Kayla Kieleszewski ‘18: After high school, students are faced with the difficult decision of, “what’s next?” For most, that’s a college or university, however, Kristina Tarr ‘17 is not most.

During her junior year, Tarr decided to take a rather patriotic route. Tarr made the choice to serve in the United States Marines Corps. Over the past few months, Tarr began the days of intense, consistent training.

Tarr’s training took place in Parris Island, South Carolina. Over a period of three months, Tarr learned a lot about the physical and mental capacity of her body.

“It was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I have ever done,” Tarr said.

Part of Tarr’s training consisted of three miles hikes with 60 pounds of equipment on, eventually those three mile hikes turned into 9.5 mile hikes. Tarr enjoyed these hikes the most out of all the skills she had to acquire.

Tarr also had a least favorite part of this experience: the combat endurance course. This challenge was the most physically demanding for the young recruit. In the course, one is required to sprint for at least a quarter mile with gear, then go through with combat events such as low crawling through mud, maneuvering through barbed wire, and rope swings over trenches.

So, the next questions is, what’s after this?

Tarr must complete combat training in North Carolina for one month. There she will undergo even more endurance like courses. She’ll also learn to master handling big guns and grenades, plus enduring longer, more advanced hikes. After she completes this training, Tarr will be moved to Texas where she will specialize in Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

Once going through such a complicated, life changing experience, Tarr feels as if she has matured and grown up a lot since her departure in late July.

The best advice Tarr can give is: “If you’re looking for a challenge or to do more than the average graduate, this might be something worth looking into.”

This experience for Tarr was an eye opener for her future and she couldn’t be more proud and satisfied with the choice she has made thus far in life.

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