Lessons learned in the military

I’m an 18-year-old white male, and on my new path through college. This wasn’t my first choice or my first look at the real world, however. As soon as I turned 18 I joined the ranks of recruits at Parris Island South Carolina. One month later I returned home not as a marine, but once again as a civilian.
Still in shock from the bad taste that was left in my mouth I began to resent this military branch. I couldn’t realize that it wasn’t their fault, but rather my failure. Warfare is a necessary evil, but not just anyone can pick a rifle up. Through strategic mind torture you are broken down and rebuilt. I was one of the weak-minded recruits weeded out and sent home.
But I had my first look at the real world and survived. Not able to stay the full duration of boot camp I was broken down but never rebuilt.
Marines are avid believers of team work. Also, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.
Looking back I see it as truth. Basic training was intensely brutal whether you completed or not. You came out with a different mindset. This has paved me to be the person I am today even after failing. It taught me to be humble and value the little things I took for granted, like my freedom of speech or opinion. In basic you quickly learned to do as they tell you.
This changed everything down to the very way you sleep. It’s not until you’re put in these extreme situations where you realized what is really important in your life.  Each person will come out of Basic with a different outlook. I took it more or less as a test of metal, and to prove the worth of myself. Even now I have this mentality, a determination to prove myself and find my worth. It spurred on my seemingly crushed future.

Zachary Pemberton
Nicholasville, Ky.