of it like going to school and still trying to work 40 hours a week.” Guzman offers a final word of advice for students who wish to stand out as good soldiers: “Show commitment, integrity and an ability to adapt and overcome.”
Visit NextStepU.com/Military to learn more about your options.
Laura Sestito is the editorial and production coordinator at NextStepU.
Sponsored by Army National Guard
For more information on joining the Army National Guard, call 1-800-GO-GUARD and ask to speak to your local recruiter today. Serve your country, learn a skill, and earn money for college with a career in the military. There are several options for students who are considering a military service career: the National Guard, several branches and jobs to choose from, even officer training through an ROTC program or a military college.
The best way to find out which military career path is right for you is to talk to a military recruiter in your area. Remember, military careers aren't limited to being a soldier. There are opportunities for doctors, engineers, pilots, computer specialists, communications professionals and more!