In the back half of the Running Light, the Academy’s indoctrination book, there is a Cadet Dictionary. While Swab Summer explains the majority of these terms, such as “slack ally” and “late rack”, the “Dark Ages” have to be experienced rather then read. The dictionary defines the period of time from the start of second semester to the end of February as the Dark Ages for the corps, where morale is low, the days are short, and the weather is unreasonably cold. There are remedies for this condition however; participating in sports, attending comedy nights, and the ominous 101st night are favorites currently for the class of 2016.
It is tradition at the Academy that during the winter darkness second class cadets remind the fourth class of their mission and help them to regain focus in their military studies. The fourth class is encouraged to spirit mission, or prank, their second class role models. In the ten days leading up to 101st night I sewed my second class’ shirts and socks together, put sticky notes labeling every item out in his room, and decorated with streamers and flags. On the 101st night before graduation, the class of 2014, the current second class, reverted back to cadre as revenge and ran fourth class through a Swab Summer routine for three hours. As a Bravo fourth class, I began with my classmates in Bravo Company and all of our second class, but after a short 15 minutes we ran up three floors to Echo Company. We continued to rotate through all of the companies learning different spewage and participating in various calisthenics and rifle movements. While the experience was helpful in respect to learn a mass amount of information, it was also physically challenging and mentally difficult to find myself a swab again instead of a fourth class.
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