The Army or Uni?

Discussion in 'Education and Resettlement Courses' started by Griff789, Nov 9, 2010.

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  1. Basically, I am looking for the opinion of ex or already serving personel. Joining the Army has been something I have wanted to do for years now, I have passed all soldier selection stages with an A grade, unfortunatley my job choice (avionics / aircraft tech) seems to be one of the trades with no spaces, none before the new intakes are released in April anyway. This has meant it has been almost a year since I took my first steps in the careers office. However this has not always bothered me up until recently. Quite a few of my mates are currently at uni, having just started in September and they seem to be having such a good time (socially) without cares, or anything other than lectures to worry about. Up until recently I had always told myself that being in the Army, I would be 'one upping' them, as I would (eventually) get my weekends off, and would have the cash to visit them and socialize, although now I have realised that is completely different to actually living the uni experience. Because my main goal in life (after I have served in the army, got myself fitter, traveled and gained more qualifications) is to become a personal trainer. I have considered doing this through the army, but more recently looked into doing a personal trainer course at uni for 2 years.

    My main question for people that may have similar experiences, or be able to input is. Should I decide uni is the best way to get my P.T qualification, would it be best to go this september, while i'll still be only 19, live the social life for 2 years, get my qualification, put it to one side, and then start my application for the Army again? Or, join up first, serve as long as I see best for me (after the first 4 years obviously) then look into getting the P.T qualification, risking having to maybe attend uni at 25/26 years old as a minimum age?
  2. Consider this....yes your pals are living it up partying and having a great time.

    For now anyway.

    In just under 3 years they will be booted out into the real world saddled with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt in many cases. I personally still owe the SLC a five figure sum. The sh*t will hit the fan for them some day, but right now they are obliviously partying like there's no tomorrow.

    I remember the utter feeling of envy on visiting a schoolfriend just as I finished uni. He had got a job as a fireman after school instead of attending uni and while I was struggling financially there he was with his lovely new house and massive telly.

    Your decision can only be your own but if placed in your position I would be inclined to take another route to that personal training qualification other than uni. If you don't want to do it through the army I'm sure there are part time courses somewhere. I have an ex-forces friend who now runs his own personal training company, I'll look into how he did that and PM you later, I'm pretty sure he took an alternative route to gaining the qual though.

    If you were to join up, serve a 4 year stint and then go to uni however, I wouldn't worry too much about being 25/6 when you start a uni personal trainer course. When i was at uni there were plenty of older students around, a 56 year old in my class and most notably a former RAF serviceman in his late 80s who used to talk fondly of time he spent in my neck of the woods with them. So age isn't as big an issue as you might think!
  3. Only you can make that decision, as you say even with an A grade you may not get a place but should hopefully stand a good chance from april next year if places become available (currently though theres 17 Aircraft techs and 8 Avionics awaiting with A grades so depends where you are on the list and how many pass in the mean time).

    Just work out the other things though...cost of uni...the ammount of debt you will be in when you finish (especially with the tuition fees) and the prospect of jobs once you finish).

    As said its got to be your decision, its all good and well having a laugh with your mates at Uni, getting p*ssed and living off baked beans but will they give a damn about you in ten years time if you cant find a job after uni, debt up to the eye balls etc...and not lecturing you just letting you see the bigger picture.
  4. What is the exact name of the course on offer at this university that allows you to do personal training? If it's just a sports science degree or similar it won't necessarily automatically allow you to do gym instruction, personal training etc (even employers for a lot of basic bottom rung gym instruction jobs want you to have lots of recent experience & independent qualifications e.g. life guard qualified, YMCA or similar certificates etc).

    The health & fitness industry was nothing great when I last worked in it 3 years ago (pre-recession) so doubt things are any better now.

    Nothing wrong with going to uni in your twenties (or at any age for that matter) should you wish to. Also quite a difference in careers between being a PT & an avionics technician. You're well in to your army application process, are you dead set on this area of the army or did anything else appeal to you?
  5. Why not join up and go the PTI route in your chosen Arm ?

    Having done Uni' 25 years ago when it was mostly funded, it was a laugh but to do it and have the prospect of having to pay it all back ?????? Don't do it. You'll find lots of mates once you join up and you'll party plenty with them and be getting paid.

    A no brainer IMVHO.

  6. Cheers for all responses, very helpful. I do understand that this may be just a tempory jealousy on my half because my mates are care free, but if i did choose uni (knowing P.T jobs are very hard to get into, unless you have experience / start up your own small business) I would still be persuing my career within the Army to gain valuable life experience as well as following through on something I have wanted to do longer than becoming a P.T. Because of this, debt does not really bother me, as i'm sure this could be paid off once I was in the Army, or whenever I start earning the required amount to have to start paying back! And 'Glasgow Jock' I know the differences between career paths are at completely different ends of the scale, but I do want to do both, truthfully though, if I was to go to uni first, I may change my trade within the Army, but who know's what I'll want to do in years to come!....Which is partly my problem, I dont want to choose one option and then regret not doing the other years down the line. So I suppose, Army first, makes it easier to go to uni after (as i have no a-levels, but enough ucas points for one p.t course) as I would be a mature student should I decided enough is enough within whatever time I have been in the Army.
  7. If you could ask your mate about how he went about getting his qualification that'd be awesome mate cheers.
  8. Check your inbox :)
  9. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    One of the many threads I read with interest here on ARRSE but generally do not respond to, since I do not have expert knowlege. But here I hope I may help?

