Not bad! :)
Going to college getting your degree then joining the Marines as a officer is the best choice. To answer your second question no its not true.
There are 3 phases.
1st phase they break your soul.
2nd phase they begin to rebuild you.
3rd phase they instill confidence knowledge and meaning into your life.
Yes all Marines can find out when they are getting promoted. Pvt-LCpl is based on time in grade time. Cpl-Sgt is based off a score.
So I just found out that I will be promoted to Sergeant October 1st!