It’s never too late to look back into your past and see what was the current state of operations. Found this 2010 reflection before I kicked off my military career.
“Reflections of a civilian.
I’ve never imagined a life in the military. All my life through high school I always held a negative view of it – believing what one person told me ‘that the bottom 10% of our high school class fights our wars’. Then, at the beginning of my junior year when I was deciding on colleges, my father suggested that I apply to West Point and become an officer. I half-halfheartedly did so and to my surprise I secured my Senatorial recommendations and passed the entrance process. But as senior year passed, I heard my friends talk about college and all the glory of the social scene: drugs, alcohol, and popularity and I lost sight of my goal. Plus, I also was involved in a relationship that I didn’t want to end so eventually, being that I had only applied to USMA and Rutgers as my backup (I wrote “Hi.” for my essay), I gave up on West Point and started freshman year at RU.
Looking back, four years of drinking and the social life did nothing for me in the REAL world. Yes, I learned the different types of alcohol and ways to mix it – hot spots in the city – made many acquaintances and even learned how to build my own computer.. however, for what? Even with an internship at the prosecutor’s office junior through senior year I still could not form my future with all the mosaic pieces I acquired. All my experience was for nothing. One redeeming factor from college was the blessing of having met an amazing person who turned my life around. A person who took all of my preconceptions of what “fun” college is supposed to be, showed me how poisonous that lifestyle was, and showed me what purpose I should have in life. This person turned my life 180 and propelled me in the opposite direction. I am not discounting all other influences my friends have had on my life, but this was the most profound.
Therefore, my first goal after obtaining my BA was to acquire a job. Easier said than done. As amazing my resume was (i kid i kid), none of it landed a job for me. In fact, it wasn’t my BA that got me my first job, it was my hobby on the side, my EMT certification that landed my first 9-5. To this day, had I not had that I could have been working Mickey D’s at $8/hr for all I know. For this, I am thankful to my father who pushed me to be “well-rounded” in high school and helped me become an EMT. With this job I then reached my second goal, obtaining “liquidable income.” It manifested itself in the form of my beloved Honda Accord Coupe. My first purchase, milestone, and major accomplishment. I now had something completely owned by myself, something I alone was responsible for.
I was unhappy with my current situation. I knew my calling wasn’t to be an EMT. I went through college to become a lawyer! But, again, with advice my father gave me since I was young, I kept all my options opened and applied everywhere for a job. Spread enough seed and something will grow is the Confucian saying. Uncle James passed away in March. He was a Colonel in the Army. My family went to his funeral in Hawaii and was immediately welcomed by all sorts of uniformed personnel. Through all the accommodations provided to us a new understanding of the Army developed and I immediately applied through a recruiter when I returned home.
As time passed, applications and phone calls led to interviews and as interviews led to dead-ends I didn’t want to be one of ‘those guys’ who joined the Army because they had nothing else going for them. I promised myself I would find purpose for joining, purpose for being a part of the strongest fighting force in the world.
It wasn’t until 2 months ago that I finally found that purpose. After my first job, I realized I could not live the tedious, repetitive 9-5/ M-F job. It was all too boring and held no purpose for me. I wanted a life with meaning. We get one shot at this life, I wanted to leave a positive mark in this world.
So without further ado, HOOAH.”