So I've been debating for a few days about whether or not to start my own little "journal" on here, but lately I've been feeling extremely restless, and I know that talking about things makes me feel better.
I'll start with the most obvious beginning of my journey. In August of 2010, I was in the long, annoying process of applying to colleges. Any graduating senior knows about this process. I was only going to apply to three schools, that was, until I received an interesting phone call from someone who is now a major part of who I am. This phone call came from a USMC recruiter. As sappy as this sounds, the moment I started talking to him I felt like a door had just opened up in front of me. So we start talking and he runs me through a prescreening process. He asked me some questions that would tell me if I was qualified to be a Marine. It was after this that he asked if he would be allowed to come over and talk to me and my parents about a possible career in the military. I was more than happy to invite him over, but my parents needed a little more convincing.
So after about a week our scheduled appointment date comes up and he and my family and I start talking. He has me take a sample test of the ASVAB test. I scored a 69, which more than impressed the recruiter, I however was not happy with those results because I failed to complete the math portion in the alloted time allowed. My dad was smirking at me because of my reaction to not completeing the math section. The recruiter just smiled. It was then that my parents started asking the recruiter about the Naval Academy. He wasn't able to give us a lot of information on it because he was enlisted in the Corps, not an Academy graduate.
After that happy day, the next chapter of my journey started. It is entitled The Academy and the Scholarship.
I soon found out that my parents were firmly, and not unjustly, against me enlisting. I understood their reasons, but that didn't mean I liked it. So, we made a compromise. I could join the military, as long as I received a college education first. So I applied to one of the most prestigious schools in the nation: The Naval Academy. The initial application wasn't horrible, by far it was one of the nicer applications I had filled out. So after submitting that application, I received a message on facebook from the recruiter I had talked to saying that he had a scholarship I might be interested in. With my parents approval, I filled it out. Now, I know that this was a really naive of me, especially since I had no idea what I was applying for, but I did it anyway. The application, I found out later, was for the NROTC Scholarship. That scholarship application was about 20 pages long and asked for the most information I've ever had to give out.
Not too long after I sent in my application, I received word that I had an interview at the State's head recruiting station, at 8 am. Okay, no problem. I'm wondering now if I should have invited my recruiter to come along for the interview, but it's too late now. I'm not sure it would have made a difference. Instead I had my mom take me. When I got to the head Rss station for my interview, I had my first real interaction with the government and learned the rule, "Hurry up and wait." I spent the next hour sitting in the Rss station, awaiting my turn for an interview. I did have a nice conversation with a couple of other interview candidates, that was until, I met my first short recruiter. Now, tall military members can be intimidating, but there is nothing more intimidating than a short military person. But that's a whole different story. It wasn't too long after that awkward few minutes that I had to use the bathroom. So, naturally, I went to the nearest office and asked where the bathroom was. The conversation was this:
Person: "The bathroom? We don't have a bathroom."
Me: (thinking) "What? Marines don't have to use the bathroom?"
Person: (looking at me from head to toe) "You don't look like you need to take a shower." (yes, he was trying very hard not to smirk)
Me: (stares concernedly at him, I didn't know where he was going with this)
Person: (still smirking) "We do have a head though, that you could use. If you'd like to."
Me: (still not sure, but is somewhat catching on) "Okay."
Person: "Alright follow me then."
Now my mom told me later that she had been listening to the entire conversation and was trying really hard not to laugh at what was going on. Yeah, it was fun. So the guy leads me down the hall and to a staircase, where he stops and leans on the railing and says to me:
Person: "Now, you're going to go down the stairs and at the bottom will be a door." (he's watching my face the entire time he says this)
Me: (I nod)
Person: "Go through the door and on your port side will be another door, go in there. That's the head." (he's staring at me as if he's waiting for me to ask what side my port side was)
Me: (thinking) "Port side, port side...Um...four letters..Left!"
Me: (nods) "Thank-you."
