California cadet | CraigDailyPress.com

Back to: News

California cadet

2006 Moffat County graduate earns full ROTC scholarship

While some 2006 Moffat County High School graduates may be contemplating their next step in life, Michelle Hardin has it all figured out.

Hardin first got the idea of joining the Army Reserve Officers’ Train–ing Corps when her older sister was contemplating the same decision.

“I started looking my sophomore year, when my sister was thinking about joining,” she said. “My parents were really supportive. They knew this was a good way to get through college.”

Even though her parents were supportive, Hardin said it was her great-uncle who was the biggest influence on her decision because he served in the Army as well.

Hardin said she made the decision her junior year of high school.

The summer after her junior year, Hardin was shipped to Michigan for basic training.

“It was a blast. I loved every minute of it,” Hardin said.

She said that the hardest part of basic training was waking up at 4 a.m. for nine weeks.

Of the 160 people in her basic training, only 21 were female.

Hardin said that being a girl didn’t mean any type of special treatment.

“It didn’t make it any easier,” she said. “I had to work just as hard.”

Hardin added that the only significant difference was the room arrangements.

“The girls rooms only had one set of bunks, the guys had more,” Hardin said.

When she finished basic training, Hardin was a private first class.

When Hardin returned from basic training, she still had her senior year at MCHS to complete.

She still had to decide what college to attend to continue her military training.

She said she always wanted to go to Vanguard University of Southern California, but she didn’t think she could get in because it was an expensive private school.

A friend of Hardin’s told her about an ROTC full scholarship.

“I didn’t think I would get it, but I applied anyway,” she said.

After writing five essays and filling out scholarship forms, Hardin submitted her application last October.

She waited four months and found out that she had been granted a four-year, full-ride scholarship.

Hardin will be taking 20 credits her first semester. She will take 14 credits for her major at Vanguard and six credits of military science classes at California State University at Fullerton, which is 20 minutes from Vanguard.

While she is in college, Hardin will be considered a cadet. When she graduates, she will be commissioned as a second lieutenant.

Hardin said when she graduates from college, she has the choice of going reserve or active.

“I will probably go active,” she said. “I would like to be a military interpreter. I’d like to learn every language they’ll teach me.”

She said she realizes that the job has a possibility of stationing her outside America.

“It would be cool to work anywhere,” Hardin said. “Hawaii would be nice, but I would be happy in Iraq or Germany, or even Korea.”

Dominic Graziano can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or dgraziano@craigdailypress.com.