This story was written by Calli Turner, The Battalion
For some, the Corps of Cadets is four years of service, for others, it is just the beginning.
Brian Black, a senior agricultural leadership and development major said he always knew he was meant to serve.
"I've always had a running desire to serve in the military, since I was a child," Black said.
Black is one of the many students who, on top of being a member of the Corps, is contracted to join a branch of the Armed Forces upon graduation.
When he graduates in December, Black will be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
"The Navy had more to offer me from a career standpoint, and with the uncertainty of the exact field you'll go into by the time you graduate," Black said. "I feel that I'll have more success in the fields of the Navy than any of the other branches."
Black is a member of the advanced standing program, which covers the cost of uniforms for the Corps of Cadets and the Navy ROTC, as well as providing a monthly stipend.
For Zach Schultz, a senior finance major, the choice to join the military came later.
"Originally I was in the Corps and I was not contracted, but halfway through my sophomore year I decided it was something I wanted to do and I was given the chance to go to airborne school in Georgia," Schultz said.
He is a member of the Army ROTC program at A&M. In return for four years of active and four years of inactive duty, the program helps to pay for tuition, books and provides a monthly stipend.
Schultz said the choice to join the Army was not a far reach. He is a member of Company I-1, an Army outfit in the Corps of Cadets.
Schultz said the Iraq War was not one of the factors in his decision.
"It doesn't really affect my decision at all, it doesn't make me really excited about it, but I signed up to defend our country and fight for freedom, and what better way to do that," he said.
Both Schultz and Black said their time in the Corps of Cadets has readied them for the Armed Forces.
"Having to live a regimen lifestyle every day makes you more prepared than being in a regular ROTC program," Schultz said.
Black said the leadership training in the Corps will help him in all situations to come.
"I feel that I am more prepared than someone from another university," he said.
He said in addition to his time in the Corps, being an Aggie has helped to make him stronger.
"The tradition and the integrity that's instilled in all students at A&M will guide my decision-making, whatever circumstances I may be in," he said.
Schultz said he will miss the camaraderie of the Corps the most, but Black said he is looking forward to the connections to come.
"I think there will be a much tighter bond between all the other Aggies in the services," he said.
While many see the armed services as grueling, dangerous work, Schultz said he sees it as his next adventure.
"I'm just excited to graduate and be commissioned and see what's out there," he said.