A military cadet is in a frying pan of sorts. They start out their freshman year being “initiated” into the military, usually with some sort of basic training. From what I understand, it is incredibly tough, stretching you mentally, emotionally and physically. The next three years are a little easier, but not much. From talking to our daughter, a junior, it is quite stressful balancing academics, athletics, and military training. It is not at all like a “normal” college experience.
While the cadet feels (and rightly so) that this experience is very difficult and stressful, once he or she graduates and gets out into the “real” military and the “real” world, they realize that it is in many ways much more difficult.
I also think about my own experience as a military wife. Upon marrying my husband, I was “initiated” into the military with a slap on the behind with a saber, and a ride in a KC-135 sitting on webbed troop seats and being bounced around as the boom practiced air refueling (for 50 minutes!) on our way to Germany for our honeymoon.
While college and working had seemed quite challenging after living a sheltered life in grade school, I had no idea what I was getting into when I married a handsome young Air Force pilot!
My hope is that this series will help parents and other family members realize the kind of life their loved one is leading or is getting ready to step into. I also hope that active duty and retirees will get a laugh out of reading about military experiences from a “civilian” point-of-view.
(Disclaimer: What you read in this blog are the memories of an old lady, a blonde old lady (at least I used to be blonde!), so my apologies if I don’t get every detail correct. Please write to me and correct me! It’s never too late for an old dog to learn new tricks, but it might be impossible for an old blonde!)