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Military Life is Inherently Unique: Why Don’t we Always Notice It?



When picking a subject for my college essay, I chose the Common App prompt, “Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story”.


Of course I chose to talk about being a military kid. I had a few ideas as to what I could write about: what it’s like living overseas, my experiences moving, etc. but I always skipped over what I thought was the most generic of the bunch; an essay about the pros and cons of military life. I thought that this would be an unoriginal essay, a glorified list; something that everyone else in my class would write about. After a week of lamenting over my decisions (and procrastinating), I was reminded that there are only 2 million military kids who are American citizens. That is less than 1% of the population of the USA. Therefore, there is absolutely no way that my essay can be seen as generic as it is about a life that less than 1% of the American population experiences.


So why was I so hesitant to write about something that only a few people experience? Looking back, it’s because I have become so desensitized to unique experiences that I can no longer appreciate them for what they truly are. I mean, I have lived in South Korea for the past 4 years. If I said that to any civilian, the part they find fascinating is living in South Korea. However, when I say this to a fellow military kid, the part they get stuck on is living somewhere for 4 years. This different perspective shows just how unique the life of a military kid actually is. Experiencing new cultures, moving to new places, and making friends in different countries is part of the job description. It is just what we do. It’s what we’ve been trained by the military to do: to create a life out of nothing and adapt to our new situations within the month.


Living as a military kid means that our normal is unique, that once in a lifetime experiences are our long weekends. While this is an amazing thought, don’t let the fact that you interact with a different environment every day take away from the fact that you live in an amazing place. Take the time to fully appreciate the sights you see and the people you meet.


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