To officer or not to...?

#1
Okay, I'm currently 21 and in my first year of university, looking to enlist after I graduate. The army is basically what I've wanted to do for a long time, and I pretty much started university in order to become eligible for officer entry (I have no A-levels) and to give myself three years to get into physical shape also.

However, I'm becoming increasingly unsure as to whether I want to enlist as an officer or a soldier; and one thing that weighs heavily on my mind is that surely I'd be wasting three years of studying if I didn't at least apply for officer entry?

There is also what I can only describe as a "social" concern
(which don't seem to be talked about an awful lot in this forum; it seems more geared towards technical questions regarding the application process so apologies if this is somehow off-topic):

- People joining "in the ranks" seem to thrive on a vibrant camaraderie, esprit du corps, call it what you will, based around good humour and heavy drinking... whereas I've not really heard of an officer-equivalent; it seems detached from all that. Now, obviously we join up for varying reasons and "a lovely social life" isn't one of them, but at the same time, devoting as many years to a pursuit devoid of one is distressing?

I've possibly written too much.
Anyhow, all constructive advice is welcomed; I'm basically trying to weigh up the pros/cons of officer vs soldier entry... despite the terrible lack of eloquence of the above.

:D
 
#2
Krebbs said:
Okay, I'm currently 21 and in my first year of university, looking to enlist after I graduate. The army is basically what I've wanted to do for a long time, and I pretty much started university in order to become eligible for officer entry (I have no A-levels) and to give myself three years to get into physical shape also.

However, I'm becoming increasingly unsure as to whether I want to enlist as an officer or a soldier; and one thing that weighs heavily on my mind is that surely I'd be wasting three years of studying if I didn't at least apply for officer entry?

There is also what I can only describe as a "social" concern
(which don't seem to be talked about an awful lot in this forum; it seems more geared towards technical questions regarding the application process so apologies if this is somehow off-topic):

- People joining "in the ranks" seem to thrive on a vibrant camaraderie, esprit du corps, call it what you will, based around good humour and heavy drinking... whereas I've not really heard of an officer-equivalent; it seems detached from all that. Now, obviously we join up for varying reasons and "a lovely social life" isn't one of them, but at the same time, devoting as many years to a pursuit devoid of one is distressing?

I've possibly written too much.
Anyhow, all constructive advice is welcomed; I'm basically trying to weigh up the pros/cons of officer vs soldier entry... despite the terrible lack of eloquence of the above.

:D
Welcome to ARRSE, Krebbs.

At the risk of being caught by a "wah", what happens in the Officers' Mess stays in the Mess which is why you won't see so many comments!

Work hard for your degree, broaden your horizons, join the OTC and do your best at the AOSB. And enjoy it all.

Litotes
 
#3
Just because you haven't heard of a vibrant social life for officers doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It's probably that officers drunken antics don't make the news as much! As for "wasting" three years of your life studying, I know of several people with degrees who are or have served within the ranks. At the end of the day its your life and only you can make that decision.
 
#4
Devoid of one suggests none at all. Given the officer stereotype (and one I'll assume you're aware of) it's a rather farcical suggestion.

As Lilotes has suggested joining the Officer Training Corps will allow you to meet others interested in joining as an officer. If they're all dullards, well...

Familiarisation visits are also an option. You'll receive a more direct insight as well as being able to gauge lifestyle mess to mess.

A "lovely social life" isn't the reason people join up but that isn't to say it can be one. For many joining the Army is more than a career but a lifestyle choice.
 
#5
Thanks for getting back quickly.

I know it's obviously my decision and mine alone, and probably a really naive question to ask in the first place, but still; I'm finding it a tough decision to make.

Obviously it doesn't all hinge on drunken antics, and I know that I'd hardly be the only graduate serving in the ranks, it's just that it's the stupid little questions like this that ARRSE can answer quite easily, but I'd struggle to find answers for anywhere else; it's not as straightforward as something like the entry requirements that I can just find on the army's website or in a leaflet at the recruiting office, y'know? 8)
 
#7
Krebbs said:
Now, obviously we join up for varying reasons and "a lovely social life" isn't one of them, but at the same time, devoting as many years to a pursuit devoid of one is distressing?


:D
Devoid of a social life? Why would joining the army as an officer lead to not having a social life? This is not something I've ever heard anyone say before.


Have you had any sort of contact with the yet in terms of officer recruitment? eg. AOSB briefing, FAM visits etc?

The lack of 'social life' or indeed 'camaraderie' is not something I've noticed in any of my vists or contact so far, and certainly doesn't ring true with the guys I know in the army, but I guess I'll find out next year.
 
#8
You sound like the sort of dullard who'd be more welcome in the Civil Service than any other. Bugger off.
 
#11
DelronBrigade said:
Have you had any sort of contact with the yet in terms of officer recruitment? eg. AOSB briefing, FAM visits etc?
I'm a long while off yet (probably why I'm not frantically asking people about AOSB procedure) and not sure what sort of response I'd get this early-on.

DelronBrigade said:
The lack of 'social life' or indeed 'camaraderie' is not something I've noticed in any of my vists or contact so far
Yeah, bad choice of words on my part... obviously it's of a different nature to the rank and file though; just seeking to compare. There is definitely a fear that I "might not be posh enough", though :silent:
 
#12
Krebbs said:
I'm a long while off yet (probably why I'm not frantically asking people about AOSB procedure) and not sure what sort of response I'd get this early-on.
Well I had my first interview with my original ACA (Army Careers Advisor) in 2004 (whilst at school) and I'm going to the RMAS in 2011 so I'd say you are probably not too early. As suggested if you are really interested get in contact with your nearest ACA to get the ball rolling and contact OTC's etc. If you haven't had a great deal of contact with the Army then you ought to get as much as possible.