It was at that moment that I was so glad that not even two weeks before I had learned how to tell the difference between port and starboard.
So onto my next chapter: The Interviews
Yes, I know I'm writing this like I would a story, but I find that it's easier for me to remember what I've already writen about, and the chapters will help me to keep it in chronological order for right now. Later I'll probably stop using chapters and just write.
Ah, forget going back to the beginning. I'm going to start with today. Look at me. I've been here a month, I made it through Freshmen O *cough, hell week, cough, cough* That is a story for another day.
So I got up at 0400 this morning to go on my companies 6 mile hump (hike for you civilians). Doesn't sound too bad right? Now it wouldn't have been except for the fact that along with hiking six miles, we were carrying 40lb sand bags. Now for the more experienced military folks, 40lbs isn't much but for an person newly instigated into the miltary life, 40lbs over six miles is a lot. I started to get a little tired around 3 miles.
...I'll finish this later, I promise I will. But I've got things to attend to.
Luckily, or unluckily, I haven't decided yet, at the 3 mile mark we stopped to take a short rest. I could just feel the blisters starting to form on my feet. Darn boots, I had even spent the past two weeks trying to break them in. My Squad Leader and Platoon Sgt both came by to see how I was doing. Honestly, I was tired, but I kept telling myself that I wasn't going to be the week Freshman and fall out just because something got hard.
So too soon we were told to put our packs back on. I'm not strong enough to flip it over my head so getting my pack on wasn't easy, amazingly I managed to do it by myself without looking too stupid. About a half mile into heading back I noticed that the frame of my pack was starting to rub against my lower back through my utes. Great, just great. My back was already hurting from the way the pack was sitting. Oh, well not much I can do about it while we're moving and I was not going to fall out. I started having trouble keeping up at about the 5 mile mark, I couldn't seem to get my walking stride to be even enough or be less tiring so I started half jogging. You would think that I would get more tired that way but it was actually easier. And as expected, at the 5.5 mile mark the MOI and the AMOI decided to have everyone run. I wasn't able to keep up with the OCS grads and the MOI and AMOI but I was able to run for about 400 meters before my body just decided that it was done. I tried to keep pushing myself forward but I honestly couldn't push myself at a run any longer, my legs were threatening to give out. So, I gave the signal that I was falling out and fell out. Basically there was no formation anymore, all the freshmen had fallen out of formation, there were a few OCS grads and a lot of the SSgts and Sgts fell back with us to make sure we finished and didn't die. A death would've meant a lot of paperwork and wouldn't have looked good. Lol
I told myself that if I was going to fall out I was at least going to make sure I kept moving forward. Yeah, I was more staggering and trying to not fall over, but hey I was still moving forward. I heard one of the SSgts tell someone to fall out with me, and one of the OCS grads started walking next to me. He kept telling me to keep moving forward. After about a minute he said, "Alright, we're going to try to run again. Think you can do that?" I half nodded, I didn't trust that my voice would work. We started running again adn he kept telling me that the stop was just beyond the bridge (about 200 meters ahead). Longest 200 meters of my life. I ran the 200 sprint in track, but man that was the toughest race of my life that day. I dropped back down to a walk, and the OCS grad said, "Alright, I don't want me to be outwalking you. You've got longer legs and should be outwalking me." I decided then that I was going to finish this at a run and I wasn't going to stop to rest. So I picked up the pace again, the OCS grad than told me to catch the Sgt. A Sgt had passed me and was jogging in front of me. Well, my competitive nature got the better of me. I love endorphins. It hurt like hell but I caught the Sgt and passed him. I was about the second or thrid freshmen to rejoin the main group. I want to say the second but I'm not sure. I ended up standing next to the BSgtMaj. He asked me if I was tired. I told him yes, he then asked me, "Are you awake?" I told him yes because even though I was tired and didn't want to move, I was wide awake. Well, the junior in front of me said, "Apparently she's not because she can barely talk." and then they both kind of laughed. Yeah, it was sooo funny.
