For many of you reading these blog entries, you are in the process of counting your series of “last events,” such as your last football game, your last prom, your last day of high school. The entire senior year seems to be revolved around these “last events” that for most of us, were a mixture of euphoria and sadness. I remember that intense feeling of wanting to break free from my youth and dive head first into a new life, far away from where I had spent most of my life cultivating my skills and personality, where I had built all of my relationships. But I knew that once I left, it would never be quite the same whenever I came back home to visit.
The day before R-Day, I met some of my classmates. Everyone was decked out in their unique style of civilian clothes, representing who they had been throughout high school. My hair was down to my eyes and over my ears. My sneakers were multicolored. And the butterflies nested in my stomach region were beginning to flap their wings. As the day turned to night, and night turned to day, those butterflies were increasingly bouncing around, as if they finally had awoken from some deep, Rip Van Wrinkle type of sleep. They were much too excited for what they were about to experience. I was not nearly as enthusiastic as my pet butterflies. At some point during the day, the yelling began. It was a lot of yelling, and I suppose the yelling scared the butterflies off for a bit, because adrenaline took over my system for most of the rest of the summer. I knew the yelling was going to come; I had watched all of the Swab Summer videos on YouTube. But actually experiencing it myself was much different than watching someone else experiencing it. Eventually, you learn to kind of tune it out, so it does not get in the way of your own thoughts, but it took some time.
My civilian summer was over and my Swab Summer had begun. It was everything I expected and everything I did not. Yelling. IT sessions. Indoc. Stress. Stress. Stress. Everyday was different and the same. I learned how to shine my shoes, make a hospital corner, square an actual corner, iron my shirts, and hold a piece. I learned how to work with a group of people and succeed through times of failure. Eventually, those long days became weeks, and the summer had ended. I remember writing in my “Thoughts of the Day” journal that the summer had felt like it took “nine months” when it was only seven weeks. But even though the summer was long and grueling, that feeling of accomplishment was great and well worth it.
To all of you current high school seniors, enjoy the rest of your high school year. Of course, make sure you are in prime shape when you arrive, but make sure you also enjoy your “last moments” of high school with your best friends and family and do not stress or worry about how the summer will be. You only have three months, use it wisely and have fun.
More about Zachary.