From Enlisted to the Academy
A Midshipman's Story from the Fleet to the Classroom.
When I was 19 years old, I stood at a crossroads, facing a choice between college and military service.
As I went through A-School, I soon learned the difference between what it meant to be an enlisted Sailor and what it meant to be an officer. Over the course of almost three years, I finished A-School, was sent to my first command, and completed my first deployment. I fell in love with the military and what it had to offer, but I also felt like I wanted something more.
I had an officer at my first command, Lt. j.g. Joanna Clark, who saw that spark in me. She was a 2007 graduate from the Naval Academy and she slowly slipped the Academy into our daily interactions. It wasn't too long before I realized what she was doing. She told me about the intricate bonds she had developed with her classmates and best friends, about how she was a varsity athlete, and how she wished she could go back. Before deployment, she helped me throughout the application process and sat with me after work every day to go over SAT problems.
I was lucky to have one of the best mentors in the fleet, but I realize not everyone has that opportunity, which was one specific reason why I knew I wanted to become an officer. She inspired me with her leadership to be like her.