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Relax and Laugh a Little

(Choosing the Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015) Permanent link   All Posts
 Zachary Kearney The image reflected from the glass was foreign, unfamiliar, almost extraterrestrial. You know the classic alien picture of the small green figure with a big bald head? Yeah, that’s what the image behind the glass looked like, minus the green part. If you looked closer at the image, you might notice that the palms of the man in the mirror were sweating profusely, and the knees may or may not have been shaking a tad. But surprisingly, even in his nervous state, the man in the mirror was laughing.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are just waiting for something to happen? Perhaps you are about to get interviewed for that college you just have to get into, or you are about to give the dreaded research presentation to Mrs. Grouch, who happens to always wake up on the wrong side of the bed every single morning. You are just waiting and waiting and waiting; all you want to do is get whatever you have to do over with, but because you are waiting so long, you are just getting more nervous. Well gals and guys, that was how I felt as R-Day approached.

I knew what was coming as I arrived at the Navy Lodge the night before. I knew what was coming once I walked through those gates; I knew who was waiting for me. I’m sure most of you have watched the R-Day videos on YouTube, I know I did a hundred times before I arrived. If you look at one of them closely, you will actually see Zachary Kearney before he lost his wavy black locks. I’m sure many of you are imagining yourselves on that bus on that fateful day this upcoming June, wondering what your thoughts may be before that gigantic cadre bursts through the doors and yells at you to get off “his bus”. How will you react the first time you are singled out by Mrs. So-and-So because you accidently called her a Sir, or how will you feel when you have to refer to yourself as Swab *insert your name here? Don’t worry if you can’t keep your eyes in the boat very well (looking straight ahead), because I couldn’t very well (they might give you a gigantic box with an eye slit to look through to “correct” this problem, so don’t be alarmed if this happens to you).

So even though you know what is waiting for you a few short months away (and trust me, those months will fly so make sure you have as much clean fun as you can while you are still in high school), don’t get too worked up about it. Sure it’s natural to get nervous and to wonder what the summer will entail for you. I admit, it’s a ton of yelling that first day; you will get singled out, your back will kill from standing at attention for so long, and you will probably feel a little homesick. But keep this in mind, that first day is the hardest day. I remember how by lunch, when I was able to say goodbye to my parents and brother, those first few hours had felt like a week. But once that day is over, you can tell yourself, “I just finished the hardest day of the entire summer.” You will get into the routine, and eventually, your summer will be over. Not to mention, you will become very close to your fellow shipmates and discover what the word ‘camaraderie’ really means.

So guys, when you are staring at yourself in the mirror after you have lost your nice flow to the razors, laugh a little. We cadets have all gone through it and you will too if you want too. Girls, I know you won’t have to go through the notorious haircut, but when your hair is completely covered in gel to keep it up, remember to laugh a little as well. You all may look ridiculous, and you all will smell worse, but think of what lies at the end of the passageway. Just try to keep your eyes in the boat when you trek through it.

More about Zachary.