Monday, July 30, 2012

So this is supposed to be a letter to my friend

But I realised that, honestly, I'm going to be answering the same questions a few thousand times over the course of the next few weeks. So, why shouldn't I just blog it?

Dear Erin (and everyone else),

I've been completely out of contact with entirely too many of my friends this summer. And it's not like this is something new--it happens literally every summertime--but I'm just now realising that this is probably why I lose so many friendships between spring and fall semesters.

Pre-Field Training
Unfortunately, this is a normal day at A-Kon o.o;

Well. My first move after starting back up at the hellhole I will call BappleBees was dying my hair blonde. Something about blondes having more fun? I think it was really just a gut-reaction to being in a familiar, boring place with very little stimulation (intellectually and physically). I started working out a little more--running, random push-ups, etc--but I wasn't particularly motivated as, at this point, I still believed Field Training to be sometime in late July. Thanks to a few strings being pulled, however, I managed to get myself switched into Max 3 (June 12-July 10th), so I started running with a little more regularity.
I joined a band. Well, sorta. I joined an "organized jam-session" with a couple fellow cadets and their friends. We wrote a song together! I even have a recording, if anyone is interested in listening to it...but I'll have to ask Perry's permission before posting, as he's the one who wrote it.
At the beginning of June I participated in, if I'm not mistaken, Texas's largest anime convention as a Lieutenant on the Volunteers Unlimited staff under one of my closest friends. She was a lot busier than usual, and I've become a lot less tolerant over the year, so Dalia took over the "speak softly" and I became the "big stick" regarding the management of our 80+ volunteers. It was, overall, a pretty awesome experience. Made some new friends, probably pissed off a few old ones... caught up with my Navy buddy who I rarely get to see--the whole shebang. About four days after A-Kon, I got to be a CTO at a Student Leadership School thing at a local high school. That, my dear, was badass.
High schoolers wear you out, man.
We woke up at 4:45, which is pretty generous. Showed up around 5 and started their training at 5:30. The experience of being a trainer was definitely worth it. Not only did I get to put the fear of God into a few cadets, I also got to see them grow. And even though I was exhausted at the end of the experience, many of the cadets we trained were sincerely thankful for their time there. Many of them walked away with better D&C knowledge, better warrior knowledge and a little insight into how ROTC works at a college-level. Since the SLS was a fledgling program, we pretty much had the reins the entire time. This meant we could dictate what the cadets were learning and the format in which they would do the learning. So, yes, there was a lot of yelling. And a lot of nitpicky stuff too. But we strayed from "JROTC"-isms and tried to pull both them (and their instructors) to what ROTC will expect from them. And, as a result, I got a leg-up on how being a CTO/CTA is, and was thus able to actually -survive- field training.
By the time SLS ended, I was about 5 days out from going to Field Training, and I tell ya. It was terrifying. Every day was a cram-session. I'd either overwork myself physically, or over extend myself mentally by trying to memorize all of the things I had learned over the last 9 months. Wuff. And then I'd hear these horror-stories online about cadets SIE'ing and others being sent home for medical problems. I'd hear about people failing their tests and others being sent home with too many Form-17s...(SIE - Self Initiated Elimination; Form-17s are disciplinary contracts, essentially. If you get 3, you go home) I was like "I'M GONNA SCREW UP AND GO HOME OH NOES!" every day until I boarded the plane.

Field Training
Paaaast the point of noooo retuuuurrrn

I actually can't say anything about FT online for (hopefully obvious) reasons.
(training situations cannot be disclosed in order to preserve the "experience")

This post will be continued...

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