I grew up knowing that when I turned 18, I was enlisting in the United States Army. I knew it was my calling and never questioned it. On Jan 27th 2014, I walked into the recruiting office, I was asked to write down on a sheet of paper the 3 jobs that interested me most. I wrote “Cav Scout'' on each line, because I had known from day one that was the job I was going to pursue.
A Cavalry Scout is a military combat-arms occupation with reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering responsibilities. Their primary mission is to be sneaky and resourceful to gather information about the enemy, terrain, and other relevant factors on the battlefield and report the information rapidly and accurately to upper echelons to gain understanding of how the battlefield is shaping. We also wear funny hats and ride horses.
As you can imagine, transitioning from those adrenaline filled experiences to a more relaxed civilian life is extremely difficult. My goal when I got out was to find a purpose, so I attended a program in Wilderness Leadership & Experiential Education that was designed to give you the skills necessary to lead outdoor excursions in the backcountry while facilitating activities that mirror therapy and provide a new outlook. In this block of my life I had amazing experiences, met a ton of amazing people, and most importantly I picked up a camera to document all the cool places I found myself in.
This one choice, led me on a wild ride. I quickly became obsessed with photography and naturally I started to use Adobe Photoshop. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was starting to google how to code in order to make custom Photoshop actions.
I started to realize how much fun it was to play with code and it scratched my brain in just the right way. So I attended a coding bootcamp in 2018, after graduating, I worked tirelessly to get a job in this new career field. The rest is history, I found something that I truly enjoyed and could invest my time and energy into. It gave me a purpose again and has fulfilled me in ways that are ineffable. And now I spend my days troubleshooting TS errors.
To my fellow veterans transitioning into civilian life, I offer this advice: take it one day at a time, try various paths, build a network, and stay focused on your long-term goals. You may not rediscover your calling right away, and that's completely normal. But rest assured, it's out there, you just have to search for it. And most importantly, a heartfelt thank you to all veterans for their service. #IfYouAintCav ⚔️🇺🇸