Complacency is when one is satisfied with how things are, and not wanting to change them. It is something that is easily gained, but not easily lost. Becoming complacent now will only lead to one carrying on that behavior in the future. Over the past few weeks I have learned the importance of not becoming complacent. All through high school, I had the mentality that there was always room for improvement; whether it pertained to my physical fitness, my performance on stage, or how I played in a game. Some narcissists may mistake this mentality for “not being good enough,” but I like to think of it as raising the bar once you reach it. This coincides with the ideal of constant self-improvement.
As a recruit in fifth company, we have the highest standards on the hill and it is important for those standards to continue to get higher. The only way we will become the successful cadets that we are training to be is by continuing to improve, and continuing to face and overcome new challenges every day. If we accept where we are in life, we will lose the drive to work hard and push ourselves outside of our comfort zones. We will no longer be challenged by things in our lives, and we will be unable to learn from the challenges that come before us. In the beginning of Rookdom our standards were low, which was to be expected as we were new to military lifestyle. Eventually we began to improve as our standards rose, and now our rooms are nearly spotless at all times of the day and our uniforms are always squared away. If these standards had not risen, we would’ve been in a perpetual state of unsatisfactory performance, unable to follow in the footsteps of those who came before us.
The lesson to be learnt is that there is always room for improvement in all aspects of our lives. Never stay satisfied with where you’re at, always stay hungry to better yourself.
Last weekend was my first FTX. It was an incredible experience. I learned a lot about surviving outside, reacting to contact, ambushing, shooting, throwing grenades, etc. Some cadets made it seem it was going to be awful, which made all the freshmen slightly nervous. The FTX consisted of a lot of rucking, lanes, team building, and very little warmth. The first night was freezing, which resulted in people falling out due to cold weather injuries. Unfortunately, many people fell out. Some were dehydrated, some were injured, and some were just weak and could not handle the challenge.
Something I learned this week was not to feel bad for yourself. Throughout my first semester her I have faced many challenges, and as I witness other people cave in I just think about how someone will always have it worse. My platoon has the shortest time hacks in the regiment, and when I talk to my rook buddies about it they all feel bad for us, but it could be worse, it could be three minutes or even two. The way I think of it is when something happens, I will be able to change or shower in four minutes. During some of the ruck marches I struggled because I was tired, hungry, and carrying a ruck that weighed nearly as much as I did. Every time the thought of falling out came to mind, I just thought, “you are not the only one doing this, you’re not the only one in pain right now. People have done this with much more weight for much longer distances, there is no excuse for you to stop.”
Being mentally tough has enabled me to not feel sorry for myself and to push through the physically demanding tasks that have been placed in front of me. Anybody can come to Norwich and succeed, whether that person thinks they are prepared or not, if they push through the tough situations and never give up when things get hard
Last weekend was parent Family Weekend. It was great to see my family for the first time in almost two months. I was proud to show them what I have been learning. Monday was a tough day for some of my rook siblings. They woke up demotivated, which made it tough for everyone to do what they had to. Our Cadre noticed the lack of motivation and it just made them demotivated. While I tried to stay as positive as possible, it was hard when everyone around me wasn’t. Every day I woke up and made an effort to change my rook siblings’ motivation. Saturday was our company ruck march up to dole cemetery, and it required a lot of motivation, so due to our lack of motivation our cadre threatened to take it away from us.
Friday night, after chow, we had Sergeants Training Time (STT), and during this STT we spoke about motivation, learned how to pack a ruck, and we did “rook book time” where we stand on the wall and recite and memorize rookie knowledge. I found this motivating because we proved our work individually, and we did not hesitate to help when one of our rook siblings stuttered. Then we cleaned the hallway and latrines while listening to motivational music played by our cadre. When it came time for us to go to bed we were all fired up for the ruck in the morning. Fortunately, we got back on track as a platoon.
Saturday – 0530- we are on the wall in our ACUs and rucks weighing 30+ lbs. We formed up and began marching as a company towards the base of Mt Dole. I could already feel the burn in my legs before we reached the mountain. Once we reached the base of Mt Dole we continued up the mountain, heading towards the cemetery. The ruck was challenging; the mountain is said to have an incline of nearly 40° and the pace that was set was pretty fast. Throughout the ruck up the mountain, everyone kept pushing each other to perform to their highest potential. At the top was an unforgettable view; the trees’ mix of orange, yellow, and red leaves made the rolling hills appear pink, while the sky was a gradient blue and red with clouds that stretched over the horizon. Our first sergeant gave us a very motivating speech at the top of Dole, and after his speech we took a company photo where all cadre and recruits of fifth company stood in front of the monument.
After this weekend, I felt proud of what I have been doing. Not only did I learn the importance of teamwork and motivation, but I finally began to feel ‘at home.’ Everything is much more challenging with a lack of motivation and no one there beside you. All week my platoon worked together to prove to our cadre that we were motivated, and when it came time for us to ruck up the mountain, we worked as a unit to get everyone up to the top, including the people who were physically incapable of doing so. During the first sergeant’s speech he said, “Turn around and take a look around you. These are your hills now, you’ve earned them. You are a part of the Norwich Family, something that can never be taken away; two hundred years of men and women have come before you and you’re following in their footsteps. Keep working hard, and you will be able to call yourself a Norwich Cadet. This moment is yours, take it in.” As we stood there in silence I thought to myself, “this is where I want to be, this is where I belong.”
It is now week 6 of Rookdom. Time is flying by. Week 0 was rook orientation week. Rook arrival day was nerve wracking for sure. I was excited to meet my soon-to-be rook brothers and sisters, but I was nervous for what was to come after my parents left. Unfortunately, this week we did not have much time to bond with our rook family but in the brief moments we did it was all laughs. My staff sergeants are good at what they do. They continually demonstrate the proper way to march, greet, and act. There has yet to be a day week that I wanted to turn back and go home. Every morning during Rook Week we were woken up by the cannon on the UP and music played by our cadre. Even though my first thoughts when I woke up were “This sucks, I could be sleeping,” I continued to move as fast as possible to get ready. Every night when my roommates and I were put to bed we would laugh about what we messed up on that day and then realize, it really wasn’t that bad. The most memorable part of my week was the Dog River Run. Prior to the dog river run my platoon and I painted our faces with camo face paint as instructed by our cadre. Once we marched to the soccer fields as a unit we were then instructed to continue to camouflage ourselves with grass, trees, etc. Some of my rook brothers actually looked like trees; with branches from trees sticking out of their ACUs, while others looked like scarecrows from their grass-stuffed-ACUs. After PTing with our cadre we motivated each other with chants. We then ran to the Dog River and dove into the muddy water. We were instructed to get a rock from the river to keep for as long as we are here at Norwich. Some rooks came up with a rock small enough to carry in one hand while others came up with what could potentially be classified as boulders. Throughout the Dog River Run we stuck together, not leaving anyone behind. This experience really brought my platoon together. We learned the importance of staying together as well as motivating each other.
During study hall one night, a staff sergeant from 5-2 walked passed our room, stopped, turned around and walked towards our door. “Oh shit” thought to myself. “I have no idea what this guys name is. Oh god there’s a wrinkle in my bed. “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Margo, from Paper Towns?” he asked. “Uh no, I don't know who that is.” I responded. “Yo, you watch Paper Towns?” He shouted down the hall to another cadre member. “You know the character Margo? Rct Covino is her doppelganger.” “What let me see? Oh my god you're right.” Next thing I knew I was being called into the hallway so my cadre could show everyone that I looked like this actress. I was stopped in the gutter when I was walking to class and I was even approached at chow several times because cadets thought I looked just like Cara Delevingne.
Over the last six weeks we have really learned that everything here is earned. We lost the privileges to eat with a fork and take hands to our food, we only have four minutes to hygiene and change, and we have had to square the hall way twice. We earned the privilege to take hands to our food by marching well as a company during the Alumni Parade. This means we don't have to ask to take a bite from an apple or our sandwich or any other food that is usually consumed with your hands. Later in the week we earned our forks back for sounding off. There was one day that we had to make our beds three times because one of my rook brothers did not make his rack before leaving for the day. I love my rook family, but paying for their mistakes gets to be annoying, so I take it upon myself to go room to room everyday to help my rook brothers properly SOP their rooms. Most of them are thankful when I do this, but there are some that get irritated because they think I think that I am better than them when actually I am taking time out of my day to help people that need it. Over the past few weeks we have learned who the team players are and who the individuals are. It is hard to work as a team when not everyone wants to work as a team.
Hello everyone, my name is Kathleen Covino but my friends and family call me Katie, which was shortened to “KT.” I am an incoming Rook at Norwich University. I have lived in Medford Massachusetts my entire life; I am one of four kids in my family. I have two older brothers, one is a mechanical engineer while the other is in the Navy Reserves and is now goes to Massachusetts Maritime Academy. I also have a younger sister who I think looks nothing like me but her looks convince people that we are twins. My father is a police officer in Medford and my mother is a nurse at a few hospitals in the area.
I toured Norwich thinking I’d hate it because when my brother was looking at schools he didn’t like it. When I got there I was blown away by the organization of the admissions office, I had a whole schedule to follow consisting of who I’d be meeting with and where I’d be going. We were even fed lunch! I first toured the school I was looking into Construction Management (no too sure what I was thinking). I knew I was in the right place when I began to meet with some of the professors and administrators. They loved their jobs, they loved their students and their colleagues. Right when I got home from the visit I applied to Norwich. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go into the corps or civilian. Once I was notified that I was accepted into Norwich I visited the school again, this time I attended an NU Experience. My host was incredible. She answered all of my questions, and even opened my eyes to parts of the school I never really thought to consider. After my stay with her and being surrounded by a bunch of rooks, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Still not quite sure what I want to do in my future, yet, I do know that I want to help people. I dream about helping people in many different ways, from providing medical attention to enforcing laws. No matter where I end up I know that Norwich will help me get me to where I am supposed to be.
August 21st is move in day, day one of Rook Week. I’m excited about the challenges that I will encounter. At one of my campus tours the Dog River Run was brought to my attention. After watching videos and hearing stories of it I couldn’t wait to complete it. I am also eager to learn how to become a great leader. In high school I was a leader on my dance team, a captain of the varsity cheerleading team as well as the varsity lacrosse team. I am most excited about meeting my rook brothers and sisters. When I visited Norwich I fell in love with the bond between each rook. It was like they were actually related, they cared for each other like they were family, and even goofed off with each other as I do with my siblings.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt