Reports indicate that 98% of students who took a gap year between high school and college found that they were able to truly reflect on their own identity during this period— 97% indicated that this deferment increased their maturity; compulsory military service results in comparable statistics.
Keeping in line with this idea, not only do individuals profit from this gap of time, but they also benefit from the numerous skills they develop while engaged in their service. Physical benefits aside, some of these skills include: leadership, self-sufficiency, ability to perform under pressure, adaptability, as well as problem-solving, and conflict resolution.
Of course, these skills can be learned outside the context of the military. However, it is only in enlistment that individuals are put in a position to quickly develop these skills in the training environment. Additionally, many of the aforementioned skills cannot be taught in a formal setting, it is only through experience that these skills can be truly learned. Best of all though is that these skills can be transferred into everyday civilian life. Especially in times of peace. In other words, in peacetime, military training moves to focus more of its attention on civic education. Thus, through lectures and group discussions, young men and women of varying educational backgrounds are given a deep political perspective and appreciation for the country they live in. 
For example, this is specifically evident in a 2011 TED talk given by four-star general Stanley McChrystal, who experienced the terrorist attack of 9/11 first hand and was subsequently deployed in Afghanistan: "And you have to watch and take care of each other. I learned the most about relationships [in the army], things I couldn't have learned anywhere else..."