Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hodge Podge of Thoughts

So I was going to focus this post on ROTC stuff since that's probably what everyone is really interested in about my life since it's pretty new.  But I also, for my own sake, want to talk about my Birthday and anything else that went on elsewhere.  But first, ROTC.

So, there are these things called Leadership Labs, in which all those enrolled with the Army ROTC goes to Slate Canyon:
So, that's roughly the terrain of Slate Canyon, only right now it's snowy and the part we're at sits at the base of one of the huge mountains and we're scaling the side of said mountain every week.  We go in our ACU's (as seen in the previous post), Load-Bearing Equipment (LBE's), Rucksack (ruck), Air-soft gun in the model of an M4, mask to protect face from air-soft gun, and knee/elbow pads to protect the ACU's and your joints, as you're on the ground a lot, pointing the M4 at trees and bushes.  Anyways, it's fun, for the most part, except for the time I was asked to scale a hill about 30 ft. from "ground" level in about 1 minute flat. Thankfully I was without a ruck. Here's a picture of me in full gear:

Funsies! It's roughly 30ish lbs of weight with both the LBE's (suspender-like things) and the Ruck.  So running around in the snowy rock-strewn terrain is both dangerous and stupid. But that's what we do on a weekly basis. We go up to the canyon, grab loaded weapons and play army for the next 3 hours. I LOVE my squad. It's made up of primarily men and they're all just really fun. They've made me feel comfortable, though not without their fair-share of teasing (I am a girl, so it's bound to happen). I already have a few people I'm more friendly with than others, but that's because they're the ones who work with me most. Anyways, I have my moments of panicking where I wonder why in the world I'm doing this. But then I go to lab or PT and hang out with the boys and I feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be.  I try and imagine the snowy landscape as desert and try to visualize myself in Iraq or the Middle-East in 4 years and try to see if I would feel differently. Personally, I think the mountains are a bit more tough to navigate safely, so if anything I am being over-prepared for Active Duty.  I just hope that I figure things out 100% before I commit myself and there's no way out.
So, my birthday. I had a modest celebration on Sunday the 17th, the day of my birth and had a few friends over: Mariah, Leigh, Lance, Rufus, Matt (Lance and Rufus's new roomie), Justyna and Julia (my roommates), and Donnie. Justyna made me a cake, and I made my birthday dinner: cheese chicken enchiladas and spanish rice. Lance provided chip dip, Rufus brought brownies, and Mariah and Leigh brought blueberry muffins they claimed tasted like cornbread. Julia made delicious banana chocolate chip bread that was divine (mainly for the chocolate). I got "Best of Will Ferrell" SNL DVDs (BOTH) from Lance and Rufus and so we spent most of the night watching that. And then we played games. It was fun: 
Blowing out the candles. I did a "Puh" kind of blow since I was just trying to irritate everyone. Came to bite me in the butt in the form of a horrible picture.
Leigh wearing my ACU hat and trying to act all tough.

Two of my favorite people: Lance and Mariah, who kidnapped my camera at some point and decided to take silly pictures. 

Anyways, that's enough pictures for now. I can't seem to get them to move to where I want them to go. FRUSTRATING. But I had tons more I wanted to share.

Last, but not least, I saw "Avatar" on MLK after spending the morning/afternoon with Jamilyn, my cousin who used to live in Arizona but recently moved to Pleasant Grove, UT (20 minutes away from Provo). She treated me to breakfast and lunch and I spent a nice time in the company of her and her charming almost-3-year-old, Kason. "Avatar" lived up to my expectations and even exceeded them in some areas. I loved it, hate to admit it. James Cameron, you're not the king of the world, but you're certainly king of Pandora. But that doesn't count, since it's fictional. So HA!

Anyways, that's it. I wanted to get more in depth, but I have a fair bit of homework still and I also have PT in the morning, bright and early (6 am). It's a Company Ability Run. Fun.

P.S. Got a new phone. Lovely, isn't it?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The First Week

The first week of school is over. Wow. I didn't think I would survive. My schedule is slightly revised in the sense that I did drop World Dance and will probably take it next semester if I can fit it. English IS on Mondays, finally, at the time I want it to be. So Tuesdays and Thursdays are AWESOME! Especially Thursdays, in which all I have is ROTC Leadership Lab for a few hours. Fridays I can manage because there's a nice cushy break between Bio lab and my Film lab and I went to my English class for the first time yesterday and even though it seems like it will be a lot of work, it will be a lot of fun. But I have lots of make-up work from the two days I missed. Yuck. I'm not ready to do work just yet. But I have to read the Four Gospels in the New Testament in two weeks for Merrill, write up a one-page paper on a movie I couldn't see for Film, learn some Bio terms for my Blackboard quiz on Monday, do some more readings for those classes, and then make sure my body isn't too sore for PT Monday. Ugh. Lots to do.

That's a summary of the work I've had to do. On top of that, I got all my ROTC uniforms and gear and, let me tell you, it's intense. For the Opening Social on Thursday, I was to wear my ACU's (the camo uniform) and there were all these Velcro patches I had to wear and I had no idea what I was doing. I am very appreciative of all the cadets around me who are more than willing to help out. When I arrived, about two MSIII's (Military Science 300 students) come up and help me with my patches and they also directed me to my squad leader and platoon sergeant. Unfortunately, my squad leader is going to be changing in the next two weeks, so I need to memorize a whole new face and go to a whole new person if I have questions. Anyways, I'm getting off track a bit. The Opening Social was really awesome as we got to eat some good food, learn some more about the branches in the National Guard (if we want to be in the National Guard, that is...), and in general I got to know my squad a little more and started to put names to faces. And then we sat through an awards ceremony that lasted 15 minutes (yay brevity!) and then we went outside to do Drill and Ceremony, which is pretty much the marching stuff that most people associate with soldiers. Since I and all the other new MSI's (Military Science 100 students, of course) didn't know what that entailed, we were instructed by two of the MSIV's (Military Science 400 students. Duh.) on how to properly stand at attention, parade stance, at ease, and how to salute as well as changing the direction you're facing (right face, left face, about face...). Then we marched and were taught some cadences. I wish I could remember some of them, they were pretty catchy. I'll have them known by the end of the semester, probably, though apparently drill and ceremony isn't as necessary in the ROTC anymore.

Here I am in my ACU's (A little strange looking as I was trying not to laugh since Justyna was taking the picture and just woke up from a nap. She was a little loopy.)

Okay, so the last picture is even more bizarre. But again, I was in a strange mood. And REALLY SORE from the day before. I took my APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) Wednesday at 5:30 in the morning and it went...horribly. So I'm not so much in pain anymore since I've stretched and done a little more working out since. But nonetheless, it was awful.

Eventually, you'll see my PT uniform. I'm just never in it when people are awake to get the picture. So I might attempt to get it by myself one morning. And then when I wear my formal uniform, I'll be sure to get a documentation of that too. But for now, that's my camo. And I get to keep the boots! YAY! (I'm being slightly sarcastic...)

PS I'm not supposed to be wearing my hat indoors. But I felt it was appropriate to wear it for the picture. Just don't tell the Cadre. Deal?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Semester Slump

School has already begun. Before break was really starting to become enjoyable, I was on a plane back to Utah and ready or not another semester at BYU. My schedule is going to look something like this:

Physical Training (ROTC)- 6:00-6:50 am
Biology 100-10:00-10:50 am
New Testament-12:00-12:50 pm
English 150-3:00-3:50 pm

World Dance Technique-8:00-9:20 am (Might be dropping this...)
Military Science 121-10:00-10:50 am
Intro to Film-1:00-2:50 pm

Physical Training-6:00-6:50 am
Biology-10:00-10:50 am
New Testament-12:00-12:50 pm
English-3:00-3:50 pm

World Dance Technique-8:00-9:20 am (Again, might be dropping)
Military Science Lab-1:00-3:50 pm

Physical Training-6:00-6:50 am
Biology-10:00-10:50 am
Intro to Film-1:30-2:50pm
English-3:00-3:50 pm

So, MWF's are looking to be extremely busy. Thursdays will be fun since it's my lab day in which I go around in uniform and do Military things. I'm dropping dance because I don't think I can handle getting up early MWF and two hours later TTH. It's just too much for me. Taking my APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) this morning was enough to tell me that, yeah, having early stuff daily is going to take it's toll on my body. It makes me sad that I won't be able to do it this semester, but, hey, maybe next? I just need to keep my schedule pretty free since I will be doing TONS of fitness. I'm talking going to the weight room daily if I can. I failed the push-ups and sit-ups today and barely got by the 2-mile run with a 16:53. So to show improvement and to prove to myself that I CAN be in the military, I need to train and get bulked up. I'm a little excited for it because I LOVE working out and couldn't find the time last semester for it.

Anyways, academically, this should be an easy semester with New Testament being the only challenging class as I have Merrill again. Love that guy. He made the first half of the Book of Mormon awesome. Biology seems like it will be fun and Justyna (my roomie (to those still behind the 8-ball on the details of my life)) had him last semester and said he's lots of fun and it doesn't need too much note-taking. Just pay attention. Writing, I don't know what to expect as I've changed my class time a total of 3 times in the last 2 days. I still need the add code for the one I want, but I'll attend the class until I can get the teacher to give it to me. But I've heard that it's pretty basic as long as you write the papers. Film is gonna be awesome, I can tell. I love my lecture teacher and the TA I have looks like fun!

So, despite my lack of motivation, this semester is going to be an important one to my future. It's the semester that I apply for my major, Media Arts, and it's the one where I finally see where I stand on this whole joining the Army thing.

NEXT POST: I will be showing pictures of both my standard uniform and my PT (physical training) uniform. I get my standard today at 2:00 pm. Funsies!