SINGAPORE: A 20-year-old woman took to an online forum on Sunday (Jan 28) to share that she is “currently feeling lost in life” and considering a career at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) instead of going to uni, saying she does not want to financially burden her parents.

“I’m an average student,” she wrote. “My CGPA isn’t good enough to get into local uni. I’m studying biomed sci but it doesn’t seem like something I’d like to pursue as a career. I don’t know if I should pivot and study a different unrelated course in uni (if I go or get in). Since I dont know what I want to do in the future, I feel that it isn’t worth it for my parents to spend money on a degree I’m not confident in and I dont want to burden them financially.”

A student’s dilemma

Given this, she pondered, “Should I take a gap year and work to figure things out? I already have a job opportunity at a place that lowkey traumatised me but I’ll suck it up. Or should I pursue a career in the SAF?

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I’ve been researching about females in the SAF and nothing is convincing me to enlist but nothing makes me NOT want to enlist either.

Money is good, but I don’t know about the life of someone in the SAF. I dont want to overestimate myself and get myself into a situation that I’ll regret and can’t get out of.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about enlisting the past few days. but I’m still not sure. Anyone in the same position? Any advice to give me?”

A handful of online users responded to the young woman’s call for advice, many strongly urging her not to sign on, especially if it’s for the money.

“Please don’t sign on for the money,” wrote one. “If you have no passion for the military and don’t enjoy the regimental lifestyle, you won’t survive.”

Another said, “I sincerely hope you read this and I get to save a life today. DON’T SIGN ON. Whatever you do out there is better than signing on. For a 20-year-old female, you have plenty of opportunities out there.”

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The gap year trend

Others encouraged the young woman to take a gap year.

“Sounds like a gap year,” said one. “Going into the military to sort yourself out is generally a bad idea and could lead to bad outcomes that follow you for the rest of your life. How about a gap year of volunteering?”

Some reminded her that everyone has their own timeline and it’s not wrong to need some time to figure things out.

“It took me til I was 25 year old to figure out what I wanted to do in life,” wrote another. “If you can’t go to local uni you can go private.”

According to the Singaporean Institute of Management, taking a gap year is becoming a trend among students. During this period, students do a range of things, from work (either paid or volunteer) to internships.

Others even use this period to travel and take some time off from their studies. For many, doing so helps them find clarity and can even be an opportunity to figure out exactly what they want out of life.

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