So as I sit here procrastinating yet more work that I should be doing (New Procrastination level unlocked: level Firstie), it occurs to me that I've been negligent in my duties of writing for the cadet blog program, which helps me stay tied in with the incoming class.
As you begin your journey, I just want to pass on some advice to you that I've picked up over the years, some things that have stuck out to me: Some I've learned the hardway, some I've picked up watching friends and some are just platitudes. In honor of the greatest class to ever grace the Academy, I give you 13 lessons I've learned as a member of '13.
1) Never alienate a friend, especially when you will live with them for four years.
2) Nothing funny ever happens during Swab Summer. Your stories are not hilarious. Your memories are fooling you and if you ever tell that story to someone who is not an Academy kid they will stare at you and tell you you're crazy.
3) There is always time later to do your work, but there isn't always time later to hang out with a friend. So prioritize, but do it right.
4) There is NEVER a good reason to lie. To anyone. For any reason.
5) Cleaning for a formal room and wing is always better when you and your roommate blast the music and start late and end early... in the morning.
6) 3/c Summer on Eagle is what you make of it. If you really don't like it that much, block it out and just remember the port calls.
7) Every person deserves a chance to redefine themselves after 4/c year. This place does weird things to you that first year, so let people start new 3/c summer. Forget those grudges you held fourth class year, some of those people you hated with a passion, just might end up being your best friends.
8) Merchant Marine Academy is the worst school in America. Forget what Forbes says.
9) You will never stop being protective of "your" swabs.
10) You will never stop respecting and admiring your cadre... even when you get to be on a first name basis with them.
11) Cadating isn't always as bad as they say.
12) The longer you refuse to admit this place is your home, the longer you will be unhappy. That place where you grew up is just that, the place where you grew up. Home is where the Coast Guard sends you.
13) The mundane routine will soon fade, so that when you look back, all you remember are the highlights. The highest highs and the lowest lows... so make them count. Have an experience worth remembering. Make your memories now, so that 50 years down the road you can look back with fondness.
As you all get ready to embark on your journey I look back to my last month of my senior year and I think of where I've come since then. It's amazing the changes that can come along in four short years. Here I sit on the cusp of graduation. 14 weeks left in a 200 week training program and I almost envy you.
Almost... because for all the great memories and friends, one Academy experience in a lifetime is more than enough for anyone. Enjoy it. Remember it. Make it count.
More about Steven.