Joining The Army Changed My Life (Pt. 1)
If I had to name just one thing that had the most impact on my life as an adult, it would be my decision to enlist in the United States Army. With absolutely no regrets, I will say that the military was the best decision I've ever made.
As an 18yr old fresh out of high school without a parent-funded college nest-egg, I had very limited options for furthering my education that didn't involve putting myself into debt with student loans. The only options I had were to work a entry-level job and head to community college, take out student loans, apply for competitive grants, or join the military. In an attempt to try and make it on my own, I searched for a job. But not just any job! It had to pay well, I only wanted to work mid-day hours (so I could party after), and I didn't want to do fast-food. I eventually came across a high-end retirement home and landed a job as server.
Jackpot, I was getting paid $16/hr at 18yrs old. You couldnt tell me nothing! I saw green! I put in so many days and OT. I was ballin (LOL). Honey, save for what? I bought a 2 Way pager, a Miskeeno Coat, and more. I lost sight of my goal and balled out instead. Long story short, it took a long-time boyfriends infidelity to point me in the direction of getting out of town and getting my own shit together. Kinda like the last straw. I was working but losing focus, boyfriend out there wilding and I'm sitting there in new Jordan's looking stupid. All it took was that "Be All That you Can Be" commercial to come on and I was enlightened. I'm was gonna glow up on his ass and join the military, have them fund my education, while I milked them for every dollar they'd throw at me. "Why yes! Yes I will take that $7,000 sign-on bonus. Yes I will accept your free medical care. Yes I will let you pay for my housing." Sign me up!
I remember contacting the phone number from the commercial (I never did receive my free book bag...smh) and leaving my information for a local recruiter to contact me. He contacted me the same day. He came to my house to visit and talk to my family and I in person. My family were totally against it. I was on the fence. He offered to talk to me away from the influence of my family. He even came to pick me up from my house so that I actually made it to the meetings. Without outside noise, he started with all the benefits I would be entitled to, and how it would change my life for the better, make my family proud, etc... all while kindly offering me lunch for my time. I remember thinking, "wow... the Army sure is nice!" Let's do this!
Testing for the ASVAB was just like that of the SAT's. Your score determines which jobs you get to pick from and train for. The amount of post high-school education achieved, will determine which rank you will be able to enter the service in as. Having some college credit will earn you an E-2 through E-4 rank. Having a degree would earn one an Officer status. The higher the rank, the higher the pay.
Physical Fitness Test
Whew chile, the struggle. I was supposed to do 10 push up in a minute, run 1 mile in 10 minutes and 40 crunches in a minute. I failed everything. Oh, AND I was 5lbs overweight! Pathetic, lol. But they wouldn't allow me to sign my contract until I was able to pass this test! I had to train. My recruiter came and got me weekly to test and check my progress and after about a month I was finally able to work myself up to pass that test.
My family was scared shitless. The War on Terror had just began and they didnt want me to be apart of this mass recruiting they had going on. They feared I would die. Needless to say, I went on anyway. But not before making sure they knew to send me My recruiter escorted me to my flight to North Carolina.
TO BE CONTINUED...