When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to pursue higher education and, later on, go into the military. I didn’t know how I would accomplish this, but I understood that I didn’t have the money to afford to go to a university – even through taking online classes.
Because I didn’t know how to accomplish this goal, nor did I have an idea of what exactly I wanted to do, I ended up taking a gap year. During that time, I worked in a corporate attorney’s office and spent time learning about ways to finance my own way through college, as well as earn scholarship opportunities.
One day, I stumbled upon the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship, which is for U.S. citizens between the ages of 17 and 23. It’s a full-tuition scholarship to any university that is an approved Navy ROTC university.
I looked at the scholarship and thought that this would be my chance to accomplish both goals: get a degree and serve in the military. I ended up pursuing the Marine Corps Navy ROTC scholarship because it was the most physically challenging, and I am always up for a challenge.
From that point onward, I dedicated all of my time outside of work to bettering myself in every capacity: mentally, emotionally and physically. I took the physical fitness test a few months later and earned a first-class score. I added that to my Navy ROTC package and sent it off to the board.
Several months later, my recruiter, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Michael Oberley, called to tell me I had received the scholarship. That was a huge moment for me. I now had a path to becoming an officer in the Marine Corps and obtaining a degree.
Currently, I am a midshipman 2nd class (meaning I’m in my third year of university) and I’m in the process of prepping for Officer Candidate School, a six-week course designed to screen all Marine-option candidates to see if they have what it takes to become a U.S. Marine Corps officer.
I am excited to enter into the next phase of my life after earning the title of a United States Marine and, of course, completing my degree.