In the Army

In Army boot camp
Things I learned in the Army:

About Me

Greetings, earthlings! (Outkast "Two Dope Boyz" reference)

My name is John Rakowski, and I’m assuming because you’re reading this you want to know something about me. What can I say, I’m flattered.

Well, I'm currently attending my last semester at the University of Florida - fingers crossed - as a fourth-year journalism student. I'm 27 years old, which might beg the question of what I was doing in my late teens/early twenties. Long story short, I served in the US Army for about three years as a mechanic. Most of my time spent in the service was between being in a medical unit - lots of partying - in South Korea and a field artillery unit - lots of blowing stuff up - in Oklahoma. Luckily, I got out before Uncle Sam shipped me off to a war zone in the Middle East.

Speaking of the Middle East, I lived in Toronto, Canada for about six years - 10 to 16 - where I was raised in a predominantly Muslim neighborhood. The high school I attended had more than 150 countries represented, and I still have the yearbook to prove it. The reason I moved from the US – where I was born – to Canada is a little complex, but I've always appreciated the time I spent there and the diversity I was exposed to. Oh, and I was able to gain citizenship, too. Free healthcare! Not.

As you can probably tell from reading this very brief synopsis of my life, I've moved around quite a bit. It's been a gift and a curse, to be honest. I've met people, gone places, experienced things and then poof; I've found myself starting somewhere else. I never thought I'd go to college much less a school like the University of Florida, but it has given me a bit of stability; although, I still have to deal with being in a long distance relationship, which totally sucks.

I do cherish the curveballs and experiences life has given me: being homeless on a beach during Hurricane Charley in 2004, driving across country in a 1976 Chevy without a radio and nothing but thoughts in my head about an uncertain future after the Army, taking a trip to Washington, D.C. to witness President Obama's inauguration, living with more than 30 different roommates in the past five years. I’d be a fool to say those experiences and people didn’t leave a lasting impact in some form or fashion. Whether good or bad, I’m grateful for them.

With that being said, I'm not sure what the future holds for me. Who does? I think some people spend their time planning and preparing so much they miss out on a lot of experiences. Sure, you need to have an idea and goals, but sometimes it's ok to let time take you where you're supposed to go. Whatever the case may be, I hope I can make a difference in the world and get to experience different turns on the path I travel – literally and figuratively - each and every day. I'm still searching for my niche, but I don't doubt it's waiting for me to discover and embrace it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to give my professors my undivided attention – wink, wink – and work toward my goal of graduating.