You know what would be really cool. A sort of “choose your own adventure” for students, a simulation that gave them the opportunity to realistically get in touch with the risks and rewards of the extremely wide range of opportunities out there. Something that let you play out the possibilities, and get a feel for what some of the important decisions are. And it should do it with a bit of humor. You know, something like whatamigonnadonext.com.
You know what would be even cooler? If there were options for winning the game without soldiering. Try to get more education, and the only possible outcome is living at home as a loser. They aren’t even going for the whole “we’ll get you through college” thing any more. Your only choice is to join the Air Force, because–get this–delivering pizza is dangerous.
The site is great. It provides the illusion of choice, while reinforcing the idea that choices are severely limited. Many who join the military already see their options as fairly limited, and realistically, in many cases they are. But it would be worth showing them that there are other options, potentially very rewarding for those willing to take the risk. The risk of joining the military, particularly during wartime, are manifest, and very few of the other possibilities available to young recruits carry the same risk factors. The rewards are fairly limited. Given that choice, why not go for something a bit less realistic.