Age 32, want to join the forces and get a degree.

No of course I don't think that. I went to uni and couldn't hack it so I am very aware of how hard it is. Hence why I'm making the effort to look for a way to try it again in a more disciplined environment. I thrive around other motivated, physically active people - my peers at uni had never left home, they couldn't clean their dishes or remove the layers of matted pubes from the bathroom walls. They mainly sat around smoking dope and playing X-box. It wasn't a healthy environment to be in and I didn't fancy running up a couple more years of student loans for it. I'd much rather do my studying alone or at least online with people who are there for the same reason, so no problem there.

I feel like the military may actually be the perfect place in which to conduct one's studies. At least in theory. The practical aspect remains to be answered - and that's why I'm here asking the opinions of you fine folk. And that one guy o_O



It's a really good idea to look at AR instead in terms of prioritising study. However, I think I really do want the full experience. The writing career can be many years down the line, it's not something I'm rushing to do immediately and I think the discipline and skills I would get from the military would actually be more valuable if push comes to shove.

I am, as you say, a proper commercial diver; so am quite used to the dark, dirty, zero vis working conditions you're talking about. Right now I squelch around in the African sun in a wetsuit so coming back to Scotland will only be a relief from that. The cold will be a bitch but hey, run faster.

I hear you about the strong possibility of having to put up with some young whippersnapper telling me what to do with diving. It will be hard. But as long as I or nobody around me is in danger, I think I can put up with that. I understand the forces have their own protocols and those have to be followed from the ground up.


Thanks a lot for your input, I very much appreciate the thoughtful response.
All weasel words, pal. Take a long look in the mirror and try to imagine what you think we see.
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Pretty much.

Finding Time to Study | Can I do it | Open University


That's about what it took me. 16 - 18 hours translates as 4 evenings, plus Sundays. That's a major chunk of your free time. Say goodbye to a large part of your social life for 6 years. And I'm a career civilian, so I didn't arrive back home knackered after a day on the training area.

If you want to get a degree via the OU, I'd suggest you have a look at their website. It's not a conventional university degree where you study for 'polymer science' or 'applied mathematics'. It's a modular approach where you pick courses that give you the academic skills in a specific area. When I was studying with the OU, I was working as a metallurgist, so I picked material science courses.

In addition, its distance learning, so you won't have much contact with tutors and fellow students. If you get stuck, you'll often have to figure it out on your own rather than 'phone a friend'. That said, it's doable and many people - myself included - got a degree via the OU.

Wordsmith
Someone who has actually done it! That's fantastic. In all honesty, if I went this route though - and so far the Navy Clearance Diver while studying is looking to be the best option - how much actual social life could I expect to have on board a ship? I know this is an army forum so maybe not the best place to ask.

Didn't spot this in the OP's post until NS pointed it out.

To the OP: you are not going to earn money writing unless you're in a job like I am - technical author. I get well paid for it, but it will not be an easy profession for you to break into. Many firms will want a track record before they'll take you on. And if you get the wrong job, it'll bore the pants off of you.

I like my job because I have to put a lot of thought into what I write. And I have to have a solid understanding of the field I work in - which the company I work for encourages me to further improve. I've seen other technical authors get a great slab of text from a developer and get told to polish up the syntax and grammar. "Finished that? Here's another chunk of text to polish up". The sausage machine approach to writing.

If you want to get a degree and write, research your employment opportunities carefully.

Wordsmith
Oh I know about this one. My mother happens to be quite-well selling author and I always said I wouldn't go that route because of the years without income, followed by one big bonanza which is somehow supposed to be rationed out for god knows how many more years. This is why I want a solid career as well; and the military seems as solid as they come.
 

Q_Man

Old-Salt
There are several issues to consider. Firstly, most people do not join the military to see what the forces can do for them, it's the other way round with a little bit of, 'and if I can get a trade thrown in' as well. Then again most people who join are in their teens or early twenties which puts you as an outlier with a peculiar set of requirements that don't fit the mould. If you go into a careers office with the attitude of what can you do for me you'll likely be shown the door in swift order. It's just not how the military mindset works.

Onto your age, you're right up against it. People do join the military at a late age but it's usually because they have an itch they can't scratch and common reasons are along the lines of' 'It's my last chance to do something worthwhile,' and so on. Not, 'So I can get an education.' This is more important than you think. Military training, by its very nature, is physically and mentally challenging and if all you've got to rely as your primary driver for being a soldier is a literature degree so you can go into journalism you are extremely unlikely to go the distance. I've seen this happen numerous times. That said I've met a classically trained musician who joined up at the age of 32 as an infantryman but his motivations were poles apart from yours.

