Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:18 PM
You are going to get a ton of opinions with a question like that... This is mine:
If I had stayed in the Navy, I could retire right now, 25 year before the civilian retirement age! Where else can you start a career at age 17 and retire by 42, and get SIX WEEKS of vacation a year?? You know how long it takes to earn 6 weeks of vacation in a civilian job? You have 13 years, so you are half way there!! Why give it up now? I only put in 6 years when I got out. I thought the same thing you do "time to *start* my life", but there was nothing mystical or magical waiting for me in the civilian world. I don't know how old you were when you started, but let me ask you this: do you think you could be retired in the civilian world in 12 years? Retirement for the military used to be 20 years, I think they bumped that to 25 years in 1992, but I don't think that has changed.
I always wanted to do my own thing, ie. have my own business. I managed to get 1 big break after I got out, but I blew it (too young and dumb to know what I had), and I've been trying to get a business to support myself ever since. In the mean time I have had to get a "day job" and it sucks. Some people want to work for someone else their whole lives, I don't.
As for college, I really don't think much of it. I'm self-taught and never went to college, so I'm a little biased. However, how many people do you know who actually *work* in the field of their college degree? How many graduates are flipping burgers? To me, the biggest reason to attend a college would be to interact with like-minded people. Some of the best businesses are started by people who met in college. For that social interaction I'm jealous. In observing a lot of friends and family who did go to college, I'm skeptical that I would have actually learned much from the institution itself, but that's just me. I don't wait to be told "ok, now you can learn xyx..." If I want to know something, I go buy a bunch of books, Google, read, ask questions in forums, get my hands dirty, etc. I take myself to college every time there is something I want to learn about, but don't yet know.