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.”