Thursday, April 28, 2011


I wish I had as much inspiration to write my research papers as I do to write about how much I can't wait to move out of west point.  While it has been an interesting and fun four years, there is also just a general frustrating edge to having to share one room with another person or two people.  And the impressions you leave are long-lasting and frustrating.  One ex-roomy told me the other morning how much she hated my old fan.  I am still at a loss why she hated it, it was a free fan I'd picked up it was functional, I don't remember it... I didn't realize she expected me to spring for a new one.

Recently I've been getting the silent treatment for apparently wasting the day by sleeping.  Again, I am confused.  How does my sleeping ruin your day?  Why won't you just tell me?  What does it matter?  I'm still in shape and still get my work done... I just like sleep.  It's my life and prerogative... or sorry about that I don't have a boyfriend to spend 80% of my time with or a hefty social network with mentors and former instructors who whisk me away on brunches on Sunday or to go shopping with on a Thursday afternoon.  Gee, my bad.  Let me get to work on my schedule, do you wanna run an eye over it?  Ya know I'd hate to be falling short of the productivity expectations you apparently have for me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Qual Lingua Essa?

Late tonight I am up and looking at my summer budget side by side with my big to-do list before graduation can be considered a go.

I am also throwing up various windows either a youtube video on the horrors of Unit 731 or my thesis or my thesis advisor's corrections or my AKO email or my Outlook or my steadfast gmail.  Facebook is a warm fuzzy distraction and to be honest a great way to get quick help or insight.  It's just that social networks and gmail are so much more convenient than most Department of Defense websites.  Not to mention they are more user-friendly and take less time to load.  Half of the links in the military web-world are broken or they are huge websites that take forever to load.  I am curious who puts them together... I thought the Army was supposed to be cutting edge technology where was all that money going before we started having to consider budget cuts?  Haha anyway...

It's a lot and I could compress each one into larger categories or take each task one at a time, but at the moment all I can do is think that the weeks until graduation are much too short and where did this semester go and how, how am I supposed to remember everything from the year for final examinations?!  Board is still pending, but to clarify any confusion I'm only in trouble for the lates and absence that are in the past.  No new broken rules lol just goes to show you how slow bureaucracy is, don't it?

Besides really really needing to go to the store I need to finish getting all my graduation uniform pieces including my beret and my properly sized uniforms!  I also would like to buy a few new sets of ACUs that fit and am thoroughly pissed I let them give me medium ACUs.  I'm a friggin' buck and twenty-five more or less!  Where the hell did they get medium from?  Now I have uselessly baggy ACUs and it's already hard enough to look professional in uniform when it looks like I'm swimming in them it's a joke.

At least I feel a little bit more on top of the transportation deal from West Point, as I have been asking around and hearing more confusion from my classmates than I expected.  I've started to shake the feeling that I'm completely clueless... although yeah sometimes I feel like that girl except it's college and I don't have a fabulously rich background (which is a shame haha).

Right now I am still itching to study languages again.  I started Farsi (Persian) but had to drop it temporarily to finish my writing assignments, still a friend of mine is recommending a girl we went to high school with who speaks Farsi if I want someone to practice with after I get back to studying the language, and that's exciting and encouraging!  I'm still practicing and trying to improve my Portuguese of course.  I am also happy when I hear Spanish and understand pretty well.  My German is slow but steady and I know in Germany I'll be sure to have opportunities to improve.  I also have looked at Urdu in the Livemocha community but it seems pretty poorly monitored, maybe the Army's Rosetta Stone will be the next option.  I still dislike Rosetta Stone but that's because I hate not being able to figure out what exactly it is that I've learned and I think it does horrible at that.  But at least it is pretty stable across the board in the way it presents languages...

Anyway, it's back to work once again!  Back into the fray one last time for the undergrad world.  After this it's all easy, right???  (of course not... how silly of me...)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21st Update

I have some good news, and I have some stressful news, and I guess I might have what could be considered bad news but I've come to terms with it.

