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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


From diploma to deployment

Callie Parrish/The Daily Cougar

Callie Parrish/The Daily Cougar

James Wang

In last week’s issue, the article “Graduates Go To Basic” detailed the growing trend of recent college graduates favoring enlistment in our great nation’s armed forces over chancing it out in the still unsteady job market.

Financially, it just makes sense. You get great benefits, an instant pay grade boost and scholarships down the road — what’s the downside?

The downside is that you’re taking opportunities and jobs away from people who have wanted to join since day one.

It’s one thing to go to college and get a degree with the intention of signing up, but it’s selfish to go to school and look to the military as your fallback option when the civilian job market doesn’t look stable.

The U.S. military is the world’s most rightfully respected fighting force, not some babysitter for a yuppie with a college degree too scared to branch out into the real world and fight it out in the trenches at home; the same kids who as wide-eyed Freshman, looked at the military and said, “Gosh, we ought to slash their budget.”

There are people who join the Army because they honestly love this country and want to honor a tradition of service to it.

The pay, the scholarships and all the other benefits come second for those people.

The perks are a well-deserved reward, and it just doesn’t sit well that those rewards can be grabbed by a college graduate who chose to take on the expenses associated with higher education and then decided, at the last minute, to shirk all the financial responsibility by enlisting and letting the military pay it all off.

If you’re going to enlist, join to serve, not to be served at the taxpayers’ expense.

James Wang is a history junior and may be reached at [email protected].

Nick Bell

College graduates are no different in joining the military out of fear of an uncertain job market than those who enlist straight out of high school or with a GED.

There seems to be a consensus in certain conservative factions that higher education is coupled with some sort of snobbery and anti-working man, as if only those pursuing the military out of high school or who earned their GEDs are gung-ho enough about their country to serve.

Try and find any person in the upper ranks of the military or those that went through the military and into government positions that don’t have a degree from an institution of higher education.

Plenty of college graduates genuinely want to join the military. The idea that you should have to surrender vertical mobility in the career you would like to have to make way for those who “truly” want it and the idea that anyone who “truly” wants it would’ve been the fastest horse out of the gate — high school — is preposterous.

As far as an uneasy market is concerned, where does the U.S. invest the majority of its federal tax dollars? In its military and defense. That’s a safe bet for just about any profession nowadays, regardless of their college degree or lack thereof.

Some European countries’ universities are tuition free. If the same were applied to the U.S., it would lose a percentage of military who are using it to pay for college after they serve. Thanks to the GI Bill, it works both ways.

To try and curb the military’s college graduates would be a form of anti-intellectualism, which shouldn’t be a running ideology in an institution that’s meant to protect our well-being as a nation.

Nick Bell is a media production senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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