As I pause between lots of homework, I reflect on something that has happened to me recently. There was a prospective cadet (a visiting high school senior) in October that came to Echo Company. He was not my prospective cadet, but I found out that he played lacrosse, so we talked a bit. He seemed pretty cool, and we just kept talking about lacrosse, his senior year, and his application process. Eventually we parted ways, and I wished him luck. His almost-required thanks came out, but it seemed to be much more full of gratitude than the other applicants I had talked too. Nevertheless, that was it, and once again concentrated on my own prospective cadet.
Every so often, I do get responses from Academy hopefuls due to these blogs, and they’re great. I love getting in contact with them and wishing them well on their way to appointment or to other tracks of life. Well, a few days ago I got a response from none other than the prospective cadet from Michigan, saying he was in the same situation as I had been in: he was being medically disqualified, but for him, it was about years-old asthma, not non-existent psoriasis. He, too, had already been accepted prior to getting disqualified. What got me was this part of his opening paragraph:
“But yes, I want to attend the USCGA with everything in me, and I don't think I could even bare to get this close just to have it stripped away by something like this. I intend to do everything possible to get to the USCGA.”
The flashback that came to me was a painful one. When I got my medical rejection letter, I threw it on the ground, ran upstairs to my room, sat on my bed, and just looked at the ceiling. At that very moment, it seemed that everything I had worked for was for nothing. The fact that I knew this kid was feeling that same feeling got me thinking. No one should have to go through that. To be accepted and then denied through medical hurts pretty bad.
I immediately responded, giving all the advice I could about how to approach the situation. We again talked lacrosse (we’re 9-1, by the way) and at this point I really wanted the kid to get accepted. He had everything that I remembered I had going into this place – dreams to go to an elite school while playing lacrosse and ending up with a commission in a U.S. armed service. It’s so easy to forget that’s why we’re here, and how fortunate we are to attend USCGA. It’s a privilege, nowhere near a right or obligation. We continued the conversation until we had said pretty much all that could be said, and he again thanked me and told me he’d update me as soon as there was stuff to be updated on.
For his sake, and mine, I truly hope he gets the waiver. There are kids beyond dedicated to coming here, with expired medical issues that no longer affect them, and still get rejected. Nevertheless, it’s just another roadblock, and no matter what, I have the firm belief that the senior from Michigan will be going places, whether it’s USCGA or elsewhere.
It’s not just the Academy and cadets that have an impact on the prospective cadets. Sometimes those prospective cadets have an impact on the cadets themselves.
More about Sam.