Joining the Army: Rejected as a Journalist, I'm Now Taking Up Arms

Rejected as a Journalist, I’m Now Taking Up Arms

•  3 minute read

Rejected as a Journalist, I'm Now Taking Up Arms

Growing up, the military was always an attractive option. My father served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, and my grandfather had served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. I wanted to carry on the tradition – or at least, I was considering it. But around the same time that I considered army life, I also discovered that I had a passion for political journalism.


Between two options that kept pulling me in different directions, I decided to explore the journalism angle first.


After I graduated in May 2014 with a B.A. in political science, I started looking up and applying to every entry-level journalism position that I was eligible for. Now, I wasn’t trying to become a television anchor or anything. I just wanted to get my foot in the door and see where it led me.


I applied to these jobs on a weekly basis, but the response was far from encouraging.


Exploring My Passion for Journalism


Most didn’t get back. The ones that did respond would do a quick phone interview and I’d either never hear from them again or receive a rejection letter.


Even after I decided to broaden my job search to literally any entry-level job that I was qualified for, the results were the same. I was frequently met with questions of “Do you have a job yet?” Some people even accused me of being “lazy.”


I was already not in the best of emotional states, and the rejection was hard to stomach.


And it’s not that I was totally unqualified for the jobs. At this time, I had on my bio: good grades, four years in online journalism, radio gigs, and an article in an academic journal at age 22. Yet I still couldn’t find a job. I was upset and angry.


And the worst part was, there really wasn’t anything I could do about it.


It was taking a toll on my finances, as well. While I was doing small freelance gigs ($100 a month for, I couldn’t make even the tiniest dent in my $30,000-plus student loan debt.


And even when I did have work, I had to spend half my paycheck on shared expenses with my family. This left me with little to make even the interest payments on my student loans.


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Searching for Plan B


It was in this mood that I began to think back to an option that I had rejected while in high school – joining the military. I began looking into it seriously. I was told that I could go into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant with an annual salary of slightly over $30,000.


After the contracted six years of active duty, I’d be eligible for a student loan repayment program that would slice a third of my student loan debt. I quickly called up a recruiter and began the process.



That was back in October 2015. I have now gone through the Army Officer Board interview to determine if I qualified to attend Officer Candidate School. While I was nervous, I did well and went to school in Fort Benning, Georgia. I’m now heading to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After my army life, I’ll look for a career in the health sector – certainly not for a war correspondent’s job.



CentSai originally published this article on April 23, 2016. You can also watch a video of Devon’s story here.