Monday, November 11, 2013

Sorting Out a Little Confusion and Adding Mass Chaos

Hello all again, just wanted to clear up some confusion on the last blog that i posted last week. To respond to all of your questions, let me start with responding to each person.
Maddie: The guy handed over the keg, but after he gave us the Foosball table, he wanted his beer back. I will explain the pass a bit later in this blog. All the stuff we had, we split it between each of us, if we wanted it, then we could have it. We don't want to give up anything that we received, you will have no luck there.
Grandpa Pearcy: At first we weren't having any luck finding things, just little stuff like Frisbees, glow sticks, and just not good stuff to trade or hand off to. The success was all in negotiating and basically tricking people into giving up the good stuff. I'm not a particular charmer myself, so, my skills were a little useless.
Andrew: We don't get any special privileges usually, but it has been known to happen once or twice before. I found out that we didn't get anything special even after getting something special for the TC. The object was bigger or better, but we happened to hit both qualifications on the table. To explain the keg again, we gave it up for the Foosball table, as well as a box TV. We don't plan on trading this thing, we have every intention to keep this right with us.
Now on to a different topic, I will talk about my time this weekend at Army FTX (field training exercise). We froze our butts off doing things such as land navigation, eating MRE's (Meal Ready to Eat), and standing at attention for about thirty to forty-five minutes in 20 degree or less temperatures. The only time we got to warm up was when we went to bad at 1 to 12 in the morning. We didn't really get much sleep, maybe getting a total of 4 hours to sleep each night.
The total amount of sleep I received over this weekend was roughly 6 hours of sleep over a three day period. I'm pretty frickin tired, but I have to keep pushing forward and make it through the rest of this week. The after effects of being in a 20 degree, wind driven mountain is that everything I wear inside of a normal temperature building feels like i'm being burned with a blowtorch. The positive side of this is that everything I eat taste like it came from heaven. If any of you have eaten an MRE, then you know exactly what i'm talking about.
I will wrap this up by saying that my weekend wasn't a complete waste, we got to experience what the actual Army is like and how it works. All in all, it was a fun time, but I wouldn't do it unless I had a cold weather proof jacket.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bigger or Better Pass

I have a very exciting story to tell you guys this week. Well, we went on Unity Pass on Saturday and played a game called Bigger or Better. We started off this game with a paperclip and the point of the game is to work your way up to bigger or better things by negotiating. We had no clue how others did it, but some other companies worked their way up to getting a car. We knew that wasn’t going to happen to us, but we started off by making out way to Slusher tower where I met Grandpa Pearcy! He was out on RA duty and he seemed to be intrigued by what we were doing, so being the good RA he is, he told me to tell the others not to make too much of a mess or a racket. We walked all twelve flights of steps and worked our way down, and hit up all five floors of Slusher Wing all within a time limit of forty-five minutes. All in all, we came out with Frisbees, a flat football, a hat, and a traffic cone.
            Our next objective was to hit Pritchard Hall, we went through all the floors looking for someone drunk enough to give us something good. Well, the lesson here is that if you’re looking for someone drunk at eight at night, let’s just say that it’s not going to happen. We did leave the hall with a dress, a bra, a box fan, a lamp, a broken Xbox, and NFS: Hot Pursuit. We finally had to leave and go back to the dorms by nine, and while walking back, we conveniently ran into Cadet Captain Harton. We showed him what we had received and asked for more time, basically we went back online and were told we had till eleven to get something good, or else our pass this weekend would be terrible.
            We got out of the dorms and decided to head straight for Fraternity and Sorority houses where there are bound to be drunks willing to give up something good. We hit up the first sorority house and were told to go straight to The Chase. We took that advice to heart and headed straight there were we came out with a pack of cigarettes, a nice lamp, a rockband guitar, and a box T.V. The morale of the story is that cadets apparently look like cops, because that’s what all of the houses thought we were when we showed up at the doors knocking them down asking for random donations.
            By this time, we were all getting extremely tired and were running out of fraternity houses to run into with drunk people at ten-thirty at night. As we were walking back, we heard pounding and thumping coming from a house, and decided that we should go hit it up. This house was packed with people dressed up in costumes with nothing but beer almost literally flowing out of the house. We nicely asked someone near the door that wasn’t too drunk to get the owner of the house. After a few minutes, he came out and asked what we needed, so we told him the story we told about a million times that night. He said “let me see what I have” and came back saying that he could give us a beer keg… We were all thinking that this could either be a good or a bad thing, so we decided to take the keg. Before we got the chance to say thank you and leave, he said there was something else he would be willing to give up.
            We asked him what that might’ve been and we followed him into another fraternity house full of drunken, green painted body armymen. We went into the attic and he showed us a foosball table… Holy crap, he was going to give us this thing, our pass is going to be great. We were trying to hurry to take it out of the house and when we were halfway to the door, the owner said to “hurry up before someone changes their mind.” We finally got it out the door and basically ran off with this table.
            On our way back, people kept giving us the weirdest looks as it took half of our group to carry this from Roanoke Street back to Brodie Hall. We opened up the side door and the expression that Cadet Captain Harton was something we had never seen before, he overflowed with happiness. He couldn’t believe we went out and actually got this, he took a few double takes just to make sure it was real, actually, all of the upperclassmen did. We got it upstairs, told the upperclassmen the whole story and their mouths were just dropped on the floor.

            Long story short, we are going to have an amazing pass next weekend, and hopefully we will get to wear civilian clothes! Till then, I hope you guys have an awesome week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

My rant on Dining Facilities at VT

This time around, I have been asked to write about something non corp related by a certain someone. I'm not gonna call this person out, but you know who you are. As we all know, the dining facilities at Virginia Tech are one of the best in the country, maybe that's why some of us decided to come here. While it is really good food, there is just one problem I find flawed with these facilities. My problem with these places is that they all have the same food.

While the dining facilities at Virginia Tech are great, I struggle with the problem that it is all the same food. Turner's, Owens, and D2 all have a burrito place (just different names) and also have multiple pizza places. D2 is always serving the same thing at breakfast and dinner. Breakfast being donuts, eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes. Dinner always serves the same pizza, the same chicken and hamburger patties and the same old burritos. Owens has a pizza place, a burrito place, and a burger place. At last, Turner's has a burrito restaurant, and yet another pizza place. While this is all good and dandy, it gets a little old after eating the same thing over and over again.

This all gets shaken up though by Owen's Chick-fil-a and dunkin donuts. Turner's and Owen's both have a smoothie making restaurant. Finally, Turner Place has a bagel place for a quick grab and go breakfast before heading to class. If you ever need to go get a good breakfast, I would recommend going to breugger's (or however you spell it) bagel place. These bagels are relatively cheap and really quick to make. Even though these dining facilities mostly have the same old thing everyday, there is ways to break it up.

I think i've done enough damage to the Virginia Tech dining facilities for today, and I know there are people out there that agree with me. If you don't agree, then by all means, give me a good counter argument and we can have a friendly argument where we just might compromise. I hope everyone has a good week and looks forward to the weekend, I know i'm ready for it!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Cadet Struggle is Real

The fact that the every upperclassmen cadet expects us to be perfect in every way, shape, and form really messes with my mind and it kills me on the inside. When we sound off (give the greeting of the day with name and rank) inside the dorm area, we aren't allowed to look around and see who is talking to us, so we are stock still at attention and looking straight forward. We ask permission to ask a question and they always rudely say “why don’t you know who I am!” I wonder why we don’t know who you are, maybe it’s because they make sure we can’t see your face! Sometimes we know who the person is, and we sound off and they are impressed or they just play it off like it’s nothing to them. As for myself, I’m one of those people that puts names to faces a lot easier than putting names to voices.
The other problem is when the upperclass cadets just walk into our rooms at random times and yell at us for random things. Especially when we are in the middle of something important, it really doesn't help me concentrate. There has been plenty of times where I will be in the middle of a quiz or doing something important and the four knocks means that they are about to invade my personal space and come get on my case for no reason whatsoever. Why can’t they just leave us alone, don’t they have better things to do than bug the freshmen cadets? This is a daily occurrence and the other thing that makes me mad is that we have to be at attention the whole time that an upperclassmen is in our dorm rooms. The problem is that the upperclassmen will get so bored with themselves that they just bug us and tell us to do stupid things.
We sometimes do “fun” activities which take place during the times that we are supposed to be studying and it makes all of mad. Some people have really important tests, quizzes, or even exams to take the next day. This is a major problem because academics are supposed to come first, but the policy of the upperclassmen think that the Corp comes first and that really messes with us and our GPA’s. Some of my classwork has have to have been put off because of the things that we have been told to do. Grades suffer for this reason, no wonders that the Corp GPA drops drastically every Fall semester.

I have been ranting for some time on this subject, but you all should see where I am coming from on this. The Corp is a great program, don’t get me wrong on that, but they just need to back off the freshmen a little and give them some space to breath. I know our lives are supposed to suck, but at least give us a chance to get a decent college experience while doing it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Freshmen Cadet Life vs Upperclassmen Cadet Life

Freshmen Cadet Life vs Upperclassmen Cadet Life
The freshmen lifestyle is more rigorous, more physically and mentally challenging, and more academically demanding than any upperclassmen’s life. As a freshmen cadet, we start off going through one of the worst weeks of our lives called New Cadet Week, which is a challenge within itself. After that week, we start our first year as college freshmen, but with a twist. Instead of living and acting like normal college kids, we have to drag around the hallways speed walking at 120 beats per minute. We also don’t have any time outside of the Corp to do fun activities, get social with your civilian friends, or even use the restroom without getting yelled at for walking to fast because you really have to go and you swear you can’t hold it any longer. The thing is that as a New Cadet, we will go the extra mile or two to walk around Lower or Upper Quad just so that way we don’t have to sound off to upperclassmen.
The stress of being a college kid and being a cadet at the same time really wants to make me pull my hairs out sometimes, but in the end, it’s going to suck either way. Doing academics inside of the dorm room is usually not a good idea because at any moment a cadre can bust down the door and start chewing a cadet out for the dumbest things. The only real way to study or do homework is during Evening Call to Quarters or ECQ for short, and even then, it is challenging to even concentrate.
As a New Cadet, we learn to be a little bit more paranoid about every little detail that looks or seems to be out of order in everything we do. Sitting in the dorm rooms and watching as the shadows walk by is like waiting for a bomb to explode, as soon as that door opens, you better be up and at attention or else that could mean demerits, which can lead to marching at five in the morning in a circle for hours on end. This paranoia comes in handy, because I've learned that I can listen to conversations well within an eight to ten foot circle around me. It’s not that I’m trying to snoop in on anyone’s conversations, it’s really just a precautionary measure to make sure I don’t get called out by an upperclassmen in a crowd.
The life of an upperclassmen is the one thing that I look forward to after freshmen year. As an upperclassmen, the cadets don’t have to sound off, unless there is an officer passing by, they get to change into civilian clothes and be comfortable while us New Cadets are burning alive or freezing to death in our mandatory uniform of the day, they get to basically do whatever they want, whenever they want, and they also get to yell at New Cadets.
The life of an upperclassmen is one to die for, but pushing through the first year can be very frustrating, tough, exhausting, and very time consuming. The constant sounding off, dragging, and academic work load that cadets receive can really impact us in a hard way. Waking up at around five or six in the morning doesn’t help, especially on day when we have morning PT. The “fun” activities that the Corp has planned for us aren’t really that fun, and they can take time away from our academic work. While we are out learning about the pylons, Corp history, or taking Unity Pass, we could be working on studying for quizzes, tests, and even exams that are really important to our grades.

The Corp of Cadets overall is an amazing program and during freshmen year they teach us discipline, character, and most of all, Honor and Integrity. It is hard to understand and grasp the concepts as a New Cadet joining the Corp, and the only real way is to learn by trial and error. College isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be when joining the Corp of Cadets, but that is what we signed up for, to mentally, physically, and emotionally challenge us in every way possible.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

To Bomb or Not to Bomb

What would really happen if America started dropping bombs on Syria? The military strikes shouldn’t occur for very specific reasons: Relationships between potential enemy countries will wear thin, stress will be at an all-time high again, and the economy will either suffer drastically or increase from the productivity of the country to help with this militarily. The arguments between Barack Obama and Putin are not turning out for the better, but seem to be placing more tension between the two old rivaled enemies. These arguments have gotten so tense and dangerous that the UK has opted out of helping the U.S. if a military conflict were to outbreak. During an interview on BBC, British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond said the votes were 285 deciding for no military action to 272 votes for military action. Even though this was a close win, it has been decided that the UK will involve in no military action against Syria.
After the August twenty-first chemical gas attacks, the U.S. threatened military retaliation against Bashar Assad. The issue was resolved when The Daily News reported that President Obama has assured that the Pact created with Russia for Syria to hand over the chemical weapons doesn’t weaken or affect the United States in any way. This pact was designed to take the all chemical weapons out of Syria and put them into Russia. Even with this vague pact stating that these weapons will not be used, President Barack Obama still has the threat of bombing Syria over Russia’s head.
These bombings just might start another World War in which the old superpowers, Russia and the United States will fight once more over something so little, so insignificant to our way of life in which this war would destroy everything we have ever worked towards. At this rate, another war would help boost the economy because of the response of each country, but the purging of innocent lives and the lives of military personnel would not be worth the time and effort behind it. Another war will not only destroy cultures and ways of life, this would scar the minds of children for years to come. Just like in World War II, there was no real need for it, except the fact that greed and power got in the way. That war was supposed to end all wars, but did it really, or will history repeat itself once more?
Another fight in Syria can ignite a spark that will most likely start another military conflict. After all of the fighting about Weapons of Mass Destruction and terrorism in Afghanistan for 11 years, the Miami Herald states that the casualty rates from Afghanistan come up to around 2,135 deaths and over 19,287 wounded in action. If the situation becomes bad enough, we might have to start sending kids roughly between the ages of eighteen to twenty-five to go fight this battle for us. As a Cadet, this idea scares all of us that at our young age, our childhoods would be robbed, so that way we can go fight a country out in the Middle East over one little decision from Congress or the President. As a whole, we watch very closely at what is going on in the world and how it will eventually affect us.

Where will bombing Syria really get us? There is no definite answer to this question, but another war, another lost country, and more time and lives wasted on a useless country that really means nothing to us other than the chemical weapons that are being used. If the Middle East wants to attack itself and destroy itself from the inside, I say let them do it, because that will save time, money, and despair for the American people that will go out there and fight for this beautiful country. The lives saved from treating this with caution is a whole lot better than just turning Syria into a parking lot.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Phase coming to an end

As the Red Phase comes to a close with the Caldwell March, I’ve come to understand and integrate myself with the Corp of Cadets over this past month. I look back at what I have done, the mistakes I have made, the friendships I have made, and how my journey at Virginia Tech has been playing out so far. This new environment has taught me that not everything is as it seems, that everything I have learned should’ve been thrown out the window a long time ago, and that freshmen year can be a real torture chamber. As this progresses to White Phase, nothing will really change, but we will get some privileges such as hair privilege, backpack privilege, or maybe even headphone privilege. These privileges are something that civilians and upperclassmen cadets take for granted, while underclassmen cadets are stuck with almost nothing. As this year slowly gets better, the more responsibilities we have, and that means the more my buds and I have to look out for each other. This also means that things will get more relaxed and we will be able to do whatever we want without having someone constantly harping on us on how to do things and what to do at the current moment. The football games have been something else, I have never experienced anything like that until I came to Virginia Tech. Especially being in the Corp of Cadets crowd, and we do push on each other’s shoulders for peet’s sake! Have any of you tried to do push-ups in the pouring rain as hard as a typhoon, it really isn’t as fun as you would think. The classes are a lot different from High School just by the fact of the sheer amount of people in each classroom setting. The workload isn’t quite as bad as a freshmen, but the Corp helps us by making mandatory study times from seven to eleven at night. The only problem with this mandatory study time is that the Cadre will walk in at any random time and make us do something stupid or just distract us from our work. The easiest way to solve this is to go to the library, which is a lot safer and quieter than being around upperclassmen cadets. This has been your live reporter Knight getting these facts right from the source, see you all next week!