By the time a majority of people reach their last year of high school, they have already thought about some idea of what they would like to do in the future. Many 18 year-olds are studying for the SAT exam and applying to different college and university programs. Some students know exactly what they want to be, what school they want to join, and even what sorority or fraternity they will rush. Everyone has one of those friends who knew they wanted to be a lawyer or doctor when they were just a kid. And we also have friends who never knew what they wanted to do and went to college, seemingly just to party and have a good time. However, some people had some idea of what they wanted for their futures but they were not quite ready to study something for four years right out of high school.
It is understandable why an 18 year-old would not know exactly what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. Very often, teenagers decide to take a year off from school before they run off and start a program that they are not sure about. It gives them time to get to know themselves better and gain some experience before they go off to school or get a job. Although going to university right after high school is the socially accepted thing to do, it is not always the best choice for certain people who still need to discover what they like and what they are good at.
One young high school graduate from Minnesota decided to do just that and take time off from school before she decided what she wanted to do. However, what she chose to do in her time off was surprising to many people around her. Shannon, a beautiful and bright young woman, did something that most girls have never done and enlisted in the Marines.
Many critics, including the recruiter, believed that Shannon was not cut out for the Marines based on her looks and physical stature. However, Shannon was determined and set out to prove everyone wrong. Although the training was tough and grueling, she managed to survive and graduate from boot camp along with her male counterparts.
Shannon remained in the Marines for several years until she decided to move on and chose a career path that was much more glamorous than the life of a soldier. Shannon’s current job is the complete opposite of her experience in the Marines, however, she still uses the values and discipline that she gained during her experience in the military.
Choosing another path
Although Shannon ultimately ended up in the military, it was not her original dream. Like most other American teenagers, Shannon went to college after graduating high school, but she only studied for a couple years before choosing a different path for her life. Shannon was unhappy with her life on campus and felt like she was not learning anything from her classes. She was in search of something bigger and decided to seek out an alternative to getting a degree.
Shannon was brought up in the small town of Walker, Minnesota. She grew up in the country and spent a lot of time fishing and boating as a young girl. She also loved to hunt and go horseback riding. Shannon loved doing physical activities and she prided herself in being independent. She was not the classic girl girl and while she enjoyed her country lifestyle, she wanted to do something more with her life.
When Shannon graduated high school, she enrolled in a local college and signed up to study marketing. Although the tuition costs were lower than they would have been at an Ivy League school, she was still struggling to keep up with the costs of school and she even had to work two jobs in order to pay her way through the program. Shannon was working overtime and trying to keep up with her studies when she decided that enough was enough and she wanted a change.
An Army advertisement
Shannon had two options. Either, she could drop out of college and get a full-time job, or continue to work two part-time jobs and finish her degree. Neither option was perfect but Shannon was beginning to feel the financial pressure. One day, Shannon ran into an advertisement to join the army and her thought process about what she wanted to do changed completely. Although Shannon had never thought of enlisting before, she was now intrigued and decided to further investigate.
After seeing the advertisement, Shannon began getting excited about her future and a possible career in the army. She started researching different options and even spoke to a recruiter in the Marines. However, he informed her that it was unlikely that she would be able to make through the training program. Shannon was a good looking blonde girl and the recruiter did not believe she would have the strength or stamina to make it. But Shannon was up for the challenge and she enlisted anyway.
The training process
Shannon made the journey from her hometown to South Carolina and began the Marine training boot-camp. Shannon knew that the training would be anything but easy, however, she knew that it would be worth the challenge and she was ready to work hard. Even though most people around her did not believe that she would complete the training, Shannon did not let them bother her and she set out to prove everyone wrong.
Shannon was recently interviewed and she recalled how the criticism affected her. She said, “A lot of the Marines initially thought that I might not be able to keep up physically” Shannon knew she was as strong as the other Marines and she said, “I made it my mission to prove them wrong.” She went onto explain that despite the negative attitude toward her, she pushed through by picturing herself as the woman she looked up to, Mulan. If you haven’t seen the famous Disney movie, Mulan was a warrior who disguised herself as a man in order to fight.
Though as the men
Although Shannon may not have been as physically strong as the male soldiers, she did have a tough attitude that gave her a big advantage. Throughout the whole training period, she maintained a positive outlook and overcame many obstacles. Shannon said, “I came in guns blazing in order to show that I wasn’t someone that could be pushed around.” Shannon explained that this was a necessary attitude to have in order to succeed She went onto say that some of the other soldiers would break down although they appeared to be tough.
First role in the Marines
After Shannon finished the difficult boot-camp, she was assigned to South Carolina as an specialist in administration. Shannon felt that this was a great job for her as she was doing something that challenged her and still representing the Marines. Although it was an office job, Shannon was optimistic about the role and she felt that it would lead her to even better opportunities. She believed that any job in the Marines was worth doing.
Leaving South Carolina
Shannon spent two years at the office job in the state of South Carolina before getting transferred to another job in Illinois. She was upset that she had to leave her coworkers at the job she loved, however, she was excited for her new role and to return to the Midwest. Shannon was finally closer to her family and she was able to visit them more frequently. Although she was going to miss her first job, she felt a weight lift off her shoulders now that she was moving closer to her family.
Shannon was not just excited about moving closer to home, she was also looking forward to her new job that was a step up from her last one. Instead of people and administrative specialist, Shannon was now an instructor and inspector. This new role gave her the ability to be a leader and she was very successful in her new position. The soldiers in her squad had a lot of respect for her and she was eventually promoted to the title of sergeant.
In addition to gaining leadership skills and a sense of meaning in the military, Shannon also made friends to last a lifetime. Over her experience in the Marines, Shannon made close friends that became her brothers and sisters away from home. She had a bond with them unlike anything she shared with her friends and family back home. They had the shared experience of having to go through the challenging training process and the pride of serving their country.
Reflecting on her time
Shannon had a meaningful time in the army and she reflected on her experience in an interview. She finally found her place through serving in the Marines. She explained, that she loved being a part of the Marines because it meant that she was a part of something larger than herself Shannon believes that the lessons she learned in the Marines will continue to be relevant to her in every aspect of her life.
In the last couple months of Shannon’s service, she decided to enter a Maxim Magazine contest for fun. However, to her surprise, she discovered that she was a finalist in the competition. Shannon did not win in the end, however, she did make it pretty far. She didn’t enter in vain because it made her realize that she did not want to pursue a career in modeling. She knew that she needed to pick a future career plan after the Marines.
Back to college
After being discharged from the Army, Shannon decided that it was time for her to finish her degree. However, instead of going back to her local college, she chose to sign up for Elmhurst College, which is in Chicago. She continued studying marketing and added a science minor. While in school, Shannon decided to enter another competition, this time at a radio station. Shannon won the contest and became the “”Loop Rock Girl”” at the station.
The face of radio
The “Loop Rock Girl” was a position that typically rotated every year at the station. However, the employees at the Chicago radio station were so impressed by Shannon’s work that they kept her on as “Loop Rock Girl” in a permanent position. This was a great opportunity for Shannon as she got a great salary and it opened to door to more modeling jobs. Although Shannon did not plan on becoming a model, she was now more intrigued by the idea of it. She even posed for the Chicago radio station’s calendar.
Marine to wrestler
Although Shannon was used to fitting in with guys and being more inclined to outdoor activities, she was now enjoying her time living a more glamorous lifestyle and modeling in photoshoots. She enjoyed her time at the station and she began to get more job offers. She eventually took an offer to become an ring girl in the MMA. It was a great job for her as it combined her physical abilities and her beauty.
Is that Shannon?
Before long, Shannon was getting calls to model for magazines and calendars. When Shannon’s old Marine friends found out what she was doing, they were understandably surprised. They were accustomed to the tough Shannon who gave orders to soldiers and they had never seen her this way before. Shannon said that some of her old Marine friends even asked her for autographs on her magazines and calendars. She admitted that although it is odd, it shows that they are supportive of her.
Although her friends and former colleagues were impressed with Shannon, not all of Shannon’s friends and family were excited about her new career. Shannon’s religious parents were less than thrilled by the idea of their daughter posing in revealing outfits. She explained, “My family is a very Christian and conservative family” She continued, “When I started modeling, my mom said, ‘I don’t know about that.’” Her mother preferred her to stay in Marines instead of pursuing a modeling career. Although her family was not supportive, she continued on with her passion.
