Cheng Chih-ya (
Cheng gave up a place on the women's national swim team and a teaching job at an elementary school in order to join the Marines as a career soldier.
Cheng is now serving in the Marines' communication department, but she is also a swimming instructor who is in charge of training her fellow Marines.
Prior to joining the Marines, Cheng, 25, was ready to begin a career as an elementary school physical education teacher as she also possesses the title of being a national swim team member. However, in April, she made a big change in her career plans and decided to become a Marine.
"Some say that I am too old to be a private in the Marines. Some say that my joining the Marines is such a waste since I am a qualified teacher. But I say it is your attitude that decides whether you will succeed or not," Cheng said.
Cheng said that her parents did everything they could to help her become a swimmer in her childhood.
Her remarkable talent in the pool also helped her gain admission to the Physical Education Department of National Pingtung University of Education without the need to take any entrance exams.
Upon graduation, Cheng also earned a certificate as an elementary school teacher after passing the exam. But she eventually decided to give it all up and become a Marine.
"Honestly, the fat paychecks and package you get with the Marines are the main things that attracted me," Cheng said.
She said that she could earn at least NT$100,000 a month by teaching swimming in summer. But, in winter, her income would have been drastically reduced, while she had yet to find a teaching job even though she was a qualified teacher.
"As you know, teaching positions are so limited while we have too many qualified teachers," she said.
"On the other hand, the Marines offers a steady job and an attractive package that gives me a chance to challenge myself," she said.
In the meantime, Cheng said she is planning to take advantage of her work in the Marines to take as many electronics-related national exams as possible.
"Since it is my area of expertise, I would love to have as many certificates as possible," she said.
"It will make me a lot more competitive when I retire from the Marines and return to public life," she said.