Videos: Today's Military

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Acacia Bobotas:

I chose to join the Army because it felt like a great starting point to start the rest of my life, and it helps pay for school, and it would just benefit me so much in the future.

 

A lot of my friends just thought it was the right thing for me.  They thought that I’d be very disciplined when I come home.

 

You feel very powerful.  You feel very intimidating when you have your weapon because you just know that, like, you’re going to get trained to shoot it.  And maybe -- I don’t know, it just -- you just feel like you’re actually important now.  (laughter)

 

Basic training has been going by very fast.  It’s -- you’re constantly busy, so you don’t really realize what all you’re doing throughout the day, and by the time you know it’s the next day, and you start all over again.  Like, I think to myself that if I just get past this one last pushup or one last mile, that, like, that’s the closer I will be to seeing my family.

 

I feel very accomplished, because you just know that you’re finally done, you’ve all -- all the hard work’s worth it in the end.

 

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Graduating basic training was the best day ever.  When my family first saw me after graduating, they told me that I was like a different person.  Like, I was just more positive and confident, and, like, happy.  I feel like when I graduated basic training, I learned to appreciate the little things, because I just took some stuff for granted that I didn’t even realize.  I can grasp how it’s like to be away from your family and sacrifice and just completely change your way of life just to put something bigger ahead of you.

 

I’m not the same person I was, like, a year ago, but I don’t think I changed the fact where I’m, like, totally -- like, I’m still me.

 

Jennifer Dudek:

I was just so happy that she was doing something different.  She was actually out experiencing life.

 

F:

I didn’t believe her when she told me that she was joining the army.  I kind of laughed it off.  I didn’t think she was going to go through with it.

 

Dan Williamson:

I don’t think a lot of people actually knew that she did it, so it’s definitely going to start some conversations, I would say.  The only other uniform they’ve seen her in is a cheerleading outfit, so just a little bit of a change there.

 

Acacia Bobotas:

I’ve never done anything like that before.  There was really no reason to say no.  The only reason was that I was scared, but, I mean, you can be scared over anything.  I mean, you could get over that.

 

Dan Williamson:

Most of her classmates are going to leave college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt.  When she was making the decision, I told her that by joining the Army, that’s going to take care of at least some of that, if not all of it.

 

Jennifer Dudek:
With her going to college and having the extra help with the tuition, it helps out greatly.  And plus, then she also has the option of going full-time as well.  So she could travel the world and still have her college degree.

 

Acacia Bobotas:

When I came back from basic, I felt really strong.  Like, I could just bust out pushups.  Like, I would always, like, outdo all my friends with running and pushup and sit-ups.  Like, they were, like, so surprised, like, how in shape I was.

 

F:

I don’t know if she even noticed it, but the first time I saw her and she hugged me, it was just, like, muscle against my neck.  And I was like, j-- that’s -- that’s what happened in that amount of time?

 

Dan Williamson:

I did see a more confident, more mature Acacia when I saw her after basic.

 

Acacia Bobotas:

OK, this one’s from my gram, and she said “I’m so incredibly proud of you of what you’ve already accomplished.  Don’t forget that you have to go through tough times so you can experience all the good times.  I’m thinking of you always, like you’re right there with me.  I love you and think of you every night.  Love you lots, Mimi.”

 

If I didn’t get letters from my gram, I would have been lost all of basic.  Like, she was the most important person to write to me, and she wrote me every single day.

 

Dealing with all those situations at basic training, they made you, like, think really fast about how to come up with a solution, like, working like that is really good.  I was thinking that maybe after I graduate college to go active for a couple more years to, like, get money to help pay back school.

 

(to patient) Good evening, Mr. [Douglas?].  Do you know what you want for dinner this evening?

 

Jennifer Dudek:

She’s still the same person, but now she’s just a little more assertive, and she’s doing what she want to do at this point, and that’s all that matters.

 

F:

I’m so proud of her.

 

Jennifer Dudek:

I’m very proud of Acacia.  She actually, you know, pushed herself to do better, which I think is very good.  She followed through.

 

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