Forget the infantry, RM or Para Reg, going by the tone of your opening post your mindset isn't right. Whilst an organisation like the SPS may have more opportunity for study they are at the other end of the spectrum to inf and are unlikely to fulfil you from a military career perspective. Choose wisely and you may be able to make it work but it will not be straightforward.

Apologies for quoting the whole thread, but my reply addresses the whole thread. I joined as a regular at 21 having done three years TA. I wanted a job with prospects, training, travel, hardship, qualifications, job security and pay. Twenty years later I have a degree, two HNDs and a number of level 5 and lower Quals. And I'm a WO1, username is out of date, so I'm on decent pay.

I never asked what I could do for my country, I asked what my country could do for me. But in doing so I was quite happy to deploy, train, sacrifice the things civilians take for granted. I think you can join for selfish reasons but must be willing to serve, and serve is the key word.

If I was a recruiter and someone told me they wanted to serve Queen and Country, I would be suspicious. I do not think it is a genuine reason.

Just my thoughts.
 

Chimp

ADC
Courage
Discipline
Respect for others
Integrity
Loyalty
Selfless commitment

Look 'em up Chum, because I suspect you haven't a clue. Once you have done that stop wasting everyone's time and go stack a shelf in Netto.
 
If I was a recruiter and someone told me they wanted to serve Queen and Country, I would be suspicious. I do not think it is a genuine reason.

Just my thoughts.
It's not an unreasonable point, in all my years in I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they wanted to serve Queen and Country without a wry grin. Us Britishers aren't like our colonial cousins across the pond who swear allegiance to the frat and all that. However, I have heard people couch it in much vaguer terms such as 'wanting to do the right thing' or 'do my bit' or 'feeling frustrated at not doing just that bit more' which on the spectrum of reasons wanting to join probably sits somewhere about two thirds along the way.
 
Courage
Discipline
Respect for others
Integrity
Loyalty
Selfless commitment

Look 'em up Chum, because I suspect you haven't a clue. Once you have done that stop wasting everyone's time and go stack a shelf in Netto.
Take a leaf out of your own post and do one.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Where in Africa? Have you been to Europe and UK recently for more than a visit? If one was looking for further education at minimal cost, one would not be looking at the UK. What languages does the OP speak? You could learn German while in Germany, work as a diver or dive-instructor (assuming your qualifications are internationally recognised), following some sort of degree at the same time.

Wanting to write filler in between advertising is not much of an ambition is it, that's all that journalism is these days, and with poor T&C too. How about considering a position with some sort of training organisation for businesses? Using the risk-analysis and international experience part of your work might provide a depth (pun . . .) that such organisations would welcome.
South Africa bud - haven't been back to Scotland for more than a visit in 7 years.

Yes, I see one can now even go to Norway from anywhere in the world and take one's pick of many universities and courses, completely tuition free. And the women are absolutely stunning! However, I think the forces provide a great deal more than just the degree; I think that to be able to do both at once would kill many birds with one stone.

You're right about journalism not being a great ambition to aspire to. However, it can sometimes be rewarding and a bit of extra cash - of course the end goal will be to write full length books.

As @GrumpyWasTooCheerful so pleasantly points out - a few articles then a book really is the logical progression here.
 

wild_moose

War Hero
South Africa bud - haven't been back to Scotland for more than a visit in 7 years.

Yes, I see one can now even go to Norway from anywhere in the world and take one's pick of many universities and courses, completely tuition free. And the women are absolutely stunning! However, I think the forces provide a great deal more than just the degree; I think that to be able to do both at once would kill many birds with one stone.

You're right about journalism not being a great ambition to aspire to. However, it can sometimes be rewarding and a bit of extra cash - of course the end goal will be to write full length books.

As @GrumpyWasTooCheerful so pleasantly points out - a few articles then a book really is the logical progression here.
On the subject of studying abroad if you go that route look at Slovenia - they run shed loads of courses in English, are tuition fee free and, as you correctly state, the women are tip top.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Apologies for quoting the whole thread, but my reply addresses the whole thread. I joined as a regular at 21 having done three years TA. I wanted a job with prospects, training, travel, hardship, qualifications, job security and pay. Twenty years later I have a degree, two HNDs and a number of level 5 and lower Quals. And I'm a WO1, username is out of date, so I'm on decent pay.

I never asked what I could do for my country, I asked what my country could do for me. But in doing so I was quite happy to deploy, train, sacrifice the things civilians take for granted. I think you can join for selfish reasons but must be willing to serve, and serve is the key word.

If I was a recruiter and someone told me they wanted to serve Queen and Country, I would be suspicious. I do not think it is a genuine reason.