It will at least give you a feel for things and you will get a chance on FAM visits etc to meet and talk to serving young officers.
 
#13
Orificers sometimes get invited to the Sergeants Mess - so it can't be all bad.

On a serious note - Soldiers tend to function in groups and therefore the 'crack' and the banter become part of the maturing process.

Officers on the other hand, tend to work alone being just 1 on a particular tier of the rank structure. So the opportunites for making merry are fewer.

The members of this site tend to have 'wit' born from years of mixing it with nutters, tossers, pervs, rejects and the odd good soldiers (if I've missed anyone out - then you must be billy-no-mates, as I've accounted for everyone I've met) - Officers are expected to be more reserved and normal.

I don't see Uni as a waste of 3 years - as advised join the UOTC, that will open your eyes wide enough to see what it's all about. Not forgetting the student bar has subsidised prices!

Good luck in your decision - one last point; you can join as a soldier and if suitable become an Officer later in your career.
 
#14
You can *sigh* as much as you like, dullard, but the facts as they are shown on this site are plain. You are insecure, uncertain in your ambitions, deeply dull and very, very boring. Go away and find 'yourself' if you can.

Alternatively, you might try to tell us why you would be an asset to any part of HM Government's tax-fed farmyard. Go on, try.
 
#15
Hi Krebbs, welcome to ARRSE, I'm sure as you progress in your application you'll find much useful information on here.

I realise the primary question you asked concerned social life and I believe that's been covered above, however you mentioned that you are undertaking a degree so as to become eligible for a commission, whilst having no A-Levels. You may be aware of this (in which case ignore), but there is no requirement to have a degree in order to go to Sandhurst. On the other hand, A-Levels are a stipulated requirement.

Logic dictates that a degree should more than make up for the lack of A levels but others on this site have mentioned that they have run into difficulties due to this. I'd recommend getting the application process rolling soon since it is the Army Careers Adviser (ACA) who may be able to validate your application in the absence of A levels.

I hope this does not pose any major complications to your application and to your desired career path, and wish you the best of luck.
 
#16
Hi Krebbs, Welcome to Arrse.

I can only make comments from what I have experienced thus far (Starting Sandhurst in May). But from both the AOSB's I've made some really good friends already, and even whilst we were there there was sufficient banter and drinking.

I am sure your entire Army choice isn't based upon the social aspects as there are some far more serious decisions that you must make. However, if you think it is for you, go for the application, go to AOSB, do some fam visits and see how that works out.

You never know, you could get a sponsorship through University.

Good luck
 
#17
Krebbs said:
There is definitely a fear that I "might not be posh enough", though
The only way that would be a drawback would be if you made it one - if you are perceived to have a chip on your shoulders it will quite rightly be exploited.
If, however, you take everyone at face value and judge them by ability rather than the school their parents chose for them you won't have a problem. Of course some units are 'posher' than others, but there are plenty of state-school officers from pretty ordinary backgrounds who have thrived and earned the affection and respect of all ranks.
Whiskbreath may have all the diplomacy and subtlety of a pitbull in a kindergarten, but he has a point - self-confidence is crucial. Familiarise yourself as much as possible, take advantage of the OTC and any other activities and don't be insecure. By the time you get to RMAS, if you get there, you should have the hide of a rhino, balls of brass and an absolute conviction that you are the mutt's nuts.
 
#18
Whiskybreath said:
You can *sigh* as much as you like, dullard, but the facts as they are shown on this site are plain. You are insecure, uncertain in your ambitions, deeply dull and very, very boring. Go away and find 'yourself' if you can.

Alternatively, you might try to tell us why you would be an asset to any part of HM Government's tax-fed farmyard. Go on, try.
Wrong time of the month?
 
#19
Whiskybreath said:
You can *sigh* as much as you like, dullard, but the facts as they are shown on this site are plain. You are insecure, uncertain in your ambitions, deeply dull and very, very boring. Go away and find 'yourself' if you can.

Alternatively, you might try to tell us why you would be an asset to any part of HM Government's tax-fed farmyard. Go on, try.

To the OP:

Fact is, those are negative traits that would prevent someone from getting into any serious career, or at least from being successful in it.

Also the "find yourself if you can" comment may have been flippantly made, but it may be worth using your time at uni to develop yourself outside of the curriculum of whatever subject you are reading - so you cannot be described as are "insecure, uncertain in your ambitions, deeply dull and very, very boring" :wink:

For example, get involved in something like student council - which does mainly concern itself with arguing/debating irrelevancies - but it's also a good environment to develop public speaking skills, confidence from arguing your point/challenging people over theirs etc. I'd also suggest taking some time to travel as well - organising yourself in a strange place, or trying to communicate with people whom you share no common language with can be good character building, and being travelled also broadens your outlook etc. That's the sort of stuff I did as an undergraduate, and I think I developed more as a person during that time, than I did during my time in the mob as a squaddie.

Good luck with whatever you want to do!
 
#20
esprit du corps, call it what you will, based around good humour and heavy drinking... Actually I rather thought that was a young officer (or at least in my day), now you need to ask yourself what branch of the Army you want to join as some officers can more boring than others!

Might also be interesting to ask what you are studying at Uni?
 

Similar threads

Latest Threads

Top