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~Update~

I don't feel like I've made a legitimate update in a while. I have to find some way to kill an hour and half at work.

So, graduation has come and gone. I've settled back into a routine and life at home in Allen. It feels really good to be around the parents and Mike again. I forgot that I have one damn cool little brother. We're similar in many ways, it's kind of scary. Life is fun and good when I'm at home. One thing about moving back is that I'm surprised at all of the changes and renovations occurring around Allen. The Market Street shops are almost complete. It's gorgeous at night. It's a mixture of high class shopping and waterfalls, creek paths and high dining, bronze ducks and a giant bronze ox. I need more excuses to go there. Or no excuse at all.

*Ishita Break!*

*Work Break!*

*FOCUS Break!*

My one complaint about moving back home has been the fact that when people at UTD want to hang out or do various things, I have to make the drive down there to do it. The inertia is almost a bit too much to overcome sometimes. I just got back from hanging out with the FOCUS crowd for a game night. It was a lot of fun. It was like I never left at all.

As for the act of leaving itself, I'm over it. The first week after graduation was almost a dazed dream where I feared being forgotten and forgetting people that meant a lot to me. However, after time here at home, I've been slowly letting go of that chapter of my life. Four years I lived and toiled at UTD for better or worse. I spent time reliving the moments and memories with all of the mistakes and wondrous triumphs included. Then, I tucked them away for safe-keeping