JJ Schriner straps on combat boots

Senior JJ Schriner took one step further than most students his age this summer by attending military basics for a 10-week period from the middle of June until the end of August in Fort Benning, Ga.

“I got my foot in the door and now I know what I’m dealing with,” Schriner said. “I get more time to think about what I want to do, and be a higher rank at a younger age.”

By getting prepared for his future at an earlier stage in his life than most, Schriner already is working his way into society as a well-rounded citizen.

“Training effected me because it got me less worried about the little things,” Schriner said. “I’ve learned how to go through hard times; it got mentally ready for anything.”

Basic training not only allows for an improvement in physical strength and endurance, but also an improvement in behavior and attitude for many privates, as well.

“JJ has always been a great kid, very respectful,” said football coach JC Keefer. “What I’ve noticed since he’s been back is that he now brings everyone else around him up.”

At basic training, Schriner had to begin his daily workout between 3 and 4 a.m. The requirements included situps, push-ups and a mile-long run.

“The hardest things to adjust to was waking up at three in the morning and staying up all day, and being away from my family,” Schriner said.

There are many aspects to basic training – making the privates comfortable is not one of them.

“The living conditions were clean in the beginning, but then they got really dirty,” said Schriner.

Living with 52 other privates, Schriner had to learn how to adjust to much different conditions than he was used to.

“Everyday was like 90 degrees and extremely humid,” said Schriner. “The lowest it ever got was probably 85 degrees and there was just sand everywhere.”

Georgia conditions are much different than those experienced in northern states such as Pennsylvania. The heat and humidity is much more extreme, which only calls for more adjustments to be made.

Schriner said that all of the physical training was relatively easy. The hardest part of the experience was having to mentally adjust to being away from his family.

Although there were some difficult times that came along with the experience, Schriner said that conditions were not as bad as he expected them to be.

“I expected them [drill sergeants] to be meaner, yell more, and actually maybe even hit us,” said Schriner. “They were actually lenient if you just did what you were told.”

Schriner said that he is glad that he went to basics a year earlier than most. He is now able to attend college directly after high school with all of his benefits from the military.

Schriner plans to attend either Lock Haven University, Bloomsburg University or Pennsylvania College of Technology following graduation.

“I’m going to change my job from morder man to psychology in college,” said Schriner. “I plan on helping veterans that come home from war with things such as post-traumatic stress.”