By Jonathan Bermudez
Josselin Badilla is an East Los Angeles College student who joined the U.S. Army reserves officially on Feb. 2.
Since she was a child, she always wanted to join the army.
She was in the Junior Reserve Officer Corp in high school and Reserve Officer Corp at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
When Badilla went to UCSB, she said she felt like a minority.
She said it was the ROTC where she gained a sense of belonging.
She had to drop out of UCSB because tuition became too expensive, and being the first in her family to become a college student, she had no financial support.
She didn’t want to stop going to college so she looked into the community colleges around her and ELAC caught her eye.
She enrolled in Winter classes and joined the reserves.
She remembers approaching them and asking to join.
They told her about the opportunities that come with joining the reserves like free tuition and bonuses to incomes when she finds a job.
She signed a six-year contract with the Army Reserves.
The contract allows her to go to school and pursue a career while serving her country, which she is proud to do.
She chose to join the airborne division and is learning how to become a parachute rigger.
Badilla said, “I wanted to try something out of my comfort zone and because jumping out of planes is something I’ve never done, I felt like it would be a fun and unique experience since I am still young and would be able to do that.”
While she trains, she is attending ELAC and majoring in nursing. Her goal is to become a military nurse practitioner.
“I’ve always had a passion for medicine, and as a military nurse I get to help others while I still am able to travel around the world, doing a job I will enjoy,” Badilla said.
While getting to go to school is great for her career, Badilla wants to use the military to take care of her family.
She wants to be able to buy her mom a house and provide citizenship for her stepmom.
She is the oldest of three siblings and wants to be a role-model for them.
She doesn’t want them to not go anywhere in life.
She wants them to take all the opportunities they can. “I don’t want my siblings to settle for less,” she said.
She said her decisions have inspired her 17-year old sister to consider joining the reserves for aid in her career.
Badilla said that with everything happening in Ukraine, her sister became reluctant.
Badilla admits to being afraid to tell her mom that she joined because she doesn’t want her to worry about her getting hurt when she has to deploy.
Badilla isn’t afraid and is willing to die for her country as long as it means she protects the ones she loves.