Sweat dripping down her forehead, Laura* can barely see her opponent running gun-ho at her. In an attempt to get the ball, the 6-foot, big-boned, monster glides in a downward motion towards the ground. With a flick of the foot, a small fake and a ballerina-like turn Laura misses the girl’s attempt at a slide tackle by an inch. A light touch places the ball in between the goalies legs, landing softly in the net. Cheers erupt, and Laura, swarmed by her soccer buddies, has just won the game.
Laura lived for these moments. That is why, as senior year of high school ended, Laura had a lackluster interest in joining the ranks in college. Laura decided to do something more active with her life; she decided to join the Army.
Doing Something Different
“I wanted to go and do something different,” Laura Lister said. “I liked to be active and I like to be able to move around and interact.” Those personality traits are what led Laura to be all she could be. The United States Army, according to goarmy.com, is made up of the best-trained and most dedicated soldiers in the world. These soldiers help protect America’s freedoms at home and abroad, securing America’s homeland and defending democracy worldwide.
However, protecting freedom and democracy were not the reasons Laura joined and, looking back on it now, she said she would consider and weigh her options with more seriousness.
The Real Deal
“When recruiters talk to you, they make it sound like you are going to have so much fun.” Although, Laura admits basic training wasn’t that bad, especially since she was already in decent shape and active. “At first it was fun and like a summer camp,” Laura said. “It was a lot of running and jumping on things, but with guns.”
Even though this sounds cool and like a vacation, the Army, according to Lister, is not something you can ditch if you don’t like it. A soldier in the Army uses their emotional and physical strength and combines it with a strength of purpose, according to GoArmy.com. Because of that a soldier, like Laura, has to be prepared to serve the country at all times, no matter where or when and no matter what the threat is.
“You have to be committed for the time you say you are going to,” she said. “When you are 18, committing eight years of your life is a long time.”
Girl Power to the Max
According to the Army, women serve in 93% of all Army occupations. Because more women are earning senior-level active duty and Department of Defense (DOD) positions, Laura did not feel disadvantaged as a woman in the Army. “In basic training the Army is one and you don’t want to be different,” she said. “There was no difference in training, but it definitely is a male-dominated world.”
Laura served overseas once in her military career, when she went to Egypt in 2005. “I was only in Egypt for two months so it felt like a vacation,” she said.
In 2003, Laura was stationed in Buffalo, New York for weapons training and other training for jobs. She spent six months away from her family, job and school.
In light of this, the Army had a positive influence on Lister’s life. “It has made me a more motivated person and gave me the discipline I lacked,” she said. “Again that comes with age. The things I gained from the military I also gained from getting older and more mature.”
If you are active and into sports, and school isn’t for you, the Army may be another option for you— but not the only one. “Don’t think it is your last resort,” Laura said. “Especially if you are from an urban area or you don’t have a lot of money. You should definitely weigh your options before settling on one you can’t follow through on.”
*Name has been changed