Wednesday, September 30, 2009


So I went and spoke to my DAC (Counselor) as planned yesterday. Basically I got politely told to pull my head out of my ass. Grades are okay but I have been a little bit of a fool with regards to a couple of classes. My evenings have been spent leisurely and my days frought with naps... now it's time to roll up my sleeves and actually work. All of my procrastination hasn't come to a head... it's been caught in time to fix, but that makes it no less of a daunting task to turn a C+ and a C into two bonafide B+'s.
So I made a deal with my DAC, rather he told me exactly what I needed to do and I agreed to implement it and he swore to keep on my case until I succeeded. His goal is for me to graduate with honors. This means a GPA of 3.0 and a Law Dept GPA of 3.5
I have an overall GPA of 2.9 and cannot afford anything less than a B. I certainly need to exceed this with as many classes as possible. Falling behind this early is... unacceptable. I've never felt so caught. Usually it's not till the 9 weeks that I'm concerned or thinking about grades. It's half-way through the semester and I'm getting my wake-up call. I can't tell if that's good or bad.
Oh well, anyway here is the plan: I make a trade-off: either the boyfriend or my naps during the day. If I take naps, I have to devote my evenings to homework. If I do my homework during the day and am fully prepared for the next day I can see my boyfriend. Joy. It's a sensible plan, one I considered but would never have honestly implemented. Now, I'm being told by my DAC to try this plan... what choice did I have but to propose the idea to my boyfriend?
And he completely supports it, even suggested we go to the library this weekend because he's got a lot of work to do too. Which is good... but my naturally lazy self is so opposed to this plan. I have been picking up motivation in athletics and would surely love to let academics slide by the wayside. Instead... yesterday I confined myself to my room suspending all athletic activity-indeed all extracurricular activity-altogether and I caught up as much as possible on academics. It was so difficult to sit there and do homework straight for hour after hour (with 15-20 minute breaks) but it was my day to get my head straight for academics. Today I will do exercise, but I've handled such a large chunk of academic workload that I can comfortably afford it.
Today the budding women's boxing team is going off post I suppose to some sort of boxing gym. I think we just might hit each other today. I'm so pumped and I totally need to let off steam. All this focus on academics has made me grouchy. Part of me is jumpy and wants to sit here at my desk until I'm all caught up, but another part of me knows I will benefit from continuing to try to excel in every single pillar.
I left out militarily how I'm doing, but that's fine too. Tonight after I return from boxing I am going to be counseling all three of my team leaders and inputting my suggested grade for them and for their plebes. That itself will probably take a minimum of an hour and I get back at 2100 approximately from boxing. Looks like this essay on travel for English will have to write itself late tonight although at least I have a solid outline this time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Potentially We Have Potential

Today I re-learned a wrestling move from watching the Div-1 wrestlers for about 20 seconds, wrestled hard live during intramurals against a 140 lb guy, inspired three people to go for a quick upper body lift with me after the wrestling, and went to Salsa Dance Lessons and proceeded to laugh my ass off with a good friend. I also confirmed with my friend in F-1 that I was committed to the women's boxing team I just needed reminders. It doesn't matter how much socially I have to give up I am pursuing this and keeping myself in shape if it's the last thing I do. Hopefully if I don't find wrestling in Portugal I can at the very least find a boxing or kick-boxing gym. I've been thinking ahead how I will stay in shape while I'm abroad. On one hand European meals are longer and healthier, but on the other hand I'll sort of be feeling like I'm 'on holiday' and might overindulge. I may be able to work out less often since I'll be living at a regular college with a city and pubs and stores and people to meet. It might actually cost me money to use gym facilities, another consideration. Just to throw that out there I am thinking about it at least.

Have a meeting scheduled with my Dept. Academic Counselor tomorrow, should be fun really. All the instructors have been meeting with yearlings discussing their 'major' decision. Andy is actually losing a little sleep over it, kind of reminds me when I chose my major how much less I thought about alternative options. I visited the Dirt Dept. briefly but they tried too hard to get me to join their department. I like the instructors and the atmosphere as well as the class content of the law department more. I am also still determined to become fluent in Portuguese and am still bowled over that I'm going to Portugal. I'm certainly excited, although things are moving slowly.

Went to the PX with "Sunny" and bought some new white shirts as well as a multi-vitamin for active young women since the cadet health clinic insists on giving the females pre-natal vitamin pills. It really annoys me. I also got some whey protein for post-weight lifting consumption. I'm working out five days of the week (sometimes I skip a Thursday or Friday but I've been working out on Saturdays too now) and I feel more energy than usual.

Had some quality girl talk last night. My roommate is searching for a boyfriend and unfortunately I think she's looking so hard for a boyfriend she's looking at some guys through rose-colored spectaclels and missing out on casual dating. She's still so upbeat and doing great at academics. A girl down the hall complained she still loves her ex even though he cheated on her and she cheated on him. I shrugged, that girl never acts like she has a boyfriend so I don't see how her life has changed that much. I was surprised how silly some of the conversation was. Most of my two cents made well sense and I think everyone was unsettlingly surprised how pragmatic and practical my advice was. The oldest one there, our neighbor a senior, agreed with me the most and had the most mature point of view. One subject that came up was cheating. Senior AKA Lola (not her real name) had talked to a guy and sort of seen him while he was dating his current girlfriend while she was at semester abroad. He has cheated on his girlfriend more than once. Lola said he said skeazy comments like, "You're all I think about." and his girlfriend is back and Lola said she's not interested in him. Then sophomore down the hall AKA Linn (not real name), says,

"Don't you wish sometimes you could tell the girlfriend like show them the proof and tell them their boyfriend is cheating?"

and Lola replies,

"Yeah, but then she still calls you a slut and bitch for cheating with her boyfriend."

and my roommate retorts hotly,

"Any girl who does that is stupid!"

At which point I break in,

"No, Lola is right.  You [my roomie] damn well remember how it was, if this guy is over the top by saying you're all he thinks about and he sent you flowers you can bet he sounds so sincere to his girlfriend. If she gives a rats ass about him she'll not want to believe and she'll question the motive of the girl telling her the information. She'll wonder if this girl is just trying to get her to break up with her guy unfairly. Unless of course she already completely distrusts her boyfriend. It depends on the nature of the relationship."

Linn disagreed saying she'd believed a girl. I wanted to say Linn had no concept of fidelity, but managed to keep my mouth shut on that. My roomie sort of understood but not fully. Lola really got it though. And I got her. Even though we'd been the exact opposite roles in that situation with different people I realized I didn't like her any less, I did however find the guy weak and quite the P.O.S. Anyway didn't realize I could have so much fun or offer so much to the conversation.

As far as my own relationship status, true I have a boyfriend, but it's just seeing where it goes. We both have our own goals to pursue. I have boxing and wrestling and academics and lifting weights. I also have a semester abroad. I have salsa dancing and EST (shooting if possible). He has sprint football and academics and big decisions upon him plus one of the hardest academic years to face. He's on top of his game and so far so am I. I have two A's in classes. Soon to be three! At least I'm that optimistic. It's time for sleep or all my self-prophecies will be false for sure. Night.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Maniac I'm Looking For

I had some interesting and new experiences this week. I was present at a Brigade Level Board. Which was an experience not many get to witness, much less be an active player at. I spoke only twice. Once on command, and once I interjected - politely. The reason being one of my subordinates got an alcohol board, it's a pretty serious offense... but it still feels so surreal. Part of it felt like a puppet court. I felt like discussing the case with the BTO himself was deeply interesting, and the legality seemed a distant issue.
Another new experience I had the same day, that lunch actually, was attending the quarterback luncheon. I had no idea why we'd been invited, and assumed at first it was just for numbers. It turned out that the Law Department wants to check up on its little experiment of an all-cow (junior) class taking the mandatory Law class (LW403 mando/core requirement mostly firsties - seniors - take). I ended up not having to speak, and honestly couldn't think of much to say. I preferred the class with all law-dogs of course... but I was in it. Fortunately my counterparts "Boat" and "Kay" both had enough to say to satisfy the issue. The law instructors know my face pretty well by now since I did take an AIAD with them my plebe summer and I hung out at law functions because of my ex. The actual luncheon stood out in my mind because the food was very tasty and there was a lot of big brass and plenty of high-achieving outstanding cadets. The Superintendent (Supe), Current at the moment Commandant (Comm), and the Dean (the Dean) were all there too. After enjoying our meals and getting grilled on our LW403 class our ears were assaulted by the West Point Spirit Band (not the Army Band) with songs we were obligated to clap along to. Then the head coach got up and spoke to us in jargon only football players could really understand... "Double Eagle Flex" or something like that apparently originated in Canada where this is no room for something and here in America we don't usually stack a running back and something else? I was mostly flummoxed.

Finally more news. The current Commandant of Cadets BG Linnington is gone now. He's taken off. Arrivederci Suckers. Hasta La Vista Corps. Auf Wiedersehen Gang. The last two things I remember from his speech included a list and a charge.
The list was 5 possible things he might leave the corps with (1) PMI until Thanksgiving (2)Amnesty to all Alcohol-Boards (3) Civilian Clothes for Cows immediately (4) Unlimited OPPs for yuks and plebes or (5) Rescindment of the long-sleeve winter policy

We cheered and chanted for our favorite, but the decision hasn't been announced.
The other bit was that he charged us all to look out for our brothers and sisters at arms. Especially that we should go out and form those relationships that would last our lifetimes.
Our new Commandant has been here for two days reportedly although I don't recall seeing him (perhaps he was incognito in As-For-Class?) and he was a combat Engineer. The color of the Engineers is Red. Then there's Infantry Blue. Signal Orange. Artillery Yellow? I can't remember them all.
So now for a little more news. Our company went up against G-1 in wrestling and won. It was a nail-biter of a duel. My own match I won... but it was purely because my opponent was inexperienced. He was stronger than me and definitely didn't feel like he weighed 135 lb. Since the weigh-ins are observed by coaches... I'm willing to bet this kid was around heavy 140 lb. Anyway, after a slow start and a couple stupid mistakes on my part, I caught the kid on his back and pinned him. A good confidence boost combined with identification of the things I need to fix.
I've been working out regularly starting this week. I went to Hayes Gym (it's actually the obstacle course gym in Arvin Gym on the 2nd and 3rd floor) and ran on the track above the course. It's a small circuit, 11.7 laps to the mile. Although why the hell you'd be running for 11.7 laps escapes me. Why didn't they just make it 12 laps to a mile? So confusing. Anyway, I've been able to run for longer in the gym than I can on the treadmill or outdoors. I also have done two sets of sprints and the second set was longer than the first. Also now capable of 2 ankles to the bar. Success!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Been A While

I still have a cough. It seems to be a constant in my life. Speaking in general terms of life, West Point life has gotten ten times easier. I recall the harrowing experiences I had my plebe year and I look at some of these plebes and wonder why I felt life was so hard. It seems every company has a different climate. The one I'm in is much easier-going than the one I used to be in. I love my company to be honest.

I've finally started to make a few mistakes that put me on the radar. It's not a common occurence though, and my history should speak for itself. I missed a couple things this last Friday... but none of them were huge. Mostly it was because of a lack of sleep. A reason this post will not be long.

I sort of realize I'd be much happier if I was on some sort of corps or club squad sport. I would have a purpose outside of mindless cadet crap. The SAMIs and the 'unit training' and the TA-50 layouts. It's not like corps and club squadders get out of doing those things, but they have practices during some of our mandatory events and they have a sport to live for. It's no wonder sometimes I feel so cynical, when all I'm doing feels so small and pointless in the grand scheme of things. Oh I know it has nothing to do with power. I mean my friend is the Regiment Executive Officer. He's second in charge... the only reason he has this position is because he begged for a position that would let him be back in company for the sandhurst season. However, the consequence is he has to answer to someone else who is very demanding and thinks that in order to be an effective leader they must enforce some sort of new policy and new requirements. Notice I say 'new' not 'increased'. Anyway, that's his problem and story. Me? I'm doing okay I'm a squad leader and an intramural wrestler. It's funny to me how much I love wrestling and how much to a couple people it's just a filler.

There is one guy who just gets on my nerves. To him, it's just a silly sport and he's much more interested in learning 'real army skills'. He also can't say anything without coming across as a complete douchebag. Not exactly the social persona you want to have as a future PL I'd say. I'm okay with that though. I'm finding out that the type of person you need to be as an army leader varies greatly in the support branches. So when it comes to the self-analysis question of whether or not I am becoming the sort of person West Point wants me to be... I think I'll just refrain from answering. After all I get the impression West Point wants me to be an Army Infantry Officer and since I'm clearly not going to do that... well, anyway.

So I'm not sure there is going to be another wrestling tournament in NYC this year because I haven't seen any advertising for it and they haven't even posted the pictures from last years tournament. This distresses me. I wonder if it has anything to do with the timing of the Olympics... My lifting routine has suffered because of the past two weeks of basically being sick and having every plausible excuse to not work out too much in between practices. I am tired of this cough and want to be free of it as I work towards becoming amazing in wrestling and hell, amazing in my fitness otherwise. My abs are great I guess since I'm coughing so much. I also haven't had much of an appetite during the week. It might also be three years of this crappy food and I'm finally not stomaching it anymore.

In academics we've finally learned every tense of portuguese (not all the ins and outs and specifics but I can finally say present-, past-, future-, and command-tense). Sooo to say I talk, I am talking, I talked, and I will talk is: Falo, Falando, Falei, Falarei. Falarei com minha mae amanha. I will talk to my mother tomorrow.

As excited as I am to finally know all the tenses, I am tens times more excited and interested in my legal classes. I am a little slower than some of my fellow majors in learning the terminology (probably because I am so unfaithful in my reading of the material) but I have unique arguments and extremely insightful points of view. With those two skills I will do great if I actually put my nose to the grindstone and work. Alas this has always been my problem, I'm incredibly dreamy and this translates to me being somewhat lazy. It's easy to confuse the two.

Finally, all of my focus has been rather dreamy lately anyway because of my new relationship. Is it weird for me to date a sophomore? I can't tell, sometimes I feel slightly off about the situation but never about this guy. He's a great guy, great friend, and so far so good he seems to be in the 'normal' category... yeah he's dating a girl a grade above him... but hey, he's five months older than me. Which is about right for my age because I'm about a year behind my classmates' age and did skip a grade.