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.