Military to model
In her interview, Shannon went on to say, “Had I not had other dreams I still wanted to accomplish in my life I would have re-enlisted without hesitation.” She went onto say that although she isn’t an active Marine anymore, “I will always bleed green.” Although she has moved on to a new career, Shannon will never forget the experiences she had in the Marines and the people she shared them with. Her roots in the military made her into the woman she is.
One thing that Shannon learned from her time in the Army was how to maintain a strict exercise regiment. In order to keep herself in shape, Shannon spends a lot of time working out in the gym. She works out four days a week and when she isn’t exercising, she is eating healthy food. In addition to going to the gym, Shannon also still does her favorite activities including horseback riding as well as hiking.
Shannon is only human, however, and she does enjoy an unhealthy snack now and then. She admitted that she doesn’t always eat healthy and some of her favorite foods include bananas foster and prime rib. Shannon also loves to eat at McDonald’s! She is also a great cook and her specialties are, “biscuits and gravy, BBQ pulled chicken, caramel brownies and stuffed mushrooms.” On top of being beautiful and smart, she can cook too!
The military taught Shannon a lot of great values including how to give back to those in need. When she isn’t cooking or modeling, Shannon is volunteering and she even created her own organization that she named ‘Committed to Courage’. The charity’s goal is to, “[give] back to veterans who have served and for those who are currently serving.” The mission of her charity is to help soldiers transition into civilian life. Shannon is the perfect candidate to help as she has made a smooth transition into her new career.
Although Shannon eventually found her way into modeling, her transition from military life was not without its struggles. She explained that the hardest part of the experience was having financial struggles. A soldier can get used to the military making all of their decisions for them so when they are released, they are not sure out to handle their expenses. The Army gives soldiers food and housing and the only things Shannon had to worry about were her cell phone bills and car payments.
Even though Shannon moved on from the Marines, she still believes that it is a noble job and encourages other Americans to enlist. Shannon explained that contrary to popular opinion, people do not join the Marines for political reasons but rather they often feel the need to protect their country and their family. She said, “We fight for our families, our friends, and most of all-for our brothers and sisters to the left and right of us in uniform.”
Earning her degree
Although Shannon was embarking on a successful modeling career, she decided to complete her education. Shannon admitted that she learned to become dedicated in the Marines, which was how she was able to balance her studies with her modeling work. In the end, Shannon was able to get her degree at Elmhurst College while growing her modeling career. Talk about a triple threat! So where is Shannon today and did she put her degree to use?
Her Army family
Shannon is now living the model life including all of the glitz and glamor, however, she has not forgotten about her Marine past and she often reminisces about her military experiences. She said of the Marines, “You gain a new family when you become a Marine. You live together, eat together, workout together, hang out in your spare time together, fight with each other. She went onto say that even if you do not like your fellow Marines, you would still do anything for them.
Back to Maxim
Remember that Maxim modeling contest that Shannon did not win? Well, she got another opportunity to appear in the magazine after she became a well-known model. After Shannon entered the contest, she got noticed by modeling agencies and began getting offered various modeling jobs. Later on in her career, she was able to walk the runway in fashion shows and she even appeared in many patriotic photoshoots. Shannon could never have imagined she would become a model while she was a Marine.
Combining her passions
Shannon lived in Chicago for a while but the big city life was far too different from her small town upbringing. Shannon decided to move back to Minnesota and return to her childhood roots. However, she continued her to pursue her career in modeling and traveled in order to appear in shows and do photoshoots. In addition, Shannon got a job doing something she is passionate about. She became a horse training and she can be seen posing with horses posted on her highly followed Instagram page.
Shannon is a successful model today and she gives advice to other young girls who are struggling to figure out what they want to do. She tells them, “Don’t ever stop pushing yourself, and don’t ever stop trying to get better and become a better person overall. That’s how I got where I am today.” Shannon is always working hard and she says, “I constantly work at improving myself in every aspect. If a little girl from Walker, Minnesota can become a Marine and also successfully model, than the skies truly are the limit.”