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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Military offers an alternative path for students’ career

When most Saratoga students graduate, they enter yet another grueling cycle of coursework in college before finally achieving a job at some graduate school.

However, junior Rio Harada is pursuing a different path; upon high school graduation, he plans to join the Marines.

Harada was inspired by his older cousin to join the Marines.

“In 2004, during the Iraq War, my cousin signed up for the USMC (United States Marine Corps), earning great respect from friends and family alike,” Harada said. “I was 8 years old and I had great respect for him, and decided that when I was older I would serve my country as well.”

In an effort to prepare himself for the sheer physicality of the Marines, Harada spent hours in the weight room over the summer.

“I’ve always been a physical guy, especially when I got [stronger]. I took up boxing over the summer,” Harada said. “I’m working out, lifting a lot of weights, and running [to prepare].”

The Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT) is a grueling test to assess candidates’ physical strength and endurance to ensure that they are ready for the Navy. The PRT consists of a 500-yard swim, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and a 1.5 mile run in succession.

Harada performed a wide variety of exercises to train, including squats, deadlifts and bench-presses, which are all effective compound lifts to build muscle.


Harada said the appeal of the Marines is not only in the physicality of the training, but in the experience it offers.

“There’s a lot of career benefits to [the Marines],” Harada said. “The military is another chance to further your education and get training in the career field. If I get … a good job that I like doing [in the military], then I might just keep the job in that field.”

After Harada saw all the career benefits and informed his parents that he wanted to join the military, his parents were split. Harada’s father supported his decision, but his mother was initially reluctant.

“My mother was hesitant at first, but upon learning the benefits of joining the military and … that not all positions actually see action, she gradually opened up to the idea [of me joining the military],” Harada said.

In addition to broadening the scope of experience, serving in the military has great financial benefits.

“There’s the GI bill, and other various bills that helps you pay for your education later,” Harada said. “I’m shooting for a state school, but I don’t really have a plan for which college I specifically want to go to yet.”

After graduating from college, Harada plans to use his experience from the military to pursue federal employment.

“I’m hoping to get federal employment because it’s really stable and has great retirement benefits,” Harada said.

Harada feels that the experience of serving in the military will be beneficial to his future career.

“The experience of going to new places and meeting new people [will be] well worth it,” Harada said.

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