I have written some blogs that have an edgy critical tone to them, but I haven't posted most of them because I write them when I'm in the full grip of my emotional reactions.  I still wear my emotions on my sleeve.  Looks like my 46 month experience hasn't "cured" me of that old habit.  I look at my life right now and I wonder if it's supposed to be so disheveled.  It feels like I'm balancing on a tight-rope... like the beginning of my cadet career was a wide open road that, as time progressed, narrowed to an uphill path, and then a sunny alpine summit which was also the point of no return when I fully committed to five years in the U.S. Army.  Now I've crossed some rickety wooden foot-bridges and finally I'm at the edge, so close yet so far from graduation.

The good, or humorous, news is that I got back my Portuguese Defense Language Proficiency Test Scores back and I got a 26/30 on the Listening portion which is a 2+ and 30/30 on the Reading portion which is a 3.  That's almost maxing the test!  I'm hoping to use this as proof that I have the ability to learn languages and maybe be sent to study more languages in the future.  I also took the test in Spanish and German.  In German, which I've only been trying to mostly teach myself for not quite yet a year, I got a 1 in both Listening and Reading.  In Spanish I got a 1 and 2 respectively.  Not too bad for a language I've specifically avoided since beginning to study Portuguese, and I'm still quite pleased about the Portuguese results.  I am a little bit saddened that in order to get even basic Farsi or Dari or Pashtun I will need to study for at least a full year especially given these languages are so much more difficult.  However, I am hoping that learning so many different languages has given me an edge in learning other languages a little bit faster each time.  At least it seems sometimes that as I study I'm just increasing my mind's flexibility to identify objects at a level that almost seems language-ambiguous.  Of course can't change one's native tongue, but native-English speaker isn't a bad thing at any rate, and there's plenty of time for me to improve in other languages.

The stressful news is my to-do list is out the door it's so long!  Today I took care of a handful, but there's so many people I need to call or offices I need to stop by and two big papers to finish (which I guess I should be writing now as opposed to this blog, but that's neither here nor there).  I also have a shopping list that needs to be checked off and soon.  I've got to throw out worn out clothes and donate the ones I just don't wear anymore (which is difficult for me to admit).  I didn't turn in some of my big coats from West Point and I'm not sure what I'll do with that... We get to ship some things home, some to our TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment... don't ask me what the Y stands for! but let me know if you know...), and some to our Permanent Duty Station.  I've got to figure out what is going where and what the heck I'm going to do with my car... I just realized even if I ship my car to Germany (since the Army will do that I hear...) I don't have a driving license for there... so... now I have some questions that require answers and I probably should call the travel Counselor.

And finally the bad news I guess.  I am getting in trouble, though it looks like not until next week, which is okay because this weekend is the only one I had anything planned where I wanted to get out of here at least until graduation week.  I'm so excited, yet I've been distant to people asking me about my pre-graduation plans.  In my mind, I need to get a grip of my to-do list before it spirals out of control, and then I can respond more kindly to all these inquiries.  I feel bad, but I think I'm a little bit more scatter-brained than most when it comes to this place.  There's just so much here that I feel apathetic towards, it's difficult to filter what is important and really put my heart and soul into those projects.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This Academy

Had a scary dream that my dream guy got engaged. In the dream it was after several years of waiting so long for him (I was much older in the dream and apparently single and waiting on this guy), that when I found out he was taken, it was a crushing blow.  I think this is an internal warning for me to avoid setting my expectations in stone for others in the future.  I have to pursue my own goals, or I might trap myself in disappointment - but this was only the beginning of unfortunate events this week.

Speaking of disappointment in Cadet Land... I'm getting recommended for a military 'C' which means just plain vanilla average, so it shouldn't bother me, but it was the wording that bothered me, "[This Cadet] has improved vastly... but I feel she is behind the curve of her classmates."

