Tell us about yourself.
I am from Hillsboro, Oregon, and I enlisted in the Marine Corps in early 2016. I am still on active duty as a combat engineer. I joined the military to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. I have been community-oriented my entire life. My father was a firefighter, my mom is a part of the healthcare workforce, and I did Search and Rescue before the Marine Corps.
What was your educational background prior to attending WSP, and which of our courses did you attend?
I earned an associate’s degree before attending WSP at Texas A&M.
Why did you decide to participate in WSP this summer, and was there a shift in your confidence level from the first day of the course to the last day?
I wanted to see if higher levels of education were for me. I had never been to a university before, and the schools listed in the program were top-performing. I am also undergoing the Posse interviews and wanted to see the school I was applying to before arriving on campus.
After the first day of the course, I felt I was in over my head. Humanities week was the first week I attended, and it was not my strong suit. My entire life, I have been behind the curve with reading. To say I was nervous is an understatement. After completing both humanities week and STEM week, I felt I could accomplish everything. I finally had a roadmap on how college is possible.
What were some key insights you gained during your courses, and what is your biggest takeaway?
The resources that WSP provided were extremely helpful. In fact, I have used most of them by now. The ability to learn about college and the experience after the Marine Corps put a lot of my worries to rest. The support that WSP has shown was enough to make me feel like I could excel at any university. I also could not have asked for a better group of individuals. The staff and peers were both extremely supportive and had knowledge that allowed me to gain a jump start on the transitioning process while I am still on active duty. I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience.
The most important thing I learned that would assist me in pursuing my degree is that your feelings are normal, and you have people all around you to lean on. This single feeling changed and gave me confidence. I struggled through the first week, but the friends I met there supported me and created a connection that made me feel at home. The confidence to put both feet into college has been something I have struggled with for too long. The real-life stories and mentorship everyone gave me opened my eye to countless possibilities.
In one word, how would you describe your overall experience?