    I was once 19 and its a ******* nightmare. Right. Your issues devolve thus:

    1) You want to join and fart about with bits of aeroplanes. Cant help you here. See the expert advice above.
    2) Your mates are giving it some at Uni. 'Avin it large, skipping lectures and raving all the live long day. Arrange a meet in 2 years time. Ask them if £25k of debt keeps them awake at all?
    3) You want to be a personal trainer. If this is the case, focus on that. Not your posh mates at Uni. My wifes PT is Ex and now earns £50 an hour. Some of which I pay him, the bald ginger Welsh dwarf. He has a fab life in his mid 30's, holidays, birds queueing up to kiss his ring, and his gym just opened in a second venue.

    Not sure he couldnt have done it if he wasnt Ex, since, before he enlisted he was a complete Radge. So, my advice? Glad you asked. Get in any way you can. Then go the PTI route. Chill out till you are not 19 years old any more then, whatever you do, DO NOT laugh at the badly dressed Muppets currently at Uni when they are working in Waterstones terrified of earning more than £15kpa beause they will have to pay back the £25k they racked up looning about.

    And get a ******* haircut.

    Hope this helps?
  10. RE the student loan - the amount you pay depends on your income, and it's not a huge amount you pay back - so you won't be living on the poverty line because you have a student loan. This moral panic surrounding the student loan always puzzles me. It's not like you start getting threatening letters from some debt collection agency the day you graduate, asking you for the money. In fact, you don't even notice the debt, so it try not to let the idea of it put you off.

    Anyway, for a bit of balance ( you have been given some very good advice so far), I'll give you my experience: I did nearly eight years in the army before I left to read my degree. I actually regret serving because I'd rather have used those years for my present career in research.

    Although if you just want to attend because you want to get pissed for three years, don't bother - marking the crappy assignments those types produce is depressing & it (going to university) will be a waste of your time.
  11. Iron duke, firstly, possibly some of the best advice I could have wanted on here, did make me laugh haha! But in all seriousness, the route your wife's P.T seems to have gone is the route I think would probably be the best. But going to uni wouldn't be just for the piss up on my part, I would actually use the qualification, if not straight away (as i'd go in the army after). I think it mainly does boil down to me more or less doing f*ck all with my life, waiting for a start date, while my mates are out spending their loans, living in away from home and having a ball. But as a mate of mine who's at uni said to me early this evening, I would probably forget all about the uni lifestyle once i was underway with basic and phase 2 training, hopefully the local girls wont be too bad looking compared to those at uni! Basically I think it boils down to a decission i have to make, joining the army is probably better in the long run, apart from having to grow up quite quickly....where as uni allows me to be care free for a few more years (bar the actual studying side, but noone seems to have started that yet!)
  12. I left school at 15 with no qualifications in 1971 and joined the army as a boy soldier. Later on when I was on my second tour of NI around about 1974/75, I had the occasion to share a stag in a ditch somewhere in South Armagh with the platoon boss. In the course of our wittering on at 3am, I asked him what qualified him to be an officer. He told me, he had a degree in history. I asked him how a history degree was relevant to him getting his pips and he said, I was missing the point. It wasn't the degree in history, it was the degree. He had reached a level of education which demonstrated to the army that he had a good standard of reading, writing, mathamatics and comprehension etc.

    I left the Army in 1977 because I got married and until about 14 years ago, I worked for a couple of different employers and mainly was involved in some good and interesting work but the money was never great until the last couple of years. Unfortunately the bubble burst and being without a job, I started my own business which has been surviving but never really prospering greatly. I'm now on the verge of starting a new business and maybe, the pay cheques and dividends in a year or two may start to go up a little bit. The boss who I shared that ditch with all those years ago recently left the Army after a very successful career ending up as a Major General and now has a very nice job in London near the city.

    The point is over all these years, it's been lot's of fun but fairly consistantly down the lower end of the pay scale and even now at my age, I owe more money than what I earn currently. My old platoon boss probably hasn't worried about money for a very long time. So, as two young men back in the early seventies, who made the better decision about their education and went on to achieve great things in their career? Well obviously the young officer who incidentally was one of the best platoon commanders I knew and as they say in some parts, the boy done well!

    I now have 3 kids, a daughter and 2 son's and both of my boys are at University having had this story mentioned to them several times during their younger lives when I was trying to instill in them the best way to get on in the world. University doesn't offer guarantees about your future, it's not that simple in this day and age but having a degree gives you many more options that you do not have if you don't have a degree.

    Do yourself a favour. Go to university and get a degree. Enjoy the 3 years and by the way, it's not an easy ride, the majority of university students take their studies seriously because if they don't, the university will kick them out. You will get into debt with student loans but the terms are very good and hopefully, you will get a better paid job when you do leave full time education and they will be easier to pay back. The world we live in today offers the the most perks to those who have a degree and that includes the Army. Good luck whatever path you take.
  13. I'm just finishing up a degree then heading back to the mob, if you join first then leave you'll miss it. At least I do.
  14. understand and accept the points you have made rgjbloke but disagree with this sentence...

    Not entirely recent years universities (at least in regards to my own old institution) are increasingly seeing students as nothing more than a source of income and with funding being reduced of late this is likely to continue. Exam resits and repeated years bring the uni a lot of income.

    I have so many tales of individuals I could write a book - but one particular acquaintance should have been thrown out of uni on at least three occasions for being a complete muckaround, failing exams, failing resits, never handing in coursework, barely if ever going to class. I even wrote a presentation for her once to help her out even though her subject was one I dropped beyond GCSE and had little knowledge of - despite this help she didn't bother her arrse to go to class. Each time she was repeatedly absent the university's automatic student monitoring system sent her emails warning her she was on the path to being thrown out. But she just laughed at these. She knew all she had to do was go and sit in the office and cry crocodile tears and she would be let back in. She was absolutely right.

    Universities are reluctant to let students like her go nowadays, as long as she was on their register and continually failing she was going to bring them in some needed moolah!
  15. I haven't been to uni as I said and you have some first hand knowledge so I can only accept your point on that one bit.