My Experience At The Marine Corps

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“Camping fifty miles from Death Valley has its benefits,” I said into my radio as I stared straight up at what felt like my own personal light show. The sand still radiated from the blistering daytime heat of the Mojave Desert. The outpost slept with the exception of my platoon. I rested at a remote checkpoint during an otherwise vigilant patrol, silently taking in my surroundings before studying the cosmic chaos above. For what felt like a few short seconds I had lain undisturbed on the bank of a sand dune. A meteor shower is the kind of small pleasure you learn to appreciate in the Marine Corps. I let my eyes and mind wander through the infinite sky. “How did I get here? Where am I going?” These are the two questions I always ask myself. My radio crackled to life, bringing me back to the present. After pulling myself to my feet I radioed in, “En route to checkpoint Bravo.” I tightened my helmet strap and tapped the bottom of my magazine mostly out of habit before moving toward my next stop.
My name is Dan Sendik. I am not your average Marine, and, by proxy, nor am I your average student.
Those quick strokes of light in the night sky represent opportunities—blink and they’re forever gone into the abyss. Some fly by in the peripherals without fanfare, others lock on and demand time. Looking back, the Marine Corps was one of the brightest and most challenging opportunities I have had. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the experience.
I think of my time in the
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