After graduating high school in May 2008, Obadiah Goodrich had little idea of what his next step in life would be. As a nineteen-year-old, he was disoriented and lacked the passion needed to become successful in life. What did give him that needed push to find passion and success was a talk with a military recruiter, where Goodrich subsequently found himself learning the skillsets for mental, moral and physical success over a period of five years with the Marine Corps.
Goodrich, now a veteran at the University, is currently studying electrical engineering. From his time with the Corps, he gained considerable insight on the world and obtained life experiences that only a handful of students at the University can share and empathize with.
“Being on campus now, you have that advantage [as a veteran,] because you’ve already gotten to figure yourself out,” said Goodrich.
Goodrich suggests that “sense of self,” is what most college students are lacking and after five years as an enlisted Marine, it did not take long to uncover his true passion inside, nor what defines him.
Goodrich recalls, when living in the barracks, one big, long space, with racks for beds, and nothing but a trunk for your belongings becomes the least of your worries. There’s too much happening around you, so many things to worry about, to focus on the insufficient things like that.
Goodrich mentions a scenario in which, just when he thought he’d given it all up, they found a way to take everything away from him. In fact, it wasn’t that painful.
“You realize in that moment that if someone takes away – absolutely everything you have physically – the things we see as defining us, you have to look deep inside and say, ‘Who am I as a person?’” said Goodrich.
Sense of self and passion was what Goodrich was lacking after high school, but is what he discovered during his time in the service. Prior to enlistment and after graduating high school, he went to community college near his hometown of Syracuse, New York, with little ambition. He had no passion to apply himself to the courses he selected, but he thought at the time, throwing himself into something was better than nothing.
Around that same time before joining the service, Goodrich began to work in a News station as a teleprompter operator, but soon found the inability to maneuver and grown in the company. Most importantly, he remembers that there was no passion.
But one day in the fall, he found himself at a high school football game. Unknowing that this day would change his life forever, a Military recruiter saw Goodrich doing pull-ups on the side of the field. Two weeks later Goodrich received a telephone call from the Military.
“What did I have to lose?” Goodrich asked.
At 21 years old, Goodrich knew he was missing something in his life and found this chance to be a great opportunity in the slump pickings of what he was chasing at the time. After signing his contract for aviation electronics maintenance he spent six months in the delayed-entry program, the military’s preliminary pipeline before basic training, which is where he would become the Marine he is today.
But there was a point in his service where he discovered his drive and sense of self and after the moment when the Marine Corp took everything away from him, Goodrich said, It’s a good moment… When you have nothing else to hide behind, nothing else to be, who do you want to be known as?”
After spending seven months in aviation radar maintenance school, an area he had found a liking for, he was sent out to Twentynine Palms - Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, where he began combat training. Following his training, he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, to test upgrades for Radar.
With his passion and drive that the Marine Corps gave him, Goodrich wanted to do more. He signed up for the Marine Corps Security program in West Africa. The specifics of the training are classified, but focused on security and being an effective unit. This entailed studying history of the region; combat first aid, physical conditioning and team building.
It was during this time, he grasped his true sense of self and his overall capabilities. He found prior, boot camp effectively set the ball in motion for this self-revelation. Drill instructors enforced strict discipline to the highest extent, he stated. But it wasn’t unit the midst of his journey, he found that every drill, every behavioral and physical task achieved inflicted a huge impact deep in his core; the necessary push that is allowing him to succeed today.