Pressure is the difference between those that can, and those that can’t. I mean this quite literally. In this world you will find that when everything comes crashing down, and don’t lie to yourself and say it won’t, we both know it will, there are two types of people. There are those that collapse with it, unable to manage that load and stress, and there are those that rise to the occasion. Life is not easy, and pressure is it’s way of testing us. There are some that simply handle it better than others, and while some are born with it, others are trained to deal with it.
For those that attend The Citadel, pressure is an old friend, and greeted with a laugh and a smile along with every challenge and difficulty that accompanies it. This I know and I’ve seen the effects of this school. My brother graduated the year before I went in. I can attest to how he handled pressure before and after this school, and I can attest to how I handle it now. Pressure is the old friend of nearly every cadet on campus, because at one time or another, we are all put under so much we can’t even think straight. We can have tests Wednesday thru Friday and an Inspection on Saturday all within a normal week, and nobody blinks an eye. Even when we are expected to stay up till midnight or later studying, we may then spend all of Friday getting ready for our parade and inspection. We take it in stride with a few gripes and complaints, but we all know that we came here for the challenge. We came because we wanted to be pressured, stressed and tested to our maxes.
“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” -Charles Bukowski.
Pressure is something you will ultimately experience no matter what. One way or another, you will find yourself stuck in a position where nothing works out or everything falls apart, and you’re going to be forced to pick up the pieces. That’s just how life is. Challenge after challenge will arrive, and it can beat you down until you’re nothing but a stain on the carpet if you can’t handle it. The Citadel does what no other college can do. It disciplines each and every cadet attending, teaching them how to handle that pressure as if everything were normal. It’s a difficult lesson to learn, and it takes four long years to do so. But keep in mind, a diamond isn’t formed quickly.
The ability to handle this pressure and stress that the daily world offers comes with the burden of jumping into it right after high school. The Citadel prepares you for life, because it prepares you for every challenge you will face, one way or another. The Citadel tempers each cadet with its values, honor, duty, and respect, and it instills within us self-respect and discipline throughout the years we attend. When it is finished, it leaves us with a ring of solid gold which is respected throughout the world, and a reputation that surpasses any other college. I have seen this work being done, and it reflects itself in each ring. Pressure? Pressure is not a challenge to a Citadel cadet. Pressure is a friend who accompanies them, proving them worthy to bear that ring of gold.