It’s my senior year, and you can see the excitement on everyone's faces. Graduation is right around the corner, and all I hear people talking about is what university or college they’ll be attending. I was jealous of them because they were already set to go somewhere and their school paid for; meanwhile, I had no idea what I was going to do. Some people were going to be attending the local college while others would be attending out of state universities. Fancy, huh?
Here I am looking at my grades thinking to myself that there’s no way I’d be able to get accepted to any college or university. I felt I had to have straight A’s to even have a chance at going to college. At the time, I thought that my average grades wouldn’t be good enough, although, I had always received A’s, B’s, and C’s up until 12th grade. Well, I still got decent grades except in Pre-Calculus and Chemistry. I fucking hated those classes. Was college even the right choice for me? I feel like I barely made it through High School, and I'm thinking about going to college?
I, like millions of others, hate math. I hate it. I was never good at it and I’m still not. I was ok with math when it was simple addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. Once fractions came into the equation, I was done with it. Solve for x? No thanks. Find the slope? I'll find the door, thanks. It also didn’t help that my pre-calculus teacher was from Romania and had an accent that made it somewhat hard to understand. Sometimes she couldn’t find the right words to be able to explain the problems on the board. She was a friendly teacher, but it just made shit so hard for me. Chemistry, you may as well be trying to teach me another language. It was only another class that I didn't do well in. I’m pretty sure I got straight D’s In Pre-Cal and Chemistry. Maybe I wasn’t applying myself.
I was always that shy kid in class, so I didn’t speak much, and I never raised my hand to ask a question. I was embarrassed. Nobody else raised their hand, so I thought maybe I was just dumb for not understanding. I never asked for help. Now that I think about it, I know I would’ve comprehended a lot more by simply raising my hand and asking for some clarification, but, I kept to myself in most of my classes.
Now before you think I was some outcast at my school that had no friends, I did have friends. These were people that didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the school. They were different. I felt comfortable around them, and I could be myself. They were brilliant individuals who had exciting personalities. They never bothered anybody and always kept to themselves. I could relate. Don’t get me wrong though I wouldn’t take anyone’s shit. I’m not the type to sit there and let you talk smack to me or hit me. All parents tell their children either one of two things:
1. Violence is not the answer. Tell a teacher.
2. Don’t take anyone’s shit. Fight back.
There’s also a third thing. The one my mother told me: “ Don’t start shit with anyone but make sure you stick up for yourself. If you get your ass kicked expect another ass whoopin when you get home.” God, I love that woman.
In my junior year of high school, I decided to do something that I thought I would never do. I tried out for my schools' soccer team, and to my surprise, I made the team. It was surprising because I tried out for goalkeeper position. You’re probably asking yourself why that would be surprising to me. Well, my stature isn’t exactly goalkeeper material. I stand a mountainous 5 feet and 4 inches.
Our team wasn’t the best, but we also weren’t the worst. We had a decent record from what I can remember. I enjoyed it so much I went back for my senior year. This was a year filled with unforgettable memories. My senior year our team made it to the quarterfinals of a championship and we could not have been more ecstatic. We ended up losing that game and it marked the end of the season for us. It was one hell of a season though.
Prom night was around the corner and I had no intent on attending. I never even had a girlfriend in school. Well if you count the “girlfriend” I had in fifth grade then yes I did. I was in fifth grade, and I had no idea what I was doing, so she broke up with me in sixth grade. I don’t know why, but I cried my eyes out at school in front of everyone that day when my mom came to pick me up. Do I regret not going? Not really. It wasn't for me.
As the school year progressed, I was thinking about what I was going to do. Was I going to apply for colleges like everyone else? Was I going to have to move out of my moms' house? Was I going to get a job? All these questions were popping into my head, so I was worried about my future.
One day as I was walking down the hallway at school I saw a man walking towards me. He was in a uniform that would definitely capture your attention. He was walking with so much confidence and he knew all eyes were on him. He was a United States Marine. Without hesitation, I approached him; thus began my journey to becoming a United States Marine.