Getting your shoulder boards after the completion of Basic Cadet Training, you feel like you are on top of the world. You have so many new privileges that you can hardly fathom it, and a majority of our civilian college counterparts could probably hardly fathom that we consider such things "privileges". You move into your new squadron, have candy thrown at you by upperclassmen, and you really feel like you are on your way.
As the academic year begins, here are some of the unavoidable "Doolie" feels of USAFA...
1. Running the strips for the first time.
2. Trying to find all your classes in Fairchild.
4K21? Yeah I'm gonna give myself an extra hour or two for commute.
3. Once you find all your classes, and realize they really weren't kidding when depicting to you the rigor of the academics.
4. Eating a meal not at attention for the first time in Mitchell Hall and almost wishing you still weren't allowed to look at your food.
5. Meeting your training staff for the first time.
6. Not being permitted to close your door until ACQ.
We all know blues pants aren't the coziest homework attire.
7. "I get to sleep in so much longer than in Basic, this is great!"
wakes up for minutes for the third morning in a row
8. Parents weekend. An important milestone- to see the pride on their faces is indescribable. And you get to revert to being a kid for three days.
9. "Oh yeah, I've got the knowledge test under control, no worries Coach."
10. Texts: "Yo who's at CQ"
calls: "Yo who's at CQ"
knocks on door: "Yo who's at CQ"
climbs through window: "Yo who's at CQ"
11. No music? That's okay, I'll just make my own. Have fun listening through my perpetually open door.
12. How you feel after an intense training session.
13. When you greet someone properly in the halls all by yourself for the first time.
14. When you're on the strips and an upperclassman tells you to have a nice day.
It'll always brighten our day a little bit.
15. EI on the 6th floor.
16. As soon as you hear the words "hall brawl" you're in the hallway- despite the fact that it may be 1 A.M. and you have two GRs tomorrow.
17. Trying to find a car to borrow for the weekend...
18. ...Or just having to make the most of your restriction.
19. Going home for the first time and having homemade food.
20. Coming back from Thanksgiving break to finish off the last couple weeks of the semester...
21. ...And leaving for Christmas knowing you have your first semester behind you and almost three weeks of break ahead of you.
22. Coming back from break and realizing... Recognition is upon us.
Recognition is one of USAFA's best kept secrets. As I write this, I am a Doolie, only 2 days out from Recognition weekend, and I know little to nothing of what is about to take place. Recognition is a right of passage; a culmination of all of the training we have received as our lives have been transformed over the past eight and a half months. Recognition is when we earn our rights - to be at rest upon leaving our rooms, to wear civilian clothes, to step off of the strips.... Recognition is when we have the opportunity to prove that we deserve to be officially accepted into the cadet wing, and to earn our coveted Prop & Wings (if we make it that far, of course).
So even though I can't tell you about Recognition, I will let you in on another USAFA secret: we are all beyond blessed to be here. We are all blessed to have the opportunity to serve our country. Yes, the point of this listicle was to compile relatable and laughable idiosyncrasies of Cadet life, all in good humor. But here are some of the aspects not described in the above, that are the backbones of life at our institution:
The indescribable sense of fulfillment that comes with serving something bigger than yourself.
It is an honor to serve the United States of America, and that is something we will not forget.
Forming the greatest bonds of your life with your fellow cadets.
The hard times only bring you closer... you don't make it through this place alone.
Striving to make those who came before you proud.
Excellence in all we do; the opportunity to join the Long Blue Line is nothing to be taken lightly.
Becoming a warrior.
Becoming a leader.
Becoming a better person.
Becoming an Airman.
We all bleed blue.