So after we completed the hump, we were told to take our boots off and let our Platoon leaders look at our feet. That was weird. My blisters were probably some of the better ones. One was about the size of a nickel, I was missing a little skin on the top of my feet, and I had a smaller blister that had popped. Nothing of major concern. My biggest concern was now the meeting I had to go to meet the AMOI. Well, this guy makes me nervous. The MOI makes me nervous but not as much as this guy does. He's a SSgt, nothing too scary, but as it turns out he was on tour until August 2011, and spent quite a few years as a DI at both Camp Pendleton and OCS. Add that plus the fact that he wears an eye patch due to an injury he sustained in the field. He just looks intimidating, and the only side of him I've seen is his DI and AMOI side. I've heard he has pretty good sense of humor. Or so I've heard.
This was pretty much the extent of our conversation.
Me- *gives last name*
AMOI- "How do you spell that?"
Me- *spells name*
AMOI- "First name?"
Me- *gives first name*
AMOI- "Last four?"
AMOI- "SAT score?"
AMOI- "ACT score?"
Me- "Both of them SSgt?"
AMOI- "Just one."
Me- *gives best score*
AMOI- "Air or ground?"
Me- "Ground, SSgt."
AMOI- "Any tattoos?"
Me- "No, SSgt."
AMOI- "Getting a tattoo?"
Me- "No, SSgt."
AMOI- "Don't get a tattoo. PFT score?"
Me- *gives PFT score*
AMOI- "That's f***ing horrible. Dismissed."
Me- "Dismissed, aye-aye, SSgt." (executes step back)
"Good morning, SSgt."
AMOI- "Good morning."
Me- (executes about-face and leaves with purpose)
AMOI- "Is there anyone else out there?"
Me- (walks back to office door) "No, SSgt."
AMOI- "Aren't there more freshmen in AC?"
Me- "I don't know SSgt."
And as I walk away I hear from the office, "Stupid spell check is driving me f***ing insane!" I walked away a little faster. So overall, despite me being nervous, and the cursing at me for my PFT score, I think the meeting went well. I was the only freshman out of the group that he didn't yell at.
Well, I love paperwork. I really do. Not! I'm really beginning to hate government paperwork. You have no idea how many ways the government can hand you paperwork that asks you the exact same thing as all the other paperwork you've filled out. Yeesh. So after filling out the required paperwork, I find out that I'm supposed to have typed all the information in. *sigh* Okay, not a problem. I fill out the paperwork, again, and turn it in. It was then that I realized that I had given the wrong SAT score to the AMOI. Wonderful ending to a day. So I sit there and debate about whether or not to tell him about the false information, when I think about what someone said to me during Freshman O, "They appreciate it more and think more highly of you if you talk to them yourself. You've got to have initiative." So, I decided to face the potential wrath of the AMOI.
After morning PT I decide to wait around until he's done talking to the upperclassman to bother him. As I'm waiting around one of OCS grads comes by, and I inquire about how I should address the AMOI in this situation. He told me to just follow his lead because he had to talk to him also. So very quickly it's my turn to talk to him. The meeting went better than I expected, haha surprise. The AMOI seemed to be in a good mood, either that or he was tired from being sick, but anyway, he was more pleasant about the false information than I expected. He asked me what I needed and then said, "Is there anything you can do about your (insert choice word here)name and spell check?" except it wasn't so much a question as a statement. So I told him what I did wrong and he changed the information and then told me to leave. He then called me back and asked me if I had seen another one of the freshmen because as he put it, "Either he's a (insert choice word) genius, or he did exactly what you did." So I went on my first mission: Locate said freshman. I didn't find the freshman so I called the guys number and left a message on his voicemail and then sent him a text telling him that the AMOI wanted to see him ASAP about some possibly false information.
