The idea of more study didn't appeal to Natalie Gilbert after she graduated Warilla High School in 2010.
"I was thinking about going to uni but I wasn't sold on the idea of extra study," she said.
"I saw Defence Force Recruiting at a school expo, I got some information and decided to join because it was a good steady job and I could travel around."
Natalie joined the Army in early 2011 as a movement operator and has served on two deployments to the Middle East.
She is now back in a different role after training to become a psychology examiner.
"My job is to assist the psychologist and to provide mental heath education to people deployed," she said.
"I do basic mental health screens on people using questionnaire interviews.
"My team is able to help people that need assistance prior to going home to help them have a smooth reintegration back into their home life."
Natalie grew up in Lake Illawarra but her parents Deanne and Iain now live up the road in Primbee.
"Initially my Mum was worried when I first went overseas and my Dad was really proud," she said.
"Now that I've been here a couple of times they're ok with it and they're still really proud."
Usually Natalie gets home to visit her parents about twice a year.
"I like being close to the beach, there's good weather, it's a nice place to relax."
The best part of being in the Army for Natalie was the people she worked with and the travel.
"I like that you work with people who are motivated," she said.
"You travel to different locations frequently, there are good benefits and it's a stable job.
"It's fun and a positive place to work."
Natalie is due back in Australia at the end of her three-and-a-half-month deployment April.
She deployed to the Middle East as part of Operation Accordion, to support the sustainment of Australian Defence Force operations, enable contingency planning and enhance regional relationships in the Middle East Region (MER).
From Australia's main base in the MER, about 500 ADF personnel provide support to Australian operations throughout the region, including Operations Okra, Highroad and Manitou.