While some students worry about sports practice, AP classes and the Friendship Dance, senior Tori Watson has another thing on her mind: the Marines.
Watson didn’t always plan her life to go this way.
“When I was a junior, I was in the process of looking at colleges, stressing about getting in and applying for scholarships in time,” Watson said.
“Over my spring break junior year, I attended a preview day at Webster University. I explored all of the different booths they had, and one of them was for the Army ROTC. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to visit.”
At the booth, Watson heard about the benefits of the military, and she began to seriously think about joining.
“In my family, money is limited, so knowing that this can help pay for college up to 10 years is pretty amazing. I will be the first in my family to graduate and go to college.”
Though free college is enticing, joining the Marines isn’t as simple as signing up. Watson worked hard to earn her way in.
“The one thing that kept me from enlisting (at first) was my weight,” Watson said. “You have to be a certain weight for your height by the time you go up to MEPS (United States Military Entrance Processing Command). I spent weeks with continuous exercise, dieting and water fasting. I managed to drop the weight and to meet my goal.”
Even though Watson is now officially sworn in, the hard work hasn’t stopped.
“Now that I officially swore in, I am required to go to two-hour PT training sessions, two times a week and do monthly Poolee (an individual who has already signed up to become a Marine but has not yet left for the 13 weeks of recruit training at boot camp) functions,” Watson said.
Watson said, “The hardest thing about the Marines is just trying to keep my schedule flexible. I have been managing to juggle between work, school and the Marines. I have a full plate, and it’s not always easy.”
Through all of the challenges, Watson has managed to stay positive and focused.
About her experience, Watson said, “Not only am I one of the few and proud, I am a female in the Marine Corps. I am also representing the class of 2019 as the first female to enlist, showing that anything is possible.”
This is Eleanor Marshall’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has been recognized for her work by JournalismSTL, MJEAand MIPA.
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