I’m not writing this for you. I feel as though I should start off with that. This entry, this piece of rhetoric it’s not for you. It’s not for prospective cadets, it’s not aimed at cadets or alumni, it’s designed for only one person: me. Tonight is my last night in Chase Hall, the building that I have begrudgingly called home for the last four years. It’s a bittersweet moment. I’ve wanted nothing more than to graduate from this place since the moment I stepped foot in it 1,423 days ago. Though there have been times along the way where I thought I wouldn’t make it…. Where KNEW I wouldn’t make it, and yet here I am: spending my last night in Chase Hall.
If you had asked me at any point from my first day of Swab Summer, up until last week what emotions I would have predicted would be coursing through my veins right now, I would have given you any number of answers: elation, relief, joy, wonderment, maybe even bewilderment, but the only thing I feel right now is sadness. There comes points in every life where we have to move on, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to cling to what we have. Maybe I’m alone tonight in my grief, but something tells me that the rest of my classmates feel it too. Tonight is the last night we will ever be under the same roof. Tonight is the last night we will ever be able to just walk to someone’s room and knock on the door expecting an answer. Tonight is the last time we will live just down the hall from 200 of our closest friends.
So where does that leave me? Right here, right now, writing this last journal entry, trying to sum up all the emotion running rampant in me. The Academy experience has not always been enjoyable, but the people I have met along the way have made it worth every second. Every moment that seemed completely unbearable was overcome with the help of a friend, a classmate, a mentor. I wish now more than anything that I could start the whole grueling experience over again, because now that I’m leaving it, I have a better appreciation for it all. I have twelve hours left of cadethood, twelve hours left of the greatest four years of my life… and I’m going to spend them with my friends.
God bless each and every one of them: my classmates, my friends, my brothers and sisters. I love you all, each and every one of you. We survived, and we survived together, and it has been the greatest adventure that I could have ever asked for.
More about Stephen.