Joining The Army After High School Was a Good Decision

Jordan Mendiola

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I’ve made a lot of interesting decisions in my life, but the one that changed my life for the better was joining the army after high school.

If you know someone in the military, odds are they have a bloodline of relatives who also served.

In high school, I was a stud in sports but wasn’t completely confident in the idea of going to college like everyone else. I committed to Washington State University and then changed my mind to instead join the army.

It was a big risk to against everything I had been prepared for in school.

But I didn’t know what else to do.

I Didn’t Know My Identity Prior to Joining

Although I seemed like I had everything in my life in order, I had no idea what to do. I was interested in becoming a mechanical engineer because that’s what my cousin does, and he’s making a 6-figure income.

But here’s the thing, I hated math and never had any interest in becoming an engineer — it was just the money aspect that I was chasing.

A sports marketing class I took my sophomore year showed me that I had potential in the creative realm. I had won several in-class competitions when it came to video projects or ad campaigns.

It gave me fulfillment, so I knew that there was something there.

Besides that, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so I joined. It was a big risk that came with having to potentially deploy and leave everything behind, but I felt like I had nothing to lose, so upside outweigeighed the downside.

Everything happens for a reason, and I’m glad I took the leap of faith when so much was uncertain.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
— E.E. Cummings

After I Joined:

I gained a tremendous amount of confidence and felt like my leadership qualities were enhanced. I led soldiers in basic training and AIT and had a ton of fun doing it.

Guys I never talked to knew I was easily approachable, and I felt incredibly valuable to the team. I had been part of football, baseball, and track teams in high school but never had the same camaraderie I had in the Army.

If you haven’t done the things you wanted in life yet, and need some sort of structure, I highly recommend joining the army and selecting a job that interests you.

I Missed Sports and Gained Weight Prior to Joining

A common thing that happens after high school is that all the sports come to an end, and you, the 4-year student-athlete, loses motivation to maintain your fitness.

The lack of motivation stems from the fact that there’s no one to force you to practice, train, workout, or do anything. I abused the fact that I was no longer in any sports by continuing to eat a ton of food and quit staying active.

I gained nearly 20 pounds and was losing tons of confidence. I started to see a double-chin and was unhappy with my physique.

This was the beginning of all my confidence and my self-image going downhill. So I decided to join.

The human body is the best picture of the human soul.
 — Ludwig Wittgenstein

After I Joined:

Thanks to the Army, I got myself into the best shape of my life. My mindset became more positive, and I was open to taking more risks in my life that turned out for the better.

I got really into running half-marathons and creating self-help YouTube videos. Without the army, I wouldn't have gained the confidence or motivation to try such things.

Without the motivation from my drill sergeants, my battle buddies, the structured training, I wouldn’t have been as active as I am today on my own.

I Doubted My Potential Prior to Joining

When you’re a lost kid in high school, the only thing you base your future success on is either your grades or your ability to play sports at the next level.

I was an A/B student who got decent grades, but that’s because I worked hard learning things I didn’t care too much about. For sports, I knew I was good at baseball, but I didn’t feel like I loved it enough to play college ball for four years.

I was decent at what I was doing in high school, yet I had doubts about what was in store for me several years down the line. Self-doubt can overwhelm an individual tremendously. Especially when the individual knows they have potential but no clear direction.

After I Joined:

I knew I was more than capable of achieving anything I wanted in life. Heck, I had repelled off towers, fired more firearms than I ever had in my life, and pushed my body to its limits.

When you do things that are far outside of your comfort zone and have success with them, you feel like nothing can stop you. That’s what happened to me.

I deployed overseas, started a blogging career, and then scored my dream job to work in the marketing sector of Haikhuu Trading, helping support people with investing and trading in the stock market.

Final Thought

If you know someone who’s feeling incredibly lost and they’re particularly young, recommend them the military.

It’s a highly-rewarding career path that has helped me find myself and do the things I want in life. It was the mental reset I needed after high school in order to start a new journey.

There’s nothing I would change about my decision to join the Army after high school. If I could go back in time, I’d do it all over again.

Let’s Recap:

  • The military can help you develop a plan for you to follow in your life.
  • The military has the ability to help you get into incredible shape.
  • The military has the opportunity to remove any self-doubt you have.
Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
-Paulo Coelho

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email:

Chicago, IL

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