I had a some what different approach to the job. I was in my early twenties and having second thoughts about my chosen career path (aviation oriented). A local agency was running a add on the radio, looking for entry level applicants. I didn't really know any officers, never took any AJ classes, no ridealongs, and will be the first to admit I didn't really have a clue what I was getting into.
But I thought "what the hell" and applied. Standing outside city hall waiting for the first written to start I started to talk to some of the other guys waiting to test. A lot of them were AJ majors or had some other type of LE background and I began to think "I don't have a snowball's chance in hell" at this job. The city was running a pretty quick testing process and had the results posted in the afternoon. The AJ guys I had talked to flunked, I passed.
In the end I scored well and was hired.
When I saw this could work out I got pretty excited. I gave it 100% and made it through the academy, FTO, and probation with no real problems.
38 years and two agencies later I retired. I have no regrets, it was a great adventure. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
If you decide it's for you, you must give it your all, nothing half assed. Your family must be supportive as they will have to deal with the working conditions almost as much as you.