Whether it’s enduring a night full of homework or a day of drills, senior Sienna Montgomery keeps her spirits high as she juggles life as a student and a member of the Marine Corps.
Montgomery is a biology science pre-medical major at Missouri Western who is currently enrolled in 19 credit hours. She just so happens to be a corporal in the Marines. The military student graduated from Mid-Buchanan High School in 2015. Shortly after that, her academic future was unclear as Montgomery was contemplating joining the military.
“I joined (the Marine Corps) because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to school yet or not,” Montgomery said. “I could also get scholarships and stuff like that through the military. I went to boot camp about four or five months after I graduated from high school. I then went to MCT, which is Marine Combat Training. Then I came back here (St. Joseph) in July of 2016.”
After coming back home, Montgomery made the decision to enroll at Western in the fall of 2016. Once she got to school and started managing being both a student and a soldier, life became hectic for Montgomery. Despite this, it hasn’t deterred her spirit.
“It’s very hectic,” Montgomery said. “It took me awhile to get it down considering it’s a different way of life, and especially adjusting to being in the military and then all the sudden being a student. Here (Western) you can show up if you want. If you don’t, it’s on you, whatever. In the military, you will be there. They’ll make sure you’ll be there.”
Fellow Marine and friend of Montgomery, Connor McDermott, checks up on his friend’s Marine career on a consistent basis for the last four years. McDermott thinks very highly of his friend and sees nothing but the best of her.
“I would say she’s a super smart yet super goofy girl,” McDermott said. “She volunteers a bunch and has a strong caring mentality, always being there for people and be as uplifting as she can be., as well as being motivated to do the best she can in anything she does.”
As time has caused Montgomery to grow as a person, so has her duties for the Marines.
“It’s definitely interesting, and it’s getting harder now because I’ve gotten more leadership roles in my unit, so I’m having to be in contact with people every single day,” Montgomery said. “We always seem to have training the week of finals, so it’s always very inconvenient. You just have to make it work. It definitely has taken me three years to get it to work now that I’m done, but you eventually get it done.”
McDermott knows just as well how difficult it can be to both a student and a Marine.
“It’s hard to explain, but it’s similar to having two careers,” McDermott said. “You need to focus in school and chase your degree and do well in classes and have a job to support yourself through college. Then you have the military life which has its own classes that only become more and more challenging as you promote through the ranks.”
Montgomery has missed labs and assignments because of her military position, but her professors have been understanding.
“A lot of them are really cool about it,” Montgomery said. “They just excuse me from it without me having to come back and make it up. They’re by law required to anyways.”
While Montgomery handles many responsibilities all at once, she doesn’t let it get her down.
“I love it,” Montgomery said. “I took college classes before I joined (the Marines), and it was very hard for me. Afterwards, it was pretty easy because they teach you to deal with this kind of life. It makes you grow up alot too.”