I than had to decide about whether or not I should bother the AMOI again and tell him that I was unable to find said freshman and instead called him and left him a few messages. After consulting someone else about my indecision, I went to go tell the AMOI about the new situation. He appreciated it. So if that guy never went to see the AMOI...it's not my fault. But I'll check with the freshman tomorrow to see if he did.
Ever had one of those days where you just want to crawl back into bed and not leave? Of course you have, everyone has. Well, Wednesday was that kind of day for me. There are two kinds of PT, there's hard PT that leaves you feeling great, and there's PT that leaves you feeling like crap. Wednesday was the day for PT to make me feel like crap. So after PT I crawl back into bed and when I wake up I feel like I've been beaten with a sledge hammer. I then find a message from my Squad Leader telling me that I need to have another meeting with the AMOI about the paperwork I was filling out. *insert feeling of dread*
So after my math class I head over to the AMOI's office. During the math class we got the results of our midterms back. Yeah, mine was not good. This day was starting out really well. When I get to the AMOI's office before I even introduce myself formally he tells me to come in. Not a good sign. That and he didn't say good afternoon back to me. He then proceeds to ask me what my name is, so I tell him. Here's the story behind my name and what comes next. I have a name that Microsoft Word doesn't like. It loves to autocorrect it. I have it set up on my computer so that it doesn't autocorrect it but when I transferred the paperwork to another computer it autocorrected it and I didn't catch it. I didn't think about it because it shouldn't have been an issue, but it was. So anyway, he then starts to yell at me for a number of things. Basically he was calling me out for not being proactive, not paying attention to details, and not following directions. The not following directions part was motly because I had attached a typed statement to the paperwork and the directions had said to handwrite the statement. Originally I had handwritten the statement but the 1st Sergeant who looked over my paperwork said that everyone else had typed theirs and he wanted me to type it to be like theirs (I had showed him where in the directions it said to handwrite the statement). So I typed it and turned the paperwork in.
By the time the AMOI is done yelling at me I've got five minutes to get to class. But that's not what's on my mind at that moment at least not until he asks me if I have time to redo the paperwork. I decided that it would be in my best interest to redo the paperwork at that exact moment and be late to class than it would be for me to tell him no, I didn't have the time. So I redid the paperwork and handed it back into him. He's calmed down by now because he then asks me if the name issue was a computer error and I told him that it was, because it was true. He then asked me how I fixed it. Apparently he had been very close to having me come into his office and fix the autocorrect on his computer myself. So I told him how to fix it. He then told me to get out. I was now officially ten minutes late for class. Yay. Sadly, getting yelled at was the better part of my day.
So I decided later, once I calmed down and started thinking rationally again, that I was going to inform the AC 1st Sergeant that the AMOI had wanted the statement handwritten. So the next morning (Thursday morning) I said, "The AMOI, wanted the statement handwritten." I said it nicely, like you would if you were just going to inform someone of something. And he said, "Oh...did he talk to you or flip out?" I told him that he had flipped out. And the 1st Sergeant said, "Uh, I'm sorry that was my fault. I'll go talk to him." When I heard that I kind of panicked. I'm sorry, but I've met with the AMOI more times than I cared to in one week and I really wanted to avoid another meeting with him. Yes, I was under the impression that I was going to get into more trouble. And yes, I was scared. I told the 1st Sergeant that he didn't have to do that, but he still went to talk to him anyway.
Now we're at the present day. I was really worried that I would have to explain why I didn't defend myself about the written statement, because honestly, I couldn't. I wouldn't have been able to explain why I didn't speak up, at least not without getting into more trouble. But thankfully, I didn't have to. Huge relief. Today's PT (Friday) was really easy, too easy actually. It consisted of 2 reps of 3, 4, 5, 6, 3, pull-ups and a max set of pull-ups and then 20, 25, 30, 35, 20, crunches and a max set of crunches in one minute. Of course, I had to use a pull-up band because I'm not strong enough to do one by myself yet, but I found out that the band I'm currently using is now making it too easy for me so I can move to up to the next band. Yay me!
