I remember the excitement I felt when I first met my recruiters, and the idea of possibly enlisting began to roll around in my mind. I was seventeen years old and the thought of being something more than just an average high school kid running around without much of a plan, strongly called out to me. I wasn’t a lost person, but I had not yet found what I was looking for until I made the decision to enlist. Once I made up my mind, my heart was set on my future identity being a U.S. soldier.
It took months of persuasion to get both my parents on board with the plan. It wasn’t about financial aid, college money, or pressure from anyone, it was a decision I made all on my own. The more time that went by, the stronger the desire I had to do this; the more I wanted this dream to become a reality. They may not have fully understood, but eventually they filled out the paperwork and signed the dotted line.
I hardly remember the details of what made up the painstakingly long day of getting through Military Entrance Processing Station, but what I do remember is the feeling. I remember the exact time and date, 2:00 p.m. on January 30, 2014. I raised my right hand and swore in to officially become a part of the U.S. military and it is a moment I will never forget.
I walked out of that building and I was surprised with the tears that poured down my face. Nothing could have stopped me from becoming what I wanted so badly, and having accomplished that I was beyond proud of myself. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. My mom on the other hand had a small panic attack, seeing me in tears after signing my life away on in a binding army contract, but I reassured her I was more than overjoyed. I was complete.
From that day on I am a changed person. I had different standards and expectations to mold into and uphold. I became a stronger and better person for myself and for what was required of me as a soldier. There are long days of training, time away from home, and sacrifices to be made, but never once have I regretted the decision I made.
On that day I stepped up to serve my country and better myself in ways I never even imagined. I became and developed into a soldier and into the best part of who I am. I don’t know who I would be if I couldn’t call myself that. Looking back over two years later, it was the best and most confident decision I have ever made, which led me to become the person I was meant to be.