Read Randy’s winning essay below.
1st – Life is tough, 2nd – You can do it. Anything.
The two most important things that I learned while I was in the Marine Corps were that life is tough and you can get through any tough times.
As a three-operation combat veteran of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and a combat tour in Africa, I have faced adversity in some very inhospitable, and often very sandy, environments. During four combat deployments I was tested physically, mentally, and spiritually. Every time that these tests came up, I was always able to realize that the events were just that, tests. Much like the tests we all grew up taking throughout our youth in school, but extremely more valuable, these tests were just a way of measuring how fit we are in all three aspects of our lives to handle difficulty. We can study, train, and practice and none of it matters if we cannot perform on test day. Tests are tough, passing the bar is tough, life is tough.
Who cares if life is tough? Persevere, practice, train harder, study more – get through it. We can do it. Anything. The second lesson that I learned which is sometimes more important than the first, is that no matter the situation, no matter the strife or trouble, we can do anything. We are so much more capable than what our minds allow us to believe that the person usually surprised the most at our accomplishments is ourselves. War or packing a lunch can be as difficult as we want to make it out to be, but anything standing in our way of continuing on can be overcome.
My pursuit of a future in the building trades is made fully understanding that life is tough, and that we can do anything. It’s cold in the winter when trying to raise a new tower in a downtown jungle and the summers in August can be brutally hot and humid. That’s okay, life is tough and we can get through anything. This scholarship, if I were to be so blessed, would aid my academic pursuit to attain a degree in Construction Management. I have always been thrilled and building things and seeing them come together with my team, it drives me.
From the Al Anbar province of Iraq, to the Helmand River of Afghanistan and the eastern African desert in Somalia, I have been blessed to be a part of teams that accomplished so much more than we ever thought possible building fighting positions, combat outposts, forward operating bases, and sometimes entire camps in the most hostile environments on the planet. The next chapter of my life is destined to look much the same way, tough, and full of accomplishing things that people doubt are possible. But that’s okay. Life is tough, and I can do anything.