Dear Queen Camille,
I'm turning18 in two months and I really want to join the Marines, but to be honest, I'm a little scared. Even though both of my parents are supportive, I'm still intimidated by the thought of Basic Training. What do you think I should do? On the fence in San Diego.
Dear Reluctant Recruit,
I've gotta start by congratulating you on being aware of and then admitting to your fear! Especially if you are also brave enough and value being of service to others enough to consider becoming a U.S. Marine (or joining ANY branch of the military)!
Let's break this down...F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real) is nothing more than being hesitant because you don't know what's ahead. When we are kids, we just step into things...no matter what, because we don't know about the potential consequences. (Lookie at me...you grab a hot log off the fire and you learn pretty quickly not to do that again.)
Joining the military and signing up to put your life on the line and be part of something bigger than yourself - all to protect others... SHOULD be scary. If you didn't feel that, I'd think you probably weren't mature enough and weren't taking the decision seriously enough.
About Basic Training...obviously I have nevah been close to anything like it in my multitude of jobs...but it is meant to help you suceed. It is meant to break old bad habits, get you in shape and think like a team...to have everyone else's back. Of course it is extremely challenging both mentally and physically...but what worth doing isn't?
Let's look at the worst case scenario...you absolutely hate being a Marine...and regret you signed up. You do your tour and come out.....smarter, with lifelong values, experiences, comrads and accomplishments! You also earn lots of thanks from your fellow Americans in the form of tuition breaks, discounted home loan programs, extra "points" when applying for government jobs, etc.
Oh, and having experience in the military is a great introduction to the "real world" of work if you decide not to stay in long term. I swear I can pick 'em outta any group...women and men who have served our country. They seem to stand a bit taller, listen more respectfully and problem solve more logically. Don't even get me started on their teamwork skills.
Oh and if you are a Marine, you get to say that cool "hoo-rah" thing the rest of your life too!