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Dropping out of university to pursue military career.

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Finishing my 1st year of engineering and doing fairly well with a 3.1 GPA. However, over the year, I've learned that I can't see myself being an engineer my whole life. I need something more engaging (something that energizes me). I want a career that is more challenging and involved, something that isn't an office job.

I've been thinking to become a Port Inspection Diver in the RCN. After completing four years of service (minimum req) I wish to become a SAR Tech in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Moreover, all trades I am interested in are non commissioned trades where I do not need a degree. For this reason, I feel I am wasting my time and money on a degree I wont use until maybe after my military career.

Is this a good idea? I've never liked school from the start, although I've always done good in school. I remember faking being sick just to avoid going to school during early grade school. Being from an asian household it has been an expectation that I complete higher education, but I hate my current lifestyle.
 

FM07

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PID is a reserve only trade, so you won't be doing "four years of service" per se. Clearance Diver is the reg force counterpart, I'm assuming you want to go in full time. I would advise doing as much research on the two different components (reg or res) as possible. Walk before you run, you won't become a diver or a Sar tech immediately. These trades have some intense selection camps that weed out even the best of folks in some cases .

The CAF is a great career, I wish you the best, I would say though, if you plan on doing a full 25 years , pace yourself and your ambitions and keep your fitness and readiness where it needs to be.

Best wishes.
 

stoker dave

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While it is has been some decades since I was there, first year engineering is a grind. It is dull and is intended to just give the necessary basics in math and science. Engineering programs get MUCH more interesting as you progress. Also, the field of engineering is diverse (mechanical, civil, electrical, computer, chemical, environmental, etc.) and engineering opens any number of doors to other careers (finance, medicine, law, teaching, etc). Please think carefully before you abandon engineering. If it really isn't for you, find something that engages you. A university degree will open doors for your whole life.
 

mariomike

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The CAF is a great career, I wish you the best, I would say though, if you plan on doing a full 25 years , pace yourself and your ambitions and keep your fitness and readiness where it needs to be.

And, if you still feel up to it after 25 years, stay in for the whole ride go out on a 70% pension.
 

stoker dave

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I should further add that young kids today have a reasonable chance of living to be 100 years old with a 60 year working life.

The OP shouldn't feel pressed at a young age into something that may not be to their liking. If they choose to take a year (or two or three) to figure some things out, that should be ok. It is also ok to have more than one career in your lifetime. If joining the military is part of 'figuring things out' you will find a lot of challenges and opportunities. It may or may not be something you want to do your entire life and that is ok too.
 

Good2Golf

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@Gurshan Multani, have you looked at the possibility of transferring your credits to an engineering technologies program at an associated college? The technological trades are exciting and are much more applied to practical usage. Trades are a very under appreciated path at the moment, but are in high demand and also support pursuit other education at a later date that leverages the trades training and experience, not competing with it.
 

Navy_Pete

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The beauty of engineering is that there is a wide range of possible jobs, and some that don't do a lot of office work. My dream job involves doing destructive full scale testing on some fire safety related things; a lot of paper required before hand plus analysis and reports after the fact, but a lot of schooling, practical experience and hard work required to get myself up to the level of expertise required for that kind of position.

Similarly like G2G said, there are lots of pretty good trades options.

Some days I regret not going into trades when I was younger, but that is usually tempered when I see skilled trades working in really cold/really hot conditions. Some pretty good routes though to start transitioning trade skills to less physically demanding work as you get older though (like welder to weld inspector), but there are a lot of downsides to more practical work as well.

At the end of the day, if you aren't happy doing what you are doing, makes sense to look at all the other options now, instead of after you finish your degree. If you aren't sure though, you could look at joining the reserves to get a taste of the CAF during the summer semester. For me, working some really crappy general labour jobs during uni helped figure out what I didn't want to do, but also was were I figured out I have decent hand skills but do too much fussing around to make it perfect to make money on it. But even if you decide to stick with an engineering degree, having actual experience with things like welding, fabrication, electronics etc all helps anyway (and why I personally think the old trade school approach for engineering which included an apprenticeship makes a lot more sense).
 

mariomike

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If you aren't sure though, you could look at joining the reserves to get a taste of the CAF during the summer semester.

According to the Op profile,

S3
HMCS NONSUCH
Navel Reservist since December 2019
 

Jarnhamar

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People often treat you differently when you have a university degree. Officers get treated better than NCMs in the military. You may not see yourself as doing an officer job now but that could change down the road. You might find you become violently airsick and not be able to be a SAR tech down the road.

You have one year in university now. Stick with engineering or switch it to something else and get that degree out of the way. 40 year old you will thank you.
 
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@Gurshan Multani, have you looked at the possibility of transferring your credits to an engineering technologies program at an associated college? The technological trades are exciting and are much more applied to practical usage. Trades are a very under appreciated path at the moment, but are in high demand and also support pursuit other education at a later date that leverages the trades training and experience, not competing with it.
I have, but I rather do something that keeps me physically active. I also rather do something involving my hobbies (skydiving, scuba diving, being outdoors, etc). I wanna do something different from most jobs.
 
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People often treat you differently when you have a university degree. Officers get treated better than NCMs in the military. You may not see yourself as doing an officer job now but that could change down the road. You might find you become violently airsick and not be able to be a SAR tech down the road.

You have one year in university now. Stick with engineering or switch it to something else and get that degree out of the way. 40 year old you will thank you.
I'm willing to go back to university post my military career if needed. I just don't see the point of completing a degree that I won't need during the span of my time in the Armed Forces. I'll be 4 years behind and tens of thousand dollars in debt for a degree I wont use until 15-20 years later in life.
 

Gunnar

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Jarnhamar is right. If you can stick it out, do so. 40 year old you WILL thank you. There is no reason you can't be an NCO with a degree - especially in engineering, one of the last degrees where you are still actually required to know things. If the schoolwork isn't actually an issue for you....pfft. Do the degree. If you're that worried about the debt, then explore the possibility of having the Forces pay for it. Or RMC. I believe even one year in, like with any other university, you can transfer in....but you will need to check with a recruiter on that, I don't really know.
 

Jarnhamar

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I'm willing to go back to university post my military career if needed. I just don't see the point of completing a degree that I won't need during the span of my time in the Armed Forces. I'll be 4 years behind and tens of thousand dollars in debt for a degree I wont use until 15-20 years later in life.

You may be willing to go back to university post career but it may not be in the cards. Going to university if you have a spouse and kids and need to work probably isn't fun.

You might also drop university, go away to training and permanently injure yourself one week into your training. There goes your military career.

Sounds like you made up your mind already though, good luck.
 
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I will spend this summer (next four months) thinking about this. Not gonna rush into a decision. Only reason I don't want to go to RMC, is the fact that the trades i'm interested in pursing are all non commissioned trades.
Thanks for all your help! Gonna go back to finish studying for some finals.
 
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