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Marine Corps Math- My Story

Once upon a time I was a young 18 year old US Marine.  That was 28 years ago! Wow I’m getting old.  Anyways after surviving boot camp which was indeed as hard as they say it is I became an United States Marine.  Becoming a marine has been one of the top achievements in my life.  If you know anyone in the Marine Corps (young or old) they will tell you the same thing.  You see when you accomplish a most difficult goal you become more powerful – stronger to take on even greater challenges.  The one thing the Marine Corps taught me deeply was never, never, never quit.  The Marine Corps motto is “Semper Fidelis” and it’s Latin for “Always Faithful” and it’s a philosophy I live by.

After surviving 4 years in the Marine Corps I went to college and found myself as a Math major at the University of San Diego.  My first two years I took a lot of calculus courses and differential equations. These courses were challenging but nothing that I could not handle.  However as I progressed into my junior and senior years I was taking much more demanding and complex courses like Abstract Algebra and Non-Euclidian Geometry.  These courses challenged even the best and brightest students to the max.

I saw the smartest students actually cry in class because they just could not understand some of the complex proofs no matter how hard they tried.   All of my professors were PhDs  from the top universities in the world to include Cal. Tech and Oxford so I knew I was lucky to have the greatest math teachers on the planet.  Moreover my teachers were excellent at developing our self-confidence in the sense that they made us feel like we were doing things (or at least tying) that not too many other students could handle – we were apart of an elite club just like the Marine Corps.

Anyways when times got really tough in my advance math classes I needed to dig deep for strength.  I saw so many students quit and drop the major and these students were excellent so I found myself questioning if I could finish the program.  It was during these times I told myself  “that if I could survive the Marine Corps I could survive another day in my advance math courses”.  Out of 6000 students that graduated in my class only 8 were math majors!  Earning a math degree is extremely difficult so I’m very proud to have experienced the 4 year journey.  Indeed I was a part of “the few, the proud ,The Math Corps!”  The point of my little story is you can never, never quit on yourself or your child with respect to education.  Learning can be very difficult at times and can feel like a punch in the stomach if nothing goes right.  However it’s during these most difficult times you need to say “Semper Fi”- I will never quit, I will find a way to make it.  Listen we get what we focus on so if you focus on success and not how difficult something is you will eventually win out.

PS:  After I graduated with my degree I became an US Navy Surface Warfare Officer and served aboard amphibious ships that carried Marines and Navy Seals.  I spent a lot of time away from my family to include deployments to the Persian Gulf.  So believe me I count my blessings every day and I’m so grateful to be able to teach and help as many people as I can.

I’ve included a few pictures of when I was in the USMC and the US Navy.

Semper Fi.

John

USMC Boot Camp Graduation Sep. 1987 Plt. 1069usmc-boot

USMC Force Recon (Special Ops) Friends

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USS Denver/Flight Ops Mine Danger Areas Kuwait / Iraq

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