South students choose alternative military post-grad plans

Mary Grace Reynolds, senior editor

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An 8 a.m. class may seem like a nightmare for a college student, but for Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) students, or those at military boot camp, an 8 a.m.class may sound like a dream come true. ROTC students, as well as bootcamp cadets, do not have the luxury of sleeping in, as their day usually starts at 5 a.m or earlier to train, according to goarmy.com.

Senior Josh Nacheman, who is going to the Navy ROTC program at Virginia Tech, says that this more disciplined and military-focused lifestyle has appealed to him since he was young.

“I’ve wanted a life of service for as long as I could remember,” Nacheman explained. “I decided on joining the armed forces back in elementary school. Being raised in a household where patriotism, civic duty and self sacrifice were the norm, I was supported by my parents since I was young. I fiercely believe in the ideas that make this country what it is today, and will defend all those that benefit from them for as long as I can.”

Senior Jason Leszynski, who will be in the U.S. Air Force ROTC program at Indiana University-Bloomington was prompted to join the military because three of his family members were enlisted, but prefered going through ROTC to gain the benefits of a college education.

“Both my parents served in the military and my grandpa fought in WWII [so] I like the idea of being a part of something bigger than yourself and serving a greater purpose,” Leszynski said. “I choose to join ROTC over enlisting because I wanted to get a college education before joining the military. ROTC offered financial assistance that was beneficial, and if I was planning on joining the military anyways, I figured why not.”

In contrast, Senior Aidan White, who is headed to the Marines after graduation, believes that going straight into the military would be a better use of his time given that the school environment is not compatible with his interests or skill-sets.

“I realized school wasn’t for me, it wasn’t difficult but I just don’t enjoy the environment,” White said. “I have always preferred working with my hands on cars than sitting in a classroom. I didn’t want to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars partying for four years. The Marines just spoke to me and their mechanic program was right up my alley.”

Senior Joel Pribek is enlisting in the Coast Guard after graduation and he explains that he chose this branch over other branches of service because his dad served in the Coast Guard and Pribek believes that the Coast Guard takes less of an emotional toll on their enlisted.

“My dad was in the United States Coast Guard for 20 years and he kept pushing me to go towards that because he thinks that is what is best for me and I’ve agreed with him over the years,” Pribek explained. “My dad is the main reason I chose the Coast Guard but the other reason is that the Coast Guard saves lives, doesn’t take lives, it is less stressful than other branches, and it’s a lot easier to keep yourself together.”

Nacheman says that he holds much excitement about this new part of his life and feels proud to be accomplishing his childhood goals.

“I am incredibly excited about what the future holds for me,” Nacheman elaborated. “I’ve worked and dreamed for over a decade on an incredibly specific goal, and to see the pieces fall into place as a reward for my hard work is incredibly satisfying. I can’t wait.”

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