What curve?  I'm sorry what more have I failed to do in my hardly existent job?  Did I turn in pointless weekly reports in too late one too many a time?  Did I not have useless information to you soon enough?  I stopped arguing with you so much, and my grade stays flatline and you think I'm still behind the curve... what the hell was the grading methodology?  I bring up valid points.  I differentiate between this fake world and the world we're going into.  I have enthusiasm, and the desire to do the right thing no matter what.  I get frustrated with incompetence and get snippy when my superiors try to tell me something without a proper explanation.  I'm not so stupid as to complain blindly.  I have never just bitched and moaned about something unless I really thought it was screwed up.  And my job is... to make sure four of my peers, and three juniors... do their job.  What more could I/should I have done?  What's the point?  Thanks for the mid-term counseling that said, "Just don't argue with the system so much." and then turn around and say I still missed the point.  What was the point?  The point was that I'm a poor cadet who doesn't grasp the concept of being a silly, mindless twat who has my nose so far in a Standard Operating Procedure book he cannot see past the voluminous yet sharply lacking pages to see the human side of the men and women he leads.  The point is that if you look at my performance it has always been best at the things that will probably matter more in my job.  I'm still a smart, proficient, intelligent woman.  And you claim that I'm behind the curve... what curve?  Who gave you the right to make up a stupid curve?  Just say I'm average and I would accept it without question, maybe even with a smile.  I know I'm not average in everything... but I would accept being called average.  But being called behind my peers??? As though by some ridiculous chance I'm actually less mature than the ones against whom you compare me?  I pride myself on a couple things, and that is certainly one of them.  I may screw up time and time again, but we all do, and if you look at the content of my work and the content of my words... you might see I actually surprisingly surpass some of my classmates, asshole.  Inadvertent asshole that you are being.

So much pent up... so much held inside.  I feel as though I'm reeling back three and half years of bitterness aching to escape my mouth.  Just the other day I was threatened with a warning of a 'regulations' violation.  The intent of the rule I broke is to prevent inappropriate behavior.  It is a rule rarely enforced... and usually the perpetrators are just unlucky enough to be caught by the kind of Cadet who either has no social skills to speak of or is the ultimate hypocrite.  And now I have two lates to the same class that are going to get me hours in Central Area.  Good, than I can join the real Corps, not the supposed fake one full of nervous ninnies aching to shine in the academic and promotional arena.  I'm here to do the right thing and make a difference at the lowest levels for my time... and I pray the real Army frustrates me a fraction as much as this God-awful Cadet World where up is down, right is wrong, and the Honor Code is more important than real Honor.  I feel like I live in a dystopia.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick Update for the Beginning of April

This week I am a little rushed as I add the conclusion to my trip to San Remo, Italy as I left that hanging in my last entry.

The current tempo makes me feel like the 47-month experience has been a long swim.  Sometimes I've been struggling under the surface, sometimes just going with the flow, and now graduation is like some waterfall looming ahead. I'm being pulled along faster and inevitably towards that ultimate end of my time as a cadet.

I have not been having moments of self doubt about my decision to come here, but about my preparation.  And then there are moments where I am acutely aware of the burden about to be placed on my shoulders.  Sometimes I feel like I'm taking a heavy weight on my chest, and other times I feel twinges of the same enthusiastic excitement that gripped me when I first received acceptance into this academy.  I had an early notice of acceptance, and maybe that made me think a little less on my decision, but I am here now and I am sure that I can have a positive impact on my Army.  And that is something that some very smart men and women I have met have told me, and that is their belief that my unique perspective will do good for the Army. The Army needs intelligent Officers in every branch, and the junior officer is the level of Officer closest to the Soldiers that make up the greater warfighting organization.  The junior officer is important because to do your duty at that level means little credit but great impact, and while you may never have to exert the power associated with your role if your senior Noncommissioned Officers are doing their jobs, it is your duty as a junior officer to be ready for your Soldiers and for the Army and for your country.  Doing the right thing is in the end better for everyone, even if difficult and even if it threatens your own existence.

At any rate, I have thought on my decision since arrival and concluded this is where I belong right now.  I've faced many challenges, and events and things which have changed my point of view many times.  And that is where the self doubt has crept into my life, and not for long either, but I simply questioned how I have evaluated people in the past.  It's natural to have some predisposition towards people, but I had tried to neatly categorize them in my mind and this trip to San Remo, Italy made me question myself and my methods.  There were moments where I wondered if I was in fact projecting onto others judgments I actually felt about myself.

In the end, it is impossible for me to perfectly assess everyone in my life.  I can no sooner see what is going on in someone else's head than they can see into mine.  Our thoughts are fluid things anyway, and what our minds process to be true can be turned upside down in an instant.  So, confident that I can never be entirely confident, I continue the journey.