Recent AF Amistad High graduate, Dariana, is taking the road less traveled. Instead of venturing off to college in the fall like most of her classmates, she will enlist in the United States Marines Corps to serve her country. Dariana is excited to embark on this new journey, which she hopes will open doors to pursue her passion – animals. Read on to learn more about Dariana’s story.
Tell me about yourself. Where are you from, and what was your favorite subject in school?
I came to the United States from Mexico at a young age and grew up in Connecticut. My favorite subject in school has always been math. Even though I sometimes struggled with math, I always tried my best and paid close attention in class. If I had trouble figuring out a problem, I would create my own way to solve them. My teachers were also great and another reason why I loved the subject so much.
What about your favorite hobbies?
Growing up during middle school, I used to play the violin. I loved it, but I have not played in a while. I think it is such a beautiful instrument. Soccer is my favorite sport and activity to do whenever I have free time. I fell in love with soccer when my dad suggested I try it out in sixth grade. It’s my therapy and my passion. To me, life and soccer are similar – you concentrate and keep running to reach that goal no matter what. Soccer has introduced me to good friends and opportunities. It’s a lot of fun.
What issues are most important to you? And why?
There are a lot of issues I care about – many of them I can relate to. Recently we have seen a lot of racism and discrimination in the world. People of color and immigrants are looked down upon. I would love to change the views of those people and show them that our skin color makes us no better or worse than one another.
What has been your proudest moment or accomplishment thus far?
One of my proudest accomplishments was graduating high school because now I’m free to choose what I want to do next with my life. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s big to me – to be independent, make my own decisions, and plan for my future.
Congratulations on graduating high school and joining the Marines! Tell us why you decided to serve in the Marines.
I would see ads online and on television and think, “Oh, that seems really interesting. I would love to do that!” I have an uncle in Mexico who is in the army, so he also inspired me. I did some research to learn more about the Marines and the benefits of joining. I also met with a recruiter who helped answer my questions. Most kids my age go straight to college, but that’s not what I want to do right now. I know the Marines will make me a stronger woman, help me become who I want to be, and pay for my schooling in the future. The Marines will be tough because it’s something I’ve never done before, but I think it will be a really great experience.
What are your plans when you are done serving in the Marines?
I want to study to become a veterinarian. I’m a big animal lover – I have pet dogs, turtles, and birds at home. I think animals are beautiful and wonderful creatures who deserve to be taken care of. I want to eventually open a clinic in the United States and in Mexico.
What advice would you give to other students who are thinking about joining the Marines or not going the traditional path to college?
Don’t be afraid to choose a path that’s not common. Believe in yourself and don’t let anyone stop you from being who you want to be and making your own decisions.