Coddie Curry felt anxiety when she graduated from the U.S. Military Academy on May 25.

She had been at West Point for so long that the thought of life outside the Army school was daunting.

“Once I step out of here nothing is really certain,” she remembers thinking. “There is so much that I can do but it was so huge to me that it made me nervous.”

The second lieutenant won’t have a lot of time for contemplation. She’ll soon begin 17 weeks of training and preparation at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, then report to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York, as a platoon leader.

Those assignments are a long way from Dothan, where Curry spent three years in ROTC at Dothan High and served as a company commander during her senior year.

After graduating from high school in 2011, she took classes with Liberty University and was serving in the National Guard when she applied to West Point.

She spent time at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, located on the same campus as West Point, before being accepted at the academy.

From the beginning, Curry’s priority was to complete her four-year degree before going into active duty. A member of the largest African-American female graduating class in the academy’s history, Curry majored in foreign languages (Arabic and Persian) and minored in cybersecurity.

Her advice for anyone interested in traveling a path similar to hers is to be prepared for setbacks.

“It’s hard to see yourself and your potential,” Curry said. “You’re not going to see that through just being successful at everything.”

She said all the students at West Point were superstars in high school and many go there thinking that they have it all together. But Curry said you have to change your perception.

She said learning to deal with failure is important for everyone and a huge part of life.

Curry realized she lacked confidence. The atmosphere at the military academy helped.

“Being at West Point, it’s such a people-oriented environment,” she said. “It forces you to work with people, and because of that I made so many friendships.”

The instructors at the school were available to help.

“I just love how I was able to go to my instructor’s office and get mentorship,” she said, not just pertaining to academics but in leadership and as a person. “I formed so many strong relationships and connections with people there because of that.”

Curry said the atmosphere at West Point helps people build themselves up in a positive way.

“It reveals your weaknesses and your strengths, and it helps you realize what you need to work on,” she said.

Curry said some of the physical aspects of the training such as survival swimming were challenging. She didn’t know how to swim when she arrived at West Point but said if she asked somebody for help on that or any problem she was having they would be there to lend a hand.

“It’s like this great environment, great people,” she said.

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