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cadet blogs

The Holidays are for Family

(The Cadet Experience, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Sherman Photo Dear Mom and Dad, I love you.


Three powerful words that mean a heck of a lot to my parents.


I was recently home for Thanksgiving. I went home on the Friday before Thanksgiving—four days earlier than normal so that I could do some recruiting at a few high schools near my house. While I enjoyed being home, I also was somewhat bored (although that isn’t exactly the word for which I am looking). See, I have no siblings, so at the end of the day (and believe me, they are usually busy), I come home to a quiet house—my parents and grandmother are all asleep, and my dog is so old now she doesn’t even come to greet me—with no one my age. Honestly, I’ve been spoiled at the Academy in that regard. There are so many people my age there—it’s great. And having a roommate is amazing, even if I do keep him up into the wee hours of the morning with my desk lamp. You’re the best, Ryan!


Last year I realized how great it was to have “siblings” (about a thousand of them, to be exact), but it wasn’t until going home this year did I feel homesick for them. I mean, it makes sense. Last year, going home was great and exciting. I had lots of new stories to tell everyone. Plus, I just wasn’t as close to everyone here yet. A year later, it was really bad.


I told my parents (and some of the rest of my family) that I was considering not coming home for Thanksgiving next year. They were all crushed! I explained to them that coming home wasn’t as fun as it used to be. I wanted to have adventures, travel to new and exciting places, and spend more time with my friends from the Academy. But even if my family’s moaning and griping was a little over the top, I do think they had a good lesson to teach me.


The holidays are for family—my family. I mean so much to them, and they really care for me. The least I can do is visit home for the holidays. As my English professor reminded us last year, going home for the holidays is something that you don’t always get to do once you’re an officer, so we should take advantage of the opportunities while you’re at the Academy. I am fortunate to live close enough to the Academy where travelling home for a short break like Thanksgiving is feasible. I have plenty of long weekends and Spring Break to visit friends and see the world (not to mention on-order trips). So, I’ve promised to come home next year for Thanksgiving (because I want to do recruiting leave again), but will compromise by inviting (hopefully!) someone who was not planning on going home.


I love my Academy family, but I get to see them every day for nine months of the year. I’ve got to give my family some time, too. Granted holiday breaks are the few times when we cadets don’t have assignments and would actually be able to hang out without dreading having to go back to do schoolwork. I guess we’ll just have to make time to get our work done early so that we can enjoy the moments we share here at the Academy.


Wishing you a New Year of excitement and success. Don’t forget among all the craziness that is the holiday season to connect with (e.g., call, get coffee with, Skype, etc.) the ones you are close to and love. Happy Holidays to all!


More about Justin.


Shooting for the Moon, Hitting the Stars

(Athletics, Class of 2015) Permanent link
Chavarria-Aguilar Photo At the start of my 3/c fall semester, I encountered a huge setback with an injury that prevented me from rowing crew. Now if any of you have read my previous blogs, you’ll know how much that team means to me. I was devastated, knowing that I could not be in a boat this season. I tried to contribute to the team, nonetheless, helping with equipment and whatnot. But it was not the same. I no longer had an extracurricular to keep me occupied in my free time. This may seem unusual, but the busier I am, the more productive I become. That is another reason it was so important for me to participate in an extracurricular activity. There were not many options for me; my injury prevented me from partaking in any impact associated sports, and swimming was definitely out of the question.


One day I overheard a few people talking about the shooting sports here at the Academy. I did not know this at the time, but we have four different areas of shooting, including: a pistol team, a combat arms team, a high-powered team, and a rifle team. I asked about what it was like to shoot as a sport, and was further advised to attend the team safety meeting. I did, and once there I learned about what each sport had to offer. I decided it couldn’t hurt to try one of them and so I signed up to shoot rifle.


Four months later, I am still a member of the Academy rifle team and am shooting for score at all of our matches. For a girl that has had literally no history with weapons or shooting in general, that ain’t so bad. The team practices twice a week and all of our matches are on the weekends. I am told that this is the best that the team has done in a long time and that we are looking really good for future championship opportunities. I am really glad that I chose to shoot. Not only have I acquired a fleet-applicable skill, but I have also met different people and made new friends.


I have learned a lot of lessons this semester, not just from my academics, but in all aspects of my life. It amazes me how much a person can grow and change in the course of a few fleeting months. However, that’s the wonderful thing about this institution, its purpose is to foster that development. So remember, “The swift wind of compromise is a lot more devastating than the sudden jolt of misfortune” (Charles R. Swindoll).


More about Alexis.