December 11, 2019 3 min read 3 Comments

It’s the most dreaded question of every high school student. Anywhere you go, there it is, waiting around the corner to jump out and get your anxiety started: “So, where are you going to college?” Having never wanted to go to college, and not wanting to start a debate, my answer was always, “I don’t know yet.” If I were to say anything else I would instantly be regarded with a look of disbelief accompanied by one of the following phrases: “How are you going to get a good job?”, “What will you even do then?”, “Maybe you should take a gap year and then decide.” At the end it was always just easier to say I was unsure, when I knew that it was something I wasn’t interested in. Sitting in a classroom for an extra four or so years wasn’t something I was going to fit into my kinesthetic mind. For years my mind turned everytime the question pounced upon me, until I went to Michigan in 10th grade to visit my family.

Sitting in my great grandmother’s parlor, I stared at the walls adorned with photographs lined with frills. Her beige-pink walls making my inner old lady blossom. Turning to my great grandfather I delighted in his next question, “What are you going to do once you graduate?” People always said, “Where are you going to college?” because society tells you that you have to go to college to be successful, but my grandfather didn’t ask me that. Silently beaming to myself at the familial victory, I admitted my lack of a decision and asked what he did. “Oh I went into the Air Force after school.” He announced proudly, sticking out his chest. Sitting there stunned, I berated him with questions. The military was something that had never crossed my mind before, and something that I knew was going to stick in my mind no matter what I chose to do in the future. As he spoke of his life on base I tried to imagine myself doing the same: protecting people, working hard like I had always done, and being fulfilled from living a life of honor. It sounded pretty perfect.

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Upon getting home that next week, I researched until my eyes were dry from staring at my computer, and I was certain that I was going to join the Air Force just like my great-grandpa. I talked to recruiters and former servicemen, determined to find as much information as possible on the military and everything it could offer me in life. This lead me to investigating a call home from a recruiter from the Marines. Introducing himself he stated that he was calling all homes of students that had taken the ASVAB (the military entrance exam), and were interested in doing service. Reaching back to him I agreed to meet so I could learn more, and from there I was convinced that enlisting in the Marines was the best choice. I wanted to work hard and feel rewarded in the system I would be in, and there was no place that would work me harder than the Marines.

 No matter the decisions I made, I always worked to get to them, and worked to stay informed. Transitioning from “I don’t know” to “I am enlisting as a Marine” was one of the hardest and best decisions I've made, and was possible because I didn’t give in to Society wanting me to go to college. I knew who I was and who I wanted to become, and I didn’t let anything change that. I kept my values close and pursued through the confusion, allowing new knowledge and un-quenched thirst for new experiences guide my hand. Now I will be doing something that will give me fulfillment in life, all because I knew who I was, and I worked hard to overcome the societal norm about my future.

Camille Cheney
High School Senior and Future Marine
Union 32 High School
East Montpelier, Vermont


3 Responses

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July 30, 2020

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July 30, 2020

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James Amburgey
James Amburgey

December 11, 2019

Greatest essay I ever read !!

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Size Guide for Navy Racks and Navy Rack Mattresses | Fleet Sheets
Size Guide for Navy Racks, Navy Rack Sheets and Navy Rack Mattresses.
Navy Ship Rack Sizes, Coast Guard Rack Sizes, Rack Sheet Sizes, Submarine Rack Sizes.
Size Name Fitted Sheet Flat Sheet Pillowcases
Crew (Surface Ships and Submarines) 26" × 76" × 8" (Fits mattresses 4"-7" deep) 53" × 92" 20" × 33"
Crew Long (Surface Ships) 26" × 80" × 8" (Fits mattresses 4"-7" deep) 53" × 96" 20" × 33"
CPO (Surface Ships, Subs, and Coast Guard Cutters) 28" × 76" × 8" (Fits mattresses 4"-7" deep) 56" × 92" 20" × 33"
CPO Long (Surface Ships) 28" × 80" × 8" (Fits mattresses 4"-7" deep) 56" × 96" 20" × 33"
Officer (Surface Ships) 34" × 76" × 8" (Fits mattresses 4"-7" deep) 63" × 92" 20" × 33"