Sep 21, 2012, 10:44 PM EST
What did you do this summer? This all-too-common question is thrown around countless times on college campuses during the first few weeks of classes. It typically elicits the traditional responses about summer jobs, internships, and vacations.
Adam LaPlaca arrived on campus this fall with a bit more unique tale to tell. LaPlaca, a backup goalie on the men’s soccer team, spent six weeks in Quantico, a United States Marine Corps base in Virginia.
LaPlaca’s interest in the Marines was piqued at the career fair here at Notre Dame last year. There he met his future Officer Selection Officer, who told him of the program.
“I was intrigued because I had always had envisioned going into federal law enforcement after college,” LaPlaca said. “I saw this as a good stepping stone into that.”
At the prompting of the officer, LaPlaca signed up for the aviation program. Before he knew it, he found himself in Quantico, where the going was certainly not always easy.
“Wakeup calls were at four in the morning, and after that it was just nonstop for sixteen straight hours,” LaPlaca said.
Physical training, classes, tactical training sessions, and three chow sessions a day were the staples of LaPlaca’s time at Quantico.
“Getting used to the lifestyle was the hardest part,” LaPlaca said. “I don’t come from a military background, so it’s not something I was experienced with going in.”
LaPlaca began the six weeks with 245 classmates. That number eventually dwindled down to 210 by the program’s end. Despite the rigorous schedule, LaPlaca emphasized that it was an excellent learning experience.
“The classes were great, especially learning about the history behind the Marine Corps,” LaPlaca said. “I also received awesome leadership training.”
Though his time at Quantico was certainly fruitful, LaPlaca recently made the decision not to continue with the program.
“Spending ten years in the Marine Corps after college just isn’t the career path I want to go on,” LaPlaca said. “It’s a tough lifestyle, especially when it comes to family life.”
Nevertheless, he stressed that he had absolutely no regrets about participating in the program.
“It definitely taught me a lot,” LaPlaca said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
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