I love the fall. The cool brisk mornings, the crisp fresh air, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING and hot apple cider. Going apple picking wearing warm flannels and puffy vests, and going hiking and camping while hanging around a campfire. It doesn’t get much better than that! But perhaps the real reason why I love the fall so much is that it signals a change. Not just in the weather, but in the course of things at the Academy. Drill has recently come to an end, the fall rowing season has drawn to a close, and many other things are changing with the season. And this year, I especially sense this change because I am no longer an underclass. My role as a cadet has changed, and I am no longer a follower, but a leader. The 2/c summer of leadership development and the first half of this semester have flown by, and now, reflecting upon them, I see how much I myself have changed. Plainly put, “it’s just cool” to see how the system of the Academy works. Reflecting upon this change reminds me of something I once read:
“Do not, I implore you, start asking yourselves, ‘Have I reached that moment?’ Do not sit down and start watching your mind to see if it is coming along. That puts a man quite on the wrong track. When the most important things in our life happen we quite often do not know, at the moment, what is going on. A man does not always say to himself, ‘Hullo! I’m growing up.’ It is often only when he looks back that he [realizes] what has happened and [recognizes] it as what people call ‘growing up.’ . . . And what matters is the nature of the change in itself, not how we feel while is happening. “ (C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity)
That pretty much sums up how I feel. I did not, throughout the course of the summer “watch” myself grow up, it simply happened. And that’s what’s so amazing! I ordered my class ring, I’m beginning to do some car shopping for next year, and I’m planning out my life after the Academy, a time which, quite often feels as if it is never going to arrive. But it is coming! I have grown up, I have changed, and I am continuing to learn and change and grow into the leader and officer that the Academy set out to create in me.
And that is why I love the fall.
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