Twentynine Palms -- I was raised by my mom and my step dad with my sister and two brothers. My mom is in college studying environmental science and my step dad works as a construction worker.
I grew up in Massillon, Ohio. The football hall of fame is in Canton, Ohio, so football is popular back home, especially in the high schools. My school even had an indoor football stadium.
I was really involved in high school. I was in the national honor society and in a national marketing competition. I was also in teen court, which is where students would figure out the best punishments for rule breakers.
I played three varsity sports while in school: track, cross-country and swim. Cross-country was my favorite because I’ve always been a distance runner.
English and history were my primary subjects, so I tutored other students during lunch. I finished some basic college classes while in school, like environmental science and English Composition 1 and 2.
My step-mom used to repair damaged military gear and once, when I was little, she let me try on the dress blues and cammies she was fixing because she knew how much I loved the Marine Corps.
I joined the Marine Corps the October after I graduated high school. Joining the Corps was something I wanted to do since I was a kid. I would see films of Marines doing remarkable things and sacrificing so much that it drew me toward wanting to be one of them.
My step-dad is one of my biggest role models. He was going to be an Army Ranger, but several unfortunate events came his way, so he was unable to finish. Despite the things going on in his life, he took in children that weren’t his and raised them as if they were his own.
I’m going to start college classes soon. Right now I just want to earn an associate’s degree because I’m not sure what I want to major in. I’ve been thinking about becoming an orthodontist. I had really crooked teeth so I had to wear braces. Thanks to my orthodontist I have straight teeth now which gave me a huge confidence boost. I want to give people the same confidence that I received.
I’ve also thought about owning a franchise like McDonalds or Chipotle because that makes great money. Franchises sell themselves; all the owner has to do is get a convenient location. There was this brand-new Chipotle that was opened downtown where I lived and it became popular fast.
My favorite part about the Corps is that when things get stressful here there’s always someone to make it better, usually by being funny. Another thing is that I didn’t have many friends before but when I joined I made lots of friends with many different people.
Advice I have for new Marines is try not to emulate bad leaders. If you do, you’ll become a bad leader for someone else. Always strive to be better than your leaders.