October 28, 2009: I thought to myself “What did I just do?” During the next six weeks of Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Illinois I was constantly second guessing myself about what I was doing and if this was what I really wanted to do with my life. President Kennedy is well-known for his quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” For many people who join any branch of the military this quote holds true, however, this was not any of the three reasons that led me to becoming a sailor in the United States Navy. The main reason that I joined the Navy was to travel the world and experience life. I was raised in the small town of Alva, Oklahoma, and was from a poor family that did not have the means to travel outside our local area. As my high school graduation date was closing in, I was looking at all of my scholarship applications and all the possibilities of where to attend college. I was running the numbers and realized that I would have to take out quite a few student loans, which would end up leaving me with quite a lot of debt.
During the process of going over all of this, an Army recruiter knocked on my door asking me if I was interested in joining the military. Until that day I had never considered joining any branch of the military because I really wanted to go to college and get a higher education. I started considering the military as a viable option and researched every branch. I came to the conclusion that the United States Navy was the best fit for me. I took my oath and flew off to boot camp, all the while asking myself if this was want I really wanted to do? I decided it was and that I was going to push through it no matter what obstacles came my way. I had also decided to join the military because it would allow me to attend college for free. Ever since I was in middle school I saw myself becoming a teacher. I thoroughly enjoyed every opportunity that I received through the military to teach someone my trade or assigned job.
I would always do it to the best of my ability because I thought of it as practice for when I would get my teaching degree later in life, and it also provided me with quite a bit of life experience to be able to share with my teachers and, one day, my very own students. I was able to achieve the goal of getting my education benefits because I am now attending college for free. My final reason for joining the military was to improve my leadership skills. I wanted to gain leadership skills so that when I reentered into the civilian world, I would be able to make decisions for myself and for others that are looking to me for advice. Within the military I gained leadership skills of all kinds and feel much more comfortable leading a group of people than when I was younger and not yet experienced. I used to be very shy about being in charge of people, but thankfully joining the military changed that and took away my shyness.
I enjoyed being in the military very much. I feel that I accomplished all of my goals. As a result of being in the United States Navy I have become a much more outgoing, and educated person. I did get to travel during my career and it was very rewarding. I thankfully did not go to any of the war zones, but I did get to go to Rota, Spain and also to Portugal. They were both very beautiful countries and I hope to visit them again later in life with my husband. I feel that my decision to join the military has made me a better person all around and prepared me to take on the challenges of college and eventually becoming a teacher. I am very excited that I am finally following my dream of becoming an educator and hope to share my worldly experiences with anyone who will listen.
Courtney from Study Moose
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