For me, the start of a new semester is probably one of my favorite times of the year. Right now, the Academy teems with all sorts of emotions and activities as cadets prepare for a fresh start. Looking around, I see a world of possibilities. Embracing my friends as they return from a much-needed winter break, we rally around our revived ambitions. This semester, indeed, will surely be better than the last. Likewise, I find myself wearing a smile fueled by hope as I navigate through our Mid-year Academic Preparation (MAP) week. Unlike folks at normal colleges, cadets report back to school early in order to make arrangements for the new semester. The routine is usually the same: we move rooms/roommates, we get new divisions/departments, there is a change of command, as well as new books, class schedules, and a variety of trainings/meetings. Nonetheless, there is ample time to catch up with friends and take one last sigh of relaxation before classes begin.
Looking at my schedule, my lips press into a thin line, my optimistic grin fading ever so slightly. In my hands is the real deal - my first real taste of being a Mechanical Engineer major. Dynamics, Engineering Material Science, Differential Equations, Physics II, Ships and Maritime Systems, Applications of Navigation, Spatial Recognition, and Lifetime Sports (racquetball/golf). Of course, a handful of these classes are simply required courses for all 3/c cadets. However, a part of me trembles at the difficulty of my schedule. Sometimes, and yes I am not afraid to admit this, I wonder why I thought engineering was a good idea at all. Why jump into the unknown, challenging world of mathematics and science when I could be perfectly comfortable doing something I’m good at (reading and writing) in a completely different academic department.
I suppose a part of me couldn’t resist. You see, I am wired with this odd, innate tendency to see a challenge and run after it, rather than away from it. I also know that engineering, despite how harrowing the material is, will keep every single graduate school opportunity open for me. Although I do not know if I will go, or what I would pursue if I did, a part of me relishes the idea that this is still a possibility simply because of the major I have chosen. And like I said before, right now is the time to savor all of these possibilities, including what next week’s classes will hold.
More about Alexis.