As I've started to think ahead to post-active duty job prospects, it's dawned on me that a 21-month detour to graduate school as a "soft landing" back into the real world might make a whole lot of sense. For one, it's really not that long of a time commitment for a potentially huge upside. For another, it's essentially free thanks to current and future service obligations (though I realize that it's still 21 months without a full-time income, those lost earnings could certainly be recouped). It's a chance to devote time just to learning something I don't really understand with major implications for a future in business, policy, military leadership, and/or some combination of all of the above.
But perhaps the bigger, better reason comes down to this -- it silences the internal debate as to whether.
Let me explain.
When you're faced with a difficult (hey, I know that's relative...there are people wondering whether they'll eat today) decision, if you can use this matrix, I recommend it -- if one route will allow you to look back and not have to wonder whether you coulda/should/woulda explored something, and the opportunity cost isn't prohibitive, take it.
I know there's no such thing as a win-win. There's nothing you can do that doesn't come with some type of cost -- monetary, opportunity, or other. But something you do and dislike -- even something you look back on and regret -- seems a lot different than something you spend the rest of your life wondering whether you should have done.
See the distinction?
Besides, when have you ever heard anyone REGRET the level of education they attained? Don't count the conventional, disingenous types who have MDs, JDs, or PhDs but are full of advice for YOU about how you should just say 'screw it' and go backpacking in the Gobi Desert instead.
Those people don't count. They don't really regret it -- by saying that after the fact, they're just being the same conventional selves that drove them to graduate school in the first place.
So, anyway, this is all a couple years away anyway, but for now the decision is made...pending the next course and bearing correction, of course.