So PT was good this morning, the bad part was I was moderately dehydrated so at the end I was feeling really faint and felt like I was going to pass out. Not good. Must drink more water throughout the day. So after that I realized that it was only 0650 so I could head back to my dorm to sleep for an extra half hour. On my way back I run into my friend and AC buddy, and she's heading back to the Unit so I decide to head back with her. Well, apparently I was more tired than I thought because when we got back to the Unit I almost fell asleep in a chair. Now what's wrong with falling asleep at the Unit? Well, nothing as long as you don't mind being at the mercy of whoever walks into the area and sees you sleeping. Anyone can mess with you while you're sleeping, whether it be someone drawing on your face or one of the SSgts going DI on you. For example, in study hall one of the other Midshipman fell asleep and one of the upperclassmen saw him sleeping, the upperclassmen said, "Hey, somebody mess with him. Do it!" Good thing the kid woke up.
So as I'm falling asleep in the chair my Company CO wanders in and starts to talk to me. I've never really talked to the guy. We just hadn't crossed paths a whole lot. He seems pretty nice. So I get back to my dorm and fall asleep and hated to hear my alarm telling me that it's time to get up and go to class. My bed was nice and warm. But I got up anyway. Hated every minute of it. I then walked two miles to take my uniform to be tailored before I needed to wear it. That was a fun walk. It was later in the day that I realized that the bicep in my right arm was really hurting and it wasn't an "I'm sore" type of hurt. It only hurt when I tried to straighten out my arm or lift anything. Great, just what I need. So I really don't think that anything is wrong with it other than it being sore but if it still hurts tomorrow like it does now, I'm going to consider telling someone.
Oh, and to top off the day I found out that the Unit is now requiring everyone to get flu shots. Yippee, ki-yay. I'm so excited for that. And they want proof of the shot. Yay.
However, the most epic part of the day was when I was waiting for my Naval
Science class at the unit to start and saw some guy with a mohawk and a trenchcoat walk by the door. I had to stop and think about whether or not I had actually saw what I saw because it wasn't normal for hte unit. A trenchcoat? A mohawk? In a building full of crew cuts and shaved heads? Thankfully someone behind me said, "Am I the only one who saw that?" which told me that I hadn't been seeing things. Lol
So today was overall a good day, compared to yesterday it was an amazing day. I'm beginning to think I'm Murphy's second cousin or something. Anyway, first off today for PT it was a workout called Pack Appreciation. Let's just say that I learned that if it looks nasty on paper it is most likely even more nasty in the actual event. I've never before in my life received more bruises than I did within 20 minutes today and I do NOT appreciate my pack any more than I did before. Pack Appreciation consisted of putting a 50 lb sandbag into your pack and doing 3 sets of the workout. The workout was:
10 push-ups at the first cone, a buddy drag for 30 ft to the next cone where you do 10 squats, you then do lunges from the second cone to the third cone (30 ft), at the third cone you then did 10 burpees (a push-up then you jump to you feet and do a jumping-jack), after the burpees you army-crawled from third cone to the fourth one, at the fourth cone you did 10 kettle bell swings you then you two footed jumped 10 small hurdles from the fourth cone to the first cone. That was one set.
Normally this wouldn't have been too difficult but add a 50 lb sandbag to that and something easy because very difficult. By the time I got done with the first set I was ready to fake an injury or fake passing out. I had sweat running down my face and was breathing way too hard. But I decided that faking an injury would not be good in any way, shape, or form, so I finished the workout. In the end I had was having difficulty standing up but hey I did it. I completed the workout from hell.
After I was done the Major came over to see how I was doing. He then inquired as to whether or not I thought I could complete that workout when I first arrived at the Unit. And honestly, no, I definitely wouldn't have been able to. I would have quit and said I was done. I love mind games. That's all that really was, a mind game and a physically and mentally exhausting one at that. I left that workout feeling better than I had when I went in, so it was a good workout.
