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A Jack of all Trades: Facing challenges one step at a time

Facing challenges one step at a time

Courtesy Photo


A new challenge may seem intimidating to some, but not for Airman 1st Class Kayli Morris, a 5th Civil Engineer Squadron engineering apprentice, who has always looked for opportunities to grow as a person.

Before she joined the military, Morris earned a Bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of North Texas. While her time in college wasn’t easy, she soon realized it was worth it.

“I was stressed out a lot during college because I was working so much while going to school full time,” Morris said. “It was very difficult, but one of the things I learned from it is that nothing is ever going to be handed to you. You have to show people what you’re capable of.”

Morris always looked for new experiences and had a dozen jobs before joining the military, including a cashier, baker, grocery stocker, produce clerk, hostess and bus driver.

“Before I left for basic military training in 2017 I worked as a river guide at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Utah and I loved it because it was something new that I’d never done before,” Morris said. “I also worked as a dispatcher at the park where I responded to hundreds of incidents, from medical emergencies to search and rescues.”

Morris’s drive to face new obstacles is what also led her to join the Air Force. Now as an engineering apprentice, Morris is responsible for designing maps and planning construction projects, including roads and buildings. Morris smiled as she recalled how much she relishes new opportunities, something she’s had a lot of in her unit.

“We do a lot of different tasks in my career field so there’s always something new every day,” Morris said. “I just hit my one year mark in the Air Force and it’s been challenging in a lot of good ways. For instance, our CES expeditionary day was difficult and filled with physical challenges, but I’m really glad I did it because I was able to overcome it and have fun doing it.”

Despite engineering being different from her previous work, Morris has been able to adjust to her new career field and she enjoys the challenges it brings.

“There are countless opportunities to push myself mentally and physically and those are some of my favorite parts about being in the military,” Morris said. “I love trying different things and challenging myself. That’s why I’m both an anthropologist and an engineer; not many people can say that.”

Morris added that a main reason why she’s able to overcome any obstacles is because she relies on her past experiences.

“I’ve already gotten through a lot so whenever a new challenge presents itself, I remind myself that I’ve dealt with problems before so know I can overcome them,” Morris said.

As she reflected on her life experiences, Morris mentioned that her ambition to try new things is what helps her strive for success in the Air Force.

“I’m always looking for new challenges,” Morris said. “There’s a whole world of opportunities and different things to try and that’s what pushes me to try anything.”
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