Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Bethany and I’m a 2011 graduate of Agnes Scott College (a small, private, women’s liberal arts college) with a major in Spanish and double minor in Economics and History. I recently joined the US Navy and am now a Future Sailor in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). I ship off to boot camp in August after which I’ll be entering the Nuclear Program to learn how to operate and maintain the nuclear engines onboard aircraft carriers and submarines. You’re probably thinking to yourself right about now, “Wait…I don’t really see how these things add up. How does a women’s college graduate with a language degree somehow turn into a nuclear engineer in the Navy?” Well, that’s a legitimate question and even I couldn’t give you a short answer. However, I will try my best to summarize it in this post. And yes, I just copied and pasted the blurb from my “About this Future Sailor” page. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel, right?
I guess the decision to join the Navy had its beginning when I chose to major in Spanish simply to become fluent, but didn’t stop to think what I would do with said degree after graduating. The problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do to start with and I didn’t try out a broad enough variety of classes before choosing a major. For the record, I don’t regret majoring in Spanish or taking any of my classes in college; the choices I made over the last four years helped shape my worldview and I thoroughly enjoyed almost every single minute I spent in college. After choosing a major without much thought about its future, I chose a career in the hotel industry to fit around my Spanish major. This wasn’t a bad idea either, but after choosing an industry I didn’t attempt to gain first hand experience in a hotel until a month or two before graduation; meaning I had no idea whether or not I would actually enjoy that career path.
None of these decisions were necessarily bad choices by themselves, but put together I think they all amounted to a naive view of what life post graduation would be like. The reality of the situation really set in pretty quickly after 5-6 months of applying to 60+ hotels, several interviews, and just as many rejections. I started to examine my choices in college and realized that I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. My parents have always told my sister and me that the time for making mistakes and drastic life decisions is when you’re young, so I wasn’t too beat up about my jobless situation; but I knew I needed to find something else to do.
I don’t remember when I started actively researching the Navy, but one day in late September/early October I found myself seriously looking into my options if I did choose to enlist. I talked to a recruiter and took a pre-test for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and scored 95 out of 99 (high enough that if I made the equivalent on the actual ASVAB I would automatically qualify for the Nuclear Program and a significant signing bonus). My recruiter told me that it’s pretty much like an MIT level education and you’re set if you decide to reenlist after your contract is up or go into the civilian nuclear industry. At that point, I was pretty much hooked :) Job stability was very high on my list of job requirements, and the money and travel didn’t hurt either. So, to make a long story short, come November I scored 99 on the real ASVAB (auto qualifying me for Nuc) and signed up for a 6 year contract (2 in school, 4 shipped off wherever they send me) with the Navy in the Nuclear Program.
Now that you have a better understanding of how I joined the Navy, I hope you’ll follow me as I endeavour to get fit for boot camp and prepare for a life in the military. My next post will highlight my fitness attempts thus far and unveil my major goals for the next few months. Stay tuned!