Just my thoughts.
Thanks for this, its good to hear you made it a proper success story, took advantage of the opportunities afforded you and didn't end up somehow having to feel guilty about it. I think some of the negative commenters are simply jealous that they've put their time in without taking advantage of all those things - either cos they consider it 'using' the system or - more likely I suspect - they were just too ******* stupid to do a degree :rolleyes:
 
I think some of the negative commenters are simply jealous that they've put their time in without taking advantage of all those things - either cos they consider it 'using' the system or - more likely I suspect - they were just too ******* stupid to do a degree :rolleyes:
Yeah, I'd go easy with that approach if I were you. Some people have completely successful careers in the military without needing to do a degree and have done equally, if not better, in civvy street. Whilst there are mongs and gobshites in the military, they are our mongs and gobshites and I'd side with the likes of those before anyone else outside of the mob.
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Yeah, I'd go easy with that approach if I were you. Some people have completely successful careers in the military without needing to do a degree and have done equally, if not better, in civvy street. Whilst there are mongs and gobshites in the military, they are our mongs and gobshites and I'd side with the likes of those before anyone else outside of the mob.
Of course - I mean absolutely zero offense to those that don't go and study on top of an already taxing job. It's by no means a necessity. I'm just saying there's no need to go and shit on the ones that do.
 
Thanks for this, its good to hear you made it a proper success story, took advantage of the opportunities afforded you and didn't end up somehow having to feel guilty about it. I think some of the negative commenters are simply jealous that they've put their time in without taking advantage of all those things - either cos they consider it 'using' the system or - more likely I suspect - they were just too ******* stupid to do a degree :rolleyes:
Actually I think you are underestimating the amount of graft that is required for either a decent degree from somewhere worthwhile and starting off on a military career. Neither of those are easy, especially as you get older (as someone who started his first degree at 28 and his second at 40). And I seriously think you are underestimating the commitment required in the 'Navy Clearance' part of 'Navy Clearance Diver'.

Both of these are full time commitments. Do one or the other, or go the part-time route. From somebody neither too stupid or idle to get a degree or pass a couple of bomb disposal courses.


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Courage
Discipline
Respect for others
Integrity
Loyalty
Selfless commitment

Look 'em up Chum, because I suspect you haven't a clue. Once you have done that stop wasting everyone's time and go stack a shelf in Netto.
What have a bunch of words some HR exec thought up got to do with anything?
 

TehGymReaper

Swinger
Actually I think you are underestimating the amount of graft that is required for either a decent degree from somewhere worthwhile and starting off on a military career. Neither of those are easy, especially as you get older (as someone who started his first degree at 28 and his second at 40). And I seriously think you are underestimating the commitment required in the 'Navy Clearance' part of 'Navy Clearance Diver'.

Both of these are full time commitments. Do one or the other, or go the part-time route. From somebody neither too stupid or idle to get a degree or pass a couple of bomb disposal courses.


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Fair enough. So when you did both your degrees did you take unpaid leave, or take them part time alongside AR?
 
Fair enough. So when you did both your degrees did you take unpaid leave, or take them part time alongside AR?
The first one was full time alongside time in the TA, after having left the regulars to go to university.

The second was also full time, supported by part time consultancy work.

Still 1 1/2 jobs effectively, but by then I had completed my initial military training at 21, and had several years of regular military experience.


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Silver Fox

Old-Salt
FWIW. I completed an OU degree at the back end of my career. It was demanding particulary whilst training over one hundred hours a week for GW1. So yes it can be done.
I had to pay up front and claimed about half back from the firm after sitting each exam.
Most of my contemporaries could have comfortably studied at degree level.
I would not advise someone going through recruit training to attempt it.
Yes 'RE divers are nuts and it is a spec qual not a trade.
Good luck
 
Agree with a lot of what has been said but I will add my bit.

1) You are old in military terms and you have been your own boss for some time :
When was the last time someone shouted at you - said you are a f**king c*nt of an idiot, and to do it again?
Ask yourself if you really could take being told what to do, to do things which you think are wrong/ or "pointless" ( and about which you may be right) but not answer back or argue, to just take ruthless criticism - from NCOs or officers who will be considerably younger.

2) Fancy a green beret? Just forget the RM even if you passed selection ( unlikely) - your attitude is all wrong.

3) If you want the armed forces to "give" you a degree. Offer them in return the best of you -the specialist skillset you already have ie your diving -which points you firmly at the RN - and even so the Navy will demand you dive the Navy way - which may not necessarily be what you think the right way.
 
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TehGymReaper

Swinger
The first one was full time alongside time in the TA, after having left the regulars to go to university.

The second was also full time, supported by part time consultancy work.

Still 1 1/2 jobs effectively, but by then I had completed my initial military training at 21, and had several years of regular military experience.


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That's really impressive. And I do hear you when you say I may be biting off more than I can chew with a new full time military career + distance learning degree.

You would know, having been through it twice.

Might I ask, did you have much in the way of family commitments to deal with same time as these degrees/work or did they have your full attention?
 

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