Hello there, I am looking for possible advice from people more versed than I about my current situation. A bit of overview of where I am currently standing: I am 18 and recently started serving in the army - that is, mandatory army. I got accepted to a good computing & security unit after numerous tests and interviews, which requires me to serve four and a half years; mainly doing programming. Serving in such a unit has a few perks: I am practically guaranteed a good, above average salary job after I finish serving. The companies where I live tend to hire people from these units straight away, sometimes they even call you. You can gain a lot of knowledge and more importantly - major experience in the software world. They give you a few exemptions from several university computer courses based on your training. A few other details: abysmal salary - think about 140$ a month for three years and 1300$-1600$ a month for the remaining year and a half. 9 hours or more + 2 hours to travel, Sun-Thu - it's an open base. The thing is, I do not have my clearance answer yet, and so I am currently in semi-training but not quite there yet. Now, I have zero desire to be in the army; I only care about this unit because of the future job it will land me. Don't take me the wrong way, I like computers and have been self-studying for years. But in the past months this interest has been pushed aside as I have taken a great interest in physics. Up until recently I wanted to get out of the army (in a way which probably will not let me have a clearance in the future) and pursue my education in physics in order to do research in the future and be occupied in things I consider most important. Until I browsed this forum. Most of what I read here basically told me that I have slim chances of ever doing actual physics research after my PhD. On top of that, I probably will not be able to do government R&D because I wouldn't have finished my mandatory service. And on top of everything else, I have little time to decide since the timeline to register to the university is short. So here I am, struggling to decide whether I should choose my passion for physics over my current safer & known route. I am interested in your opinions, what would you do? Thank you for reading.