November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving break is fast upon us, and the last two weeks have done well in reminding me of the not-so-distant end of term. Classes and projects are all gearing down for the end of the semester. Overall, it’s a good time of the year as it gives many of us the chance and motivation to refocus just before grades are set and final.

Most classes that have a three test and final exam system are either taking their final in-class test soon or already have. I know my last-minute physics studies are accompanied by others’ efforts to cram for calculus and the like. Others are working on major term papers (here they usually top out at near 7 pages double-spaced) or projects. Most of all this is due before the Thanksgiving holiday so that the break can be spent celebrating, relaxing, and prepping for the final two-week stretch that’s patiently waiting on our doorstep. Surprisingly enough, the upcoming break also marks a point when certain classes come near their end of teaching material. When most professors have been cramming intensely all semester to catch up from the hurricanes, it’s refreshing to have a few blocks where we students are not as pressed to make up three weeks of missed course time.

The last few weeks have been particularly busy for myself care of performances with color guard, extra research efforts I’ve taken on, as well as having been commissioned for additional projects to help out various organizations. And I think I had my 21st birthday in there somewhere, but it’s all been such a blur that the only evidence of that has been the strange stockpile of my new underage friends!

The color guard performance was a last-minute bit for a Marine Appreciation Dinner sponsored by the local Navy League. The team pulled off the presentation amazingly well for the 3 hour per day, 4 days of practice we had available combined with an on-the-spot adapted presentation plan. Those few of us who have remained through the semester are becoming quite dedicated and exhilarated by our work and the practices are getting more fun now that we’re comfortable with each other and know what we’re doing. Thankfully a second color guard for the Quarterdeck Ball was unnecessary, or we’d never have left that practice lot. The Quarterdeck Ball itself was fantastic. I got the opportunity to sit next to one of my favorite upper class midshipmen, the Cadet Colonel of the AFROTC Detachment, as well as converse briefly with the guest of honor, a former Marine Colonel and aviator who helped me significantly by providing source material for my upcoming editorial for the NROTC Newsletter. More than that, I’ve noticed many of the new midshipmen have gotten closer, more comfortable, and more cordial with the older midshipmen since the event, so it was a grand success at building camaraderie. At the event, an upper class midshipman also anointed me the new Unit Photographer, presumably just for the evening, though knowing the trend my trigger finger will be used elsewhere frequently. It’s very reassuring and satisfying to know that my experience and know-how is able to help out the Unit so much in so many different ways. Hopefully my abilities can be put to very solid use throughout my career here.

Outside the assigned research papers, I’ve proposed an independent research paper for my Flight Physiology class just to give me some further understanding and direct analysis of the theories at hand. I would have liked to have done similarly with other classes as well, however the thought of writing a brief thesis paper for my classes only recently reformed in my head and these were something I was fond of doing for political science back at the University of Northern Colorado. In a further tip of the hat to the Navy side of things, another research project, mostly for personal information, has centered on High Lord Admiral Nelson, Admiral Spruance, and Colonel Bogdanos in something of an attempt at understanding exceptional leadership in a variety of stances and how motivating in the age of sail might apply to today’s turbine engine fleet.

Outside the aforementioned photographer job, I’ve also very excitedly been given the go ahead to pursue a small project to form a record of the Unit and Battalion staff’s bios for both midshipmen and visitors to read and learn about the leadership of the Unit. More than just a bit of material for guests to become acquainted with the staff, it would allow the midshipmen to know from what exceptional experience their superiors come, as well as form a record of the Unit’s history and heritage. What better time to start such an effort than now, just before the last two years’ staff depart.

On the home front, I’ve been running into a good many issues with my roommate that are unlikely to be resolved lest both of us significantly change our basic natures. As such, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for alternatives and it sounds like, since I’m a transfer student, I have the option to move to an upperclassman dorm. It’s a very strong option since I’d have the chance to interact with students more of my own age and maturity level. There’s also the possibility of moving into a rent-free house that’s a very rare opportunity and might work out better in the long run for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being financial.

Probably best to leave things there for now. Thanks to everyone for reading, especially those fellow midshipmen and classmates who’ll never let me live this down. Here’s to yeh, lads! Onwards + upwards, David

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