After reading other bloggers posts lately I regrettably have to be the rain cloud, the sour milk, the rotten egg and every other pessimist cliché, because the Academy is not all smiles, rainbows, and butterflies. In fact, every day I have at least one moment where I question what I am doing at the Academy, why I did not take that Navy ROTC scholarship to a civilian school, why I did not decide to take a year off and sail around the world. "YOLO", you only live once, is a catch phrase being thrown around in conversation today, and it was even suggested jokingly for our Class of 2016 motto. This mantra is often the caption of my old friend's photos skydiving or swimming with sharks, but at the Academy is a sarcastic reminder of our choice. When I talk to my high school friends it seems like there is a whole world that I am missing: getting locked out of the dorm, sleeping over in a friend's room for the night, or going out on Friday night are the experiences I most wish I could share. Instead I chose to spend the next four years of my life in a gated guarded bubble, carefully following the rules and regulations created by people I have never known, that will supposedly better my life in the big picture.
Cadets often lose sight of the big picture, of the entire "Game of Life" per say. The amateur board game starts with the simple decision I made senior year of high school, to go to college rather than delve into the work force. What the game cannot simulate however is the time, heart, and passion it takes to finish an upper level education. I have already experienced the sacrifices of an Academy education, a college education, and have to wonder if I chose right. I can picture myself in civilian attire in the library or at the boathouse at many other schools, and even took the time over Spring Break to visit friends and live like a college student for a day. But after trips to the University of Connecticut, Simmons College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, I left with the same hunger for opportunity that I went in feeling. I have yet to go to a college or university that gives me the same satisfaction at the end of the day, the feeling that I have done my best not only for my benefit but to fulfill the training Americans have offered to me. Everyday is about "living once" and taking full advantage of the opportunities at hand, but also prioritizing every given choice. Yes, I am still susceptible to the tunnel vision sadness exam week can bring, but in general, controlling my attitude and perspective have kept me afloat. The game of life, like the Academy, is a roll of the dice; the only difference is having almost guaranteed success in the end.
More about Sarah.