Sunday, February 15, 2009

Article 1: Sleep Cycles

At West Point, there are few cadets who go to sleep early. Those who do amaze and astound us night owls. Our schedules are hectic here. Wake up? Depends if you have a morning work out, or if you have a random drug test (via urinalysis, there's no better way to start the morning if you wake up dehydrated right?) or the occasional health and welfare inspection. At least the latter is fair since the entire company is roused at some ungodly hour and instructed in whatever clothes you have on to sit outside your room and wait for a small team of three to four active-duty senior NCO's and Officers to individually inspect each room looking for things that would be, well, a danger to our "health and welfare". Drug tests only affect about thirty or forty unlucky individuals.

Perhaps you like waking up early? Well say a cheery good morning to 0520 hours if you want to get a lane at the pool or a stationary bike in the '69 work-out room. Then squeeze a shower in before breakfast formation and breakfast at roughly 0700 hours. In case you thought you could relax, the first hour of classes is at 0730 sharp. There's no guarantee you will have one of these morning classes, but there is a significantly strong chance you will.

At 1250 the plebes (freshmen) announce to the company that lunch formation goes and in what uniform. You rush from class to your room to drop off books and lock up your laptop in case there is a random security inspection. You run to formation and if it's Monday (who doesn't love 'em?) you get to march in a haphazard formation in front of typically empty stands, a few stern officers, a handful of cadets who "grade" your performance and all to the monotonous beat of a drum and the annoying blare of bugles. You can't blame the band, all they do is their job, and to be honest it's not half bad except your marching over the parade field and there is goose shit everywhere.

Cut scene to Dean's hour. The hour set aside after lunch for a natural pause. During this hour a still settles over the barracks and you can feel the reluctance to go through with the second half of the day. At 1355 hours classes start again stat. At 1600 extracurriculars begin. There are so few afternoons that belong to you individually. At this point most teams are impatiently waiting for those who have last hour to grab their gear and meet at Arvin Gym, or the track, or at Mac Arthur's Statue, and before this most of the corps-squaders have already begun practice.

Finally as long as you aren't a plebe and it isn't Thursday Night Dinner you get to the evening. It may be anywhere from 1730 to 1845 by the time you are sitting in your room alone and contemplating the night's work. Hopefully you don't have a 1930 briefing in Rob Auditorium and you can take a shower and start on tonight's homework.

Unless maybe the thought of giving 'the man' your free hours distresses or annoys you. Then you might be the kind who puts your homework off. Defiantly kicking up your feet and surfing facebook or talking to your roommate if the two or three of you get along. Maybe you take a nice long shower, and maybe afterwards you start to read the book you've been wanting to, or perusing the magazine that's been glossily waiting in your second desk drawer. There's also all the little things you just have to do. You have to do laundry, and you have to clean up for the next day's A.M. Inspection, and you have to eat dinner.

What about the fun extracurricular activities at West Point? They do exist in the form of language clubs and dance lessons or the infantry tactics club if you're a little more HOOAH. When are you supposed to catch up on the latest gossip involving your circle in the throng of 4,000? Not when you're busy thinking about how you're going to finish an Excel File, a 2,000 word essay, ten pages for economics, and by the way you have to reset your PIN for you military I.D. because your computer just gave you the blue screen of death and thinks you tried the wrong PIN the max number of times so you need to go to the fourth floor of Washington Floor and stop by the S-1's office too.

I wish I still went to sleep by half past midnight. I've pulled all-nighter's now. Two in one month and right before major tests too. Just a small idea of the insanity dealt with every day. I'm not trying to get crappiest schedule of the year award, just trying to relate a lot at one time to people who don't know the school. If you have questions, let me know. I'll post a few examples of weeks (not just mine) hopefully in the near future. To be continued...

No comments:

Post a Comment