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Tell Us Your Life Story

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2024) Permanent link   All Posts
Cole Fulton

"Tell us your story." The words glared back at me as if they were looking into my soul.

I shut my laptop, laid back on my chair, and closed my eyes; though the words still lingered – engraved into my vision. Starting out new academic semesters is always an exciting time, though writing “about me” bios for certain classes reduces that excitement significantly. Some find it easy to blurb their entire life story into a measly 500-word essay… I’m definitely not one of those individuals. My mind initially raced with topics to write about but was quickly suppressed with sheer nothingness. I was lost for ideas.

I opened my eyes to find an overused ukulele meeting my gaze. Feelings of warmth and joy engendered from within me. Seeing the tarnished ukulele sitting in the corner of my room reminded me of my early childhood, growing up on the Island of Oahu.

The magnificent beaches, deep-blue waters, and exquisite aromas of fresh ahi poke immediately came to mind. Hawaii, a place so diverse yet so connected, was a place I called home for the first 13 years of my life. My family and I were cramped - yet content - residing in a small house in Mililani. Street fights and drug deals occurred frequently in my neighborhood, but I was too distracted with my Magic Tree House books and Pokémon cards to notice.

Still joyous from the memories of a nostalgic past, my eyes drifted away from the ukulele and locked onto a duffel bag hanging ominously from the corner of my locker. A shiver creeped down my spine. What was now empty and collecting dust had once carried my personal belongings 2,872 miles from the islands of Hawaii to the potato fields of Idaho.

The unforeseen move to Idaho introduced me to an abnormal foe: adversity. I struggled to adjust to this new environment, unwilling to plod down the unbeaten path that trailed off into the wild unknown. But, like most challenges that arise in my life, I decided I wouldn’t back down. Ignoring the warning signs that my anxious consciousness displayed before me, I trudged on, forcing myself to take part in community events and joining clubs that I was initially hesitant to. I continued my passion for basketball and assimilated into the athletic community. I perused my academic passions and continued to challenge myself in school. I had finally adapted to my new home.

The soft patter of rain against my window brought me back to reality. I sighed, content with the life I had created for myself; however, the brewing storm outside reminded me that I was no longer in Idaho. And like driving on most of the streets in my Washington neighborhood, I encountered yet another rut in the road.

I had my summer of senior year all planned out. Everything was in place according to my compulsive behavior. But, instead of partaking in a trip to Canada with my friends. I was stuck packing my cumbersome belongings. Instead of conducting an extensive research project at a local University, I was busy loading up a 26-foot U-Haul. And instead of playing basketball with a team I had become very close to, I was forced to memorize new plays for a team much different from my previous one. Moving again felt like déjà vu being forced down my throat... and it was getting hard to breathe.

I could feel the strain of emotions pulsating through burning red cheeks, though I refused to admit it was there: refused to acknowledge the pain that had wriggled its way back into my life. But, in this moment I began to think. I thought long and hard about the experiences in my life: a lightbulb went off. Somewhere in the deep dark depths of my sorrow, this lightbulb shone down, luminating my shrouded conscious.

I became grateful for the diverse culture I had indulged into during my time in Hawaii: thankful for the values of family and good morals that I had created there. I was grateful for the adversity I faced, adjusting to new environments and experiencing the unknown. I was thankful for the relationships I’d built with the amazing people in each community: those who changed my mindset and taught me to not settle for the circumstances given to me, but to make the best of each opportunity. It helped me overcome the barriers of anxiety and self-consciousness that had created a turbulence in my mind.

And I was grateful for the opportunity to now apply these life-changing realizations to the next chapter of my life here at the academy.

I paused for a moment and grinned, thrilled to have finally thought of an idea. I sat up in my chair, opened my laptop, and began to type.

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