The best part of the day was when I was in my Naval Science class and we were being taught when and when not to salute. Well, the instructor was using me as an example and we were having a "conversation" and the MIDN who was supposed to be doing the saluting walked up to the instructor and I and said, "Good afternoon, gentlemen." and gave his salute. I was acting as an unofficial "Captain." Now for starters. The instructor is a guy, and I am a girl. After cutting my salute I said, "Gentlemen?" The room got really quiet and I could tell that the instructor and the other instructor in the room are really trying hard not to laugh. Me? Well, I was just staring at the kid. I have never been called a gentleman before and I've been called large amount of weird things before. Well the first instructor (the one who I was in conversation with) walks back to his desk and tells me "I'll let you handle this one." So I ask the kid, "Do I look like a guy? Do I?" Now the instructors are laughing, and the rest of the class is smirking. I don't blame them, it was funny, but was this kid serious? I don't look like anything like a guy! So I then told him, "In this case, you would have said 'Good afternoon, ma'am. Good afternoon, sir." I kind of feel sorry for the kid, but not enough to let him off the hook. So the rest of the class got a good lesson in how to address officers when there is a male and female. You always address the female first and using the proper greeting of the day and by the correct gender. Remember that everyone.
So attached are a few photos of the outward effects of today's Pack Appreciation workout. And yeah, it does hurt, but it's also extremely awesome.
So, I got in trouble today during our drill period for taking notes. It started out as me simply doodling in my notebook during the brief. I know, I know, not very professional of me and slightly rude, but not too long after I started, maybe 30 seconds, I received a poke in the shoulder from the upperclassman behind me. Well, I thought that this was for doodling and so I put my pencil down. A little while later I saw something interesting in the presentation that I wanted to write down, so I started to write it down and received another poke in the shoulder. Okay, that's interesting, but I put my pencil down again. I'm slightly confused by now because no one else was getting in trouble for writing notes. A while later, turns out it was a two hour brief not the usual hour and a half, I again see something interesting in the presentation and I start to write it down, but am quickly told to go stand up in the back of the briefing room. Alright, now I'm really confused. Why am I getting in trouble for writing notes and no one else is? What was going on? So I do as I'm told and stand in the back of the room and finish watching the presentation while still trying to figure out why I was in trouble. About five minutes later I'm told to go sit back down, so I do, because I'm a good little Freshman and do as I'm told to do. After the brief is done the person who told me to go stand up asked me if I knew why I was told to go stand up. And I told her no, I didn't know because I truely did not know why I got in trouble. As it turns out, they thought I was falling asleep. Multiple people did and swore they saw my eyes close. The disciplinary action for falling asleep during military classes or briefs here is making the offending person stand up in the back of the room, there may be a paper involved too, I don't know. So, feeling the need to defend my actions I told the person that I wasn't falling asleep and had been trying to write things down off of the slides for the presentation. Because I truly had been trying to write notes and I wasn't even tempted to fall asleep, I wasn't that tired. She then told me that next time to make my note taking more obvious to avoid another misunderstanding. I can prove that I had been taking notes. You will see sentences that are half finished because I was either poked or told to stand up every time I tried to write something down. I really hope I don't have to write an essay or do work detail because of a misuderstanding.
So I haven't had a good look at my bruises today, yet, but my left bicep really hurts and I can't pop my shoulder to make it feel better. And my friend graduates from boot camp on Friday. Yay! He'll be coming home temporarily and I can talk to him again. Because he did not write back to me after I sent him a letter. He had two months to do it and he didn't. So he's going to get an earful. On the downside I found out that the one person I my age, who I looked up to, decided that he didn't want to be a Marine anymore and quit before he attended boot camp. And then proceeded to lie about his reasons to his and my recruiters. Yeah, I felt great after that. He was one of the people who you knew would go through with what he wanted, he was the motivator, the guy every looked to for help, and he quit. I'm so mad at him right now. I guess I leanred another life lesson about having role models my own age. They're unreliable.