Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Academy and The Score

Ah, what a few weeks it has been. After waiting three weeks to get my LSAT score back I finally got it, and happily I found that I didn’t do terribly. Turns out I got a 155, which really isn’t as good as I wanted to do, but about as good as I deserved given my relatively short period of studying. But the great thing is that its over, this dark cloud of a thing is gone and can rain on someone else. Hooray. Another great opportunity that came recently into my life was an ASU sponsored trip to West Point Military Academy in New York for a conference on ethics. The invitation came as a surprise to me, and I had to compete against 18 others in an essay-writing contest for the spot, but eventually I got the nod and was on my way to New York for some time with America’s future military leaders. The conference was great, I lived with one of the cadets in one of the barracks in the heart of West Point, which looks just like a giant castle. The amount of discipline in their lives is really incredible to see, as I had the pleasure of waking up with them at 6am to the sound of “reveille” being played on the trumpet outside our window. From there, almost their entire days were planned out, minute-by-minute, with very little time for fun. Needless to say, it was a bit different than my life. Every freshman called me “sir,” which was nice, and we all ate at the same time in a giant 4,000 person dining hall which seemed to be straight from a Harry Potter movie. During the day I attended seminars and talked about everything from economics to business to philanthropy. We heard from military generals, news correspondents, and professional mountain climbers. It really was a good time. Oh, and on a side note, I made a fool of myself in front of ABC news’ Chief White House Correspondent, which wasn’t one of my better moments I will admit.

I suppose what I will most take away from that conference, other than the ideas and good debate that was had, will be the cadets I met at the Academy. Each of the people I got to know well are in their senior year, and each of them will be serving for 15 months as an officer in Iraq within the year. It was riveting to talk with them about how they feel about going to war, about commanding men, and about our country and their duty. It was interesting for me to learn that the most requested position within the cadets at West Point is that of infantryman. When I asked why, my roommate simply shrugged and told me that he and his fellow cadets wanted to prove to themselves that they had what it took, that they could fight for a cause that they didn’t necessarily believe in. Wow, I thought to myself. I told him that I didn’t know how anyone could deal with that amount of pressure, and he just shrugged again and went back to reading his book. So I am glad that there are people who are braver than me, who feel called to serve in hostile places, even if they can’t articulate just why.

So in short, life is good, I am almost out of college, which isn’t my favorite place to be, but I look forward to seeing what will happen next in my unpredictable life.