Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Role Call!

I am currently writing an 8 page Internation Relations Paper right now. I'm sorry if the last post came across as too whiny. There is a lot to cover and I intend to do so but in good time. Classes are a little rough due to time crunches. There are also grades dependent on our physical activity and our "military" aptitude.

It's a little puzzling that we subject ourselves to such a harsh system of judgment. Apparently I have roughly a B- in Military Development grade, but the funny thing is that I'll bet that will have little to no bearing on whether I'll be a good leader in the future. I constantly hear cadets berating themselves for not rising to the occasion. There are few particularly gifted cadets that sort of have a better attitude, but they are far and few in between and hell we're all a little bit warped for putting ourselves through this. Somewhere in our mutinous muttering and hidden in our bitching and moaning is an affection for West Point. There is also this self-image of exalted humility or of suffering for the greater good of humanity. West Pointers in general - myself included - are primarily type A personalities, we've been told we're natural-born leaders, we're self-critical and never satisfied. Is it necesarily a bad thing? I don't think so. I think we really love this place and think we'll never live up to the image we've developed of the perfect officer, or the unknown image we have yet to solidify but have started to conjure up.

There are many other great organizations with pressure to live up to high standards exists. Any Ivy League school, or pro-football, or even being the perfect housewife. All of these roles emphasize certain sets of skills and values. West Point is no different. The secret to West Point is that it really is impossible to perfectly balance it all. You might be a pentathlete and wine and dine at the Dean's home. Fit and smart and hard-working you won't be the fittest though, or the smartest, or the hardest-working and even if you are the hardest-working you may not have the highest military grade. Maybe you had a lazy squad leader or a platoon leader who just didn't take a liking to you. Maybe you weren't doing perfect 100% of the time. And you know what? For all the cadets hyperventilating at this thought out there tonight possibly at this very hour... that's okay. Take a deep breath and calm down. Yeah, you too Psuedo-Mr. Incredible. Faux-Miss Everything-in-its-place-all-the-time. Maybe you're bitter and in the bottom half, or jaded and somewhere in the middle. Maybe your skeptical and in denial at either the extreme top or bottom. The point is... West Point may as well be a giant social experiment. Don't worry though... be happy.

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