As I begin my junior year at Norwich University in the Corps of Cadets, I reflect back on my time here as a freshman and sophomore and how I behaved in each of those roles. As a freshman, I had my issues but I always tried as hard as I could to be successful in my position and to do the right thing. I will be the first to admit that it took me longer than some to get it right, however I knew what school I was at and how I should act to my peers and my superiors. Though I did not enjoy having to square and look straight all of the time, I still did it and never moaned about it to my superiors or acted as if they had it out for me. I was messed up and they were fixing me. I had the typical complaints of wanting Rookdom to be over, but I never showed my discontent to my training sergeants. As a sophomore, I could have had it easy. No job, no rank, just cruise through the year. But I decided to supply my time as an Academic Mentor to freshman, and as a team leader in charge of accountability for my platoon and making sure people were arriving to formation on time. I knew this would prepare me for my junior year, and now as an upperclassmen staff sergeant in charge of 10 people, I am glad that I took the time to learn how to deal with people senior to me and how to lead from the front.
Some of you reading this may have read my story last week about hazing and what my experience was like as a freshman compared to the rooks this year at Norwich. Well, as Rook week is coming to a close, it hits me more and more that not only is Rookdom getting less and less strict, it seems like the rooks care less every year. Today there was a recruit looking around in the chow hall getting his food (not allowed) and when I approached him and corrected him, he rolled his eyes and acted like I was the asshole for fixing him, not he for ignoring the rules. That has happened several times this week, but I only had that happen to me once last year. Now, I don't blame recruits for no knowing rank or who to salute, they're new and that's understandable. However, not trying or wanting to be lazy is all on them and completely unacceptable. I see kids walking around casually when they're supposed to be marching in the gutter. Looking around, not in step, simple simple things. Almost every time I correct them they know they're wrong, but continue to act like I'm the prick for fixing them. This lack of respect and discipline is growing with every year. It all boils down to the younger generation not giving their all towards a goal. I've had great jobs and terrible jobs. Even in those terrible jobs, I still did my job right and quickly. Freshman year, I was an engineering major in the Corps of Cadets, doing air force ROTC and mountain cold weather training. I was very very busy, but I still following the recruit standard to the best of my ability and did my best to not screw around where I shouldn't. My hope is that myself and the other upperclassmen will set the proper standard for the current crop of freshman and help them follow a path to sucess in whatever career they chose, and to learn the value in doing something 100% or not doing it in the first place.