2013… a year for the record books, or at least my record books. One hectic year of ups and downs with me clinging on for dear sanity, just praying that I make it through all of this. When things started getting crazy back in February, I mentally decided I would not let myself get down. Since then, I have been working hard trying to better myself in many situations. My most recent accomplishment: enlisting in the US Army. Yep. I have committed the next 5 years for active duty service, then 3 years of that in the inactive reserves.
I know this seems a little extreme or even reckless, but trust me, I have thought this through. I had been talking to recruiters, former soldiers, friends and family for the past few months trying to determine if this would be the best path for me. Clearly my answer was yes, it absolutely is. I may not seem like soldier material, but I definitely have the tenacity and drive to make anything happen. Plus, it’s not like I’m going into an infantry unit, I will be utilizing my smarts to halt enemy advancements.
The plan (and “plan” is not a loose term, this is a solidified word sealed with my signature):
- Deferred enlistment until I complete my Masters in Business Administration. I needed to make sure I could attend my best friend’s wedding at the end of June, but providing proof to postpone beyond the end of May was difficult. So I’m giving myself time to complete my masters degree and go from there.
- Off to boot camp on October 28, 2013. I will likely spend the entire day of the 28th at the Portland Military Processing Station (aka MEPS), be sworn in again, then be flown out on the 29th. Family and friends are welcome to be present all day on the 28th to keep me company and see me swear in.
- Welcome to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. 70% of all female soldiers going through basic training for the US Army each year are trained at Fort Jackson. I will be attending basic training from November 4, 2013 until the first week of February 2014. The Army will send me home for two weeks during Christmas – I’m very excited for that, since I’ll be missing Thanksgiving!
- Back home, then off again for another 52 weeks. After basic training, I’ll be home again for two more weeks, then I get sent to my “A School,” or the place where I learn all my cool skills. A School for me is in Monterey, California – just south of San Francisco. Here, I’ll get to live on the California beach and spend my days in language school, learning a foreign language. I don’t have an assigned language yet, but I’m excited for this opportunity. Learning a language means I’ll get to travel and work in the future.
- The best parts. Aside from getting to start a great career path and finally having a solid vision of my future, and living in California for a year, I received an enlistment bonus called the Loan Repayment Program (LRP). The LRP will pay up to $65k of student loans accrued by me, but waives any future use of the GI bill, which I am fine with. At the end of my first year of service, 33 1/3% of all my accrued student loans will be paid off. Same thing happens at the end of the second year, and again at the end of the third year. In three years’ time, I should have my student loans all paid off, except for the interest on them… which is nothing compared to the loans themselves. I’m overjoyed about this part. The last great thing is that I will be working in Intelligence doing something that is really intriguing to me. Also, I will have Top Secret clearance, so this is probably the most I’ll ever be able to divulge about my career. 😉
I really can’t wait for this experience. So for the next six months, I have to continue to keep my nose clean and take care of myself.