I Was Stuck Between The Decision Of Serving My Country And College
Student Life

I Was Stuck Between The Decision Of Serving My Country And College

The route I found that was able to allow me to do both.


When I was younger, I used to sit around and listen to my father. I would listen to the stories my father would tell of comradery, friendship, fun times, and triumphs. I would listen to my father telling me how hard he worked to get there and how hard he worked to get here. I would sit and listen. I obviously had my favorite stories of my father, and he very clearly had his own favorites. Whether or not he knows this, his stories made an impact on my life.

My father was born in the 1960's and went to high school in the 1980's. This was a time period were the options for what to do after high school were far less than what is offered today. My father had the choice of college or military service.

Loving his country and having a great sense of duty he went into the military. My father started his military career in the Ohio National Guard his senior year of high school. After his senior year, he decided it was time for him to go on active duty. My father served for 16 years in United States Army making it to the rank of staff sergeant. Within those 16 years, he has seen, experienced, and lived more than anyone could imagine.

The stories that shaped me the most were those of his service. I loved listening to the stories he would tell about his life on base, his roommates, and the small, simple memories he had. I was enamored with the stories that his 16 years had produced.

I always knew in the back of my head that this is what I wanted to do somewhere down the line. I wanted to serve my country. In high school, I was determined that I would end up in the service someway, somehow. Yet I was still unsure of what to do, so I applied for colleges still.

I applied in August of 2017 to Cleveland State University. In the following spring of 2018, I was accepted. I agreed to attend Cleveland State University, still having my heart set on serving my country while I was attending school. I wanted to go into the reserves, or the guard just as my father had so many years before me.

It was however during freshman orientation that we stumbled upon a table which was labeled as Army ROTC. My father, knowing I still wanted to serve steered me towards the table with full force. I walked up and talked to the tall man behind the table.

He told me that this program was made for those who wanted to serve their country, but also still wanted to go through college as well. He explained that you would go through all your regular classes but have two classes that were specific to the military. At the end of your four years, if you choose to stay with the program, you would graduate as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was sold. Still unsure of what college would hold I signed up.

I was now enrolled for my first year of military science. I was armed with little knowledge and a whole lot of fear. Still, I went in remembering my father's stories and hoping to come out with a few of my own.

It has been nearly a month since the school has started and I can say without, a doubt I do not regret signing up for the class. There are early mornings and car rides with people you barely know, yet you know better than you think. There are group chats and offers for help and information. It is as if no school, no age, no major defines it. It is as if when we put on that uniform or those PT's we are one. It is not you vs. you. It is us vs. them. We are a team, a single unit.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

May 25, 2020: the day that will forever be remembered as the day George Floyd lost his life at the hands of cops.

The day that systematic racism again reared its head at full force in 2020.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 17 Black-Owned Businesses Ship Baked Goods, Rosé, And Even Fried Chicken Nationwide

Eat your way through this country's greatest food — from your couch.

Call it the easily bored Gemini in me, but I'm constantly looking for new food to try. Usually, travel quenches my taste for new and exciting cuisines, but given the fact that international travel is not always a possibility, I've begun exploring alternatives.

In the interest of wanting to support the Black community and Black-owned businesses, and also wanting to try some of the country's greatest food without having to get off my couch, I started off (pessimistically) doing research, only to find that the options were vast.

Keep Reading... Show less

24 Beauty And Style Brands Donating To The Fight To End Police Brutality Against Black People

From small, boutique brands to legacy fashion brands.

The worlds of beauty and fashion often collide, whether for good or bad. In both, underrepresentation has always been, and remains to be, a major unresolved issue. After the recent killing of George Floyd, many people are rightfully enraged, compounded by the fact his death in police custody wasn't an isolated incident.

Police brutality against Black people is not new, and isn't going away till we start dedicating resources to fighting it. Many of us, as individuals, have only begun in the last week scratching the surface of what it means to educate ourselves on race, historical race relations, and how to be an ally to the Black community.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because You Can Still Connect While Disconnecting From Social Media

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a lot going on right now, particularly in relation to George Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and public protest of racial injustice in the United States. While we can all agree that this deserves conversations, change, and actionable good, social media arguments with Great Aunt Linda are not where social change begins and ends. Spending too much time scrolling through your phone has never been healthy, but now it's even more addicting — what does that one person from my hometown say about this? How can I further education within discussions? Am I posting enough?

Keep Reading... Show less

I don't know about you, but reading is at the top of my to-do list this summer... especially with all the social distancing I'll still be doing. If, like me, you're hoping to pick up a romantic page-turner (or a couple dozen), here are 23 romance novels by Black authors you'll absolutely LOVE reading.

Keep Reading... Show less

22 Black-Owned Etsy Shops With The Perfect Gifts For Everyone In Your Life — Including You

Treat yourself and your loved ones while supporting Black creatives and artisans.

R-KI-TEKT, Pontie Wax, Lovely Earthlings, and blade + bloom on Etsy

The world is taking action against the injustices and under-representation plaguing Black lives, and one small but impactful thing you can do to actively make a difference is support Black-owned businesses.

Etsy is likely one of your go-to sites for gift-buying, but have you ever paid attention to which independent artists and sellers you're buying from?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

True Self-Care Is HARD, That Face Mask Isn't Actually Going To Solve Your Problems

There's a line between self-care and self-destruction.

Anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past few years has seen something somewhere about self-care whether it was on Facebook, Twitter, or their Instagram feed. Oftentimes it's pictures of celebrities or influencers sipping green smoothies or slathering on mud masks with #selfcare. It's posts like these that made me realize that "self-care" has become the ultimate buzz word, soaring in popularity but in the process, it's lost most of its original meaning. It's time to set the record straight and reclaim the term.

Although self-care has been around for quite some time, within the past few years it's been misconstrued and commodified as our capitalist society tends to do with things it thinks can be profited off. Self-care is now being peddled as something that can be bought and sold on the shelf at Target rather than something that takes real work to achieve. This fake self-care movement is not only enabling people to over-indulge themselves, but it has created a crutch for people to avoid the responsibility of taking true care of themselves. Instead of doing the work that needs to be done, many people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for doing nothing at all — this can quickly become an unhealthy coping mechanism, especially with corporations cheering us on (to buy their next product). Long, hard day at work? Just grab your third iced coffee of the day! Fight with your SO? Buy that 50-dollar face mask, it'll make you feel better! This is how self-care becomes self-sabotage and self-destructive.

Keep Reading... Show less

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments