ANNIE DEVOE | STAFF REPORTER
Sprawled out on the couch and fidgeting with the Celtic cross draped around his neck, 20-year-old sophomore Luke Williams appears to be your average college student.
But Williams juggles a different kind of responsibility outside of classes and campus life.
Williams is a part of the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, a program that less than 1 percent of all Americans can even qualify for.
Along with that, the Indianapolis native is also the candidate in charge of running the operation in the Greater Indianapolis Area.
The OCS is a program designed for highly driven and self-motivated individuals. A third of those who attempt the program drop out within the first six weeks.
“OCS is much different from enlisted boot camp,” Williams said. “The stress level is much higher in many different variables such as starvation, sleep deprivation and constantly pushing yourself beyond your physical limits.”
The program works differently from recruitment and is designed to find the people best suited to hold leadership positions within the Marine Corps.
“You can drop out of the program whenever you want with no ties, unlike someone who enlists,” Williams said. “You have to want to be there, and want to succeed, because you’ll be leading marines when you’re an officer. You’re not just in charge of yourself. Your marines come first.”
Choosing the Marines over any other branch was an easy decision, Williams said.
“The Marines are the hardest branch,” he said. “Every day you’ll be pushed to your limits. When you’re in a high stress situation, many people sink down to what they know, and when you train harder than what you think you can stand, you’ll be able to know what to do.”
Williams has already completed one of the two six-week training sessions required to complete OCS.
“It’s definitely the hardest, most intense thing I’ve ever done in my entire life, but also the most rewarding,” he said. “You wake up and there are times that you’re so sleep deprived, you don’t want to do it, but you do it and it makes you into such a better person.
“I feel like I have a duty to serve this country,” he said. “I feel like I have the most to offer the military as a leader.”