For those of you who don’t know, let me fill you in on my newest adventure:
I am an Officer Candidate for the United States Marine Corps!
I’m sure some of you are thinking something along the lines of:, “WTF?!” or “what in the hell is this girl up to now?!” So, let me back up & explain this decision (and hopefully answer some of your questions along the way).
Let me back up…
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to join the military. After doing Army JROTC in high school, I considered both enlisting and doing ROTC in college. Instead, I decided to go the typical college route and see what pans out in the future. Throughout college I considered going to OCS (Office Candidate School) upon graduation, but I was accepted with Teach for America first. After a tumultuous first semester of teaching, I began looking at other options and here I am now. It’s been a pretty quick process…something that takes most candidates a year and a half or so, I completed in 2 months (initial interview -> contract). I guess when you want something bad enough, nothing really gets in the way. Here’s a quick timeline to give you a picture of the process:
November 24-30: Thanksgiving break. This was when I officially decided to pursue the Officer Candidate Program, scheduled my initial interview with the Officer Selection Officer (OSO), and told my sister & dad what I was up to
December 2: Interviewed with the OSO & was given an application
December 7: Initial Physical Fitness Test (PFT). At the time, I was really proud of myself for what I scored (185/300, 275 is First Class), but I knew I had my work cut out for me. BIG TIME.
December 12: Handed in my completed application. [SHOUT OUT: to everyone who completed the reference form in an incredibly timely manner!! Lindsay, Laura, Mr. Reep, Jon, 1SG Ferebee, Dr. Becknell, Dr. Markam]
December 17: Went to MEPs & got medically cleared
January 11: Took the Aviation Selection Test Battery. I missed it by one point, which was frustrating beyond belief. But, long story short: it’s not really a big deal.
January 18: Second PFT. Scored a 280/300! Yay for progress!! This PFT was a big deal, cause I needed a good score to get contracted.
January 31: Signed my contract!!!!!!! This meant that my application was going to the Selections Board in March & that was the only other hurdle to jump through!
February 22: Third PFT: scored a 283/300. Another candidate was coaching me through a 12-week Navy Seal training program, and man, I was feelin like a beast.
March 3: Interviewed with the Commanding Officer of Georgia recruitment. This meeting was so nerve wracking! The purpose of the meeting was basically so that the CO could know me and write a recommendation letter that would strengthen my application for the boards. It was so affirming and encouraging!
March 10-13: The Selection Boards!! This was by far one of the most anxious weeks in my life. These boards are extremely competitive & almost everyone is rejected the first time (they like to test ya).
Today: I received notice that I was selected!
March 21-23: Mini-OCS at Paris Island. This weekend will be pretty much a sample of what’s to come at OCS
SHOUT OUT: to everyone who’s been praying with and advising me through this process. There have definitely been times where I second-guessed if this is the process that the Lord is leading me down, and these people have been my rock. Love youuuuu ❤
Why did I choose the Marines? What not the Air Force or Army, or frankly anything easier? There are a lot of smartass comebacks I could say, but it really comes down to this: I want to the be the very best. The Marines have always been known as being the most elite, the strongest, and the most combat-ready. The Marines also do a lot of really cool humanitarian things like natural disaster emergency relief, Female Engage Teams, and community programs. Now, I know that a lot of people think that I don’t have the physical strength to become a Marine, and that I would be better “suited” for something easier. And to those people I say, “WATCH ME.”
Because I have a college degree from a 4-year accredited university, I am eligible to go in as an officer. This means that for 10 weeks over the summer, I’ll be attending Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA. This will no doubt be the hardest thing I have ever done, as it will push me both mentally and physically. I’ve already been studying and reading up on what to expect and how to prepare, but I’m sure there are something things I simply cannot be ready for. As the time gets closer, I get more nervous but I also get way more excited. If your interested, this website has a ton of information: Officer Candidate School.
I leave on June 2nd, for Officer Candidate School (barely 2 months away!!).
I graduate on August 8 and receive my commissioning as a Second Lieutenant of the United States Marine Corps.
This is a loaded question. One that I’m not sure I can fully answer in an already long post without rambling. The Marines have 3 core values: Honor, Courage, Commitment. As an officer, I will have the chance to display these through leadership of enlisted Marines. Here are some other words & phrases that reflect my reason: Diversity in leadership. Service. Stability. Challenge. Refinement of my leadership skills. Bridging the gap. Relationships. Witness.
If you really want my full answer, let’s have a coffee and chat. 🙂
So, what does this mean…
Teaching? I’m done. I’ll finish as much of the school year as I can, but I will have a lot of time off as I prepare to move and say goodbyes to friends. The closer the end comes, the more I realize I’ve come to care deeply about my students on a very personal level. I don’t even hate teaching as much as I used to. To the education system, however….DEUCES!
Teach for America? I’m finished that as well. Honestly, I have absolutely no regrets about not completing my Teach for America Contract. I have no regrets because I know that I did everything I could. I reached out when I needed help and I did not receive any support. I asked for a different placement when I felt like the one I was at put me in ethical violations, but I was told there were no options. I learned a lot about this organization (mostly bad, but a few good things), and for that I am grateful. I don’t regret joining TFA, but I am thrilled to be leaving.
**Teaching & TFA have been incredible sources of anxiety this year, and as callous or jaded as I may sound toward both of them, I promise I’m not. I went in very naive and idealistic which I quickly learned is not reality. I worked very hard to make both of these work, and leaving after after only a full year is not a decision I made lightly. A lot of prayer, seeking counsel, and consideration went into this.
My nose ring & belly-button ring? Bye-bye. 😦
I plan on posting at least two more related posts, one about what I’ve done to train and specific ways to pray for me. As always, I’ll keep you folks in the loop. I couldn’t embark on this adventure without your love, support, encouragement, and prayers! OORAH!
“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem.”
~ President Ronald Reagan