Paris Dooley is one of the many fresh, young faces to join the US military. Growing up with a single mom in a middle-class neighborhood in Salina, Kansas, a town of just under 50,000 people, Dooley knew that the military could not only offer a good career path but that it could be the perfect way to challenge herself.
Dooley joined the Army when she was just 20 years old and has been serving the country for nearly two years. Her uncle, who retired as a Sergeant First Class, was her source of inspiration for enlisting. She has since completed basic combat training and chose to become a finance management technician.
At first glance, Dooley may not seem like the traditional Army recruit but her strength becomes apparent as you get to know her. A very hard-worker, she is currently a nurse assistant and hopes to finish her RN degree soon. Although she may seem quiet when you first meet her, Dooley becomes very loud and animated once she feels comfortable around you.
She finds encouragement and strength from the many people who count on her, including the most important person of all – her unborn child. Dooley is four months pregnant and she knows that she has to do what is best for her baby and for her family. This gives her the encouragement to get up every day and try to be the best possible version of herself. She values close relationships and endeavors to make her relationships with others healthier. To her, one important aspect of this is supporting all of her friends and her partner in any way that she can, no matter what.
On Finding Her Passion
When asked about the biggest challenge of her career, Dooley responded that the hardest part has been finding her passion. Like so many people, trying to find what she is passionate about has been a difficult task and at times, this has been hard and discouraging. However, she knows that finding her passion takes time and that she has her entire life to do so.
On Handling the Unexpected
Dooley believes that her experience in the Army has helped her mature and has allowed her to face and accept the unexpected. She never expected to be pregnant at such a young age or in the position that she is in now. Although she had originally imagined herself going to school full time and finishing her degree, life threw her a curveball. She accepts it and is very excited about her next big challenge – meeting her new baby in August!
On Her Biggest Challenge When Joining the Army
Her time in the Army has helped Dooley develop both emotionally and professionally and she encourages other women to join. Although basic combat training was difficult for her, it felt like a great accomplishment to be able to finish everything. She advises other women to prepare well for BCT but know that they will make life-long friends with the people that they go through training with. This unique experience and the bond that it builds is something that few civilians will understand. She reminds people that although it may be hard, it is important to make the best of the experience.
Despite some of the sacrifices that she had to make and the physical challenges of basic training, she believes that it is all worth it in the end. Dooley pushed herself to a limit that she never thought she could go and this has given her a sense of strength when contemplating what lies ahead of her.
Looking Towards the Future
Dooley plans to retire from the Army and hopes to become a great NCO. If everything works out, she is even considering entering Officer Candidate School (OCS).
She also dreams of having her own business one day. Thanks to her time in the military and the feeling of accomplishment she got at completing basic training, she knows that she can do anything that she puts her mind to and believes that other women can too.