From Army to College
As the bus entered the heavily guarded military instillation, I gazed upon the sign that read, "Be All that You Can Be." When the bus stopped, several angry Drill Instructors boarded and began introducing us to a very colorful vocabulary, usually reserved for drunken Sailors. They instructed us to gather our belongings, get off the bus and assemble in a circular formation. As I searched for the strength to get up, I found myself moving, while several Drill Instructors yelled at us for our clumsy attempt to dismount the bus and fall into formation. I wondered if I had made the right choice. However, I have come to realize that my military experiences have tremendously enhanced my self-worth. From those first eight weeks of Basic Training to the day I walked out with an honorable discharge, I gained an enormous amount of skill and confidence. I grew as a person, and I learned life skills: discipline, tenacity, leadership, and problem solving abilities, all of which will enhance my potential as a student.
In the military, training makes the difference between failure and success. So whether one's specialty is exiting aircraft at 1,300 feet, enforcing law and order around the fort, or taking medical X-rays, people need training in order to develop discipline and confidence. As the Army becomes more technologically advanced, so does the guidance individuals receive. In my case, the Army provided me with high-tech instruction in the field of electronics communication repair. At the tender age of 18,I was responsible for operating and maintaining million-dollar telecommunications equipment. This often involved being located in remote areas away from other support units, while working under adverse conditions. However, electronic equipment or theories of electricity weren't the only things I learned about. The experience provided me with invaluable skills that will prove critical in the legal profession. For example, I was required to analyze intricate electronics circuitry, find problems and then fix them appropriately. I also had to interact with co-workers, supervisors, and engineers while I was trying to solve these difficult technical problems. As a result, I learned the importance of articulating my thoughts in a coherent and logical fashion while under duress. Being forced to independently solve complicated problems in a short period of time strengthened my discipline and tenacity, qualities that will be essential at Harvard.
Moreover, the military also gave me the opportunity to travel abroad. Living in countries such as Korea, Spain, and Germany and immersing myself in their cultures has given me perspective on the differences between the United States and other countries. Each place I have lived has been unique in some way, from the different languages to the variations in cultural practices. Dealing with individuals with different backgrounds has helped me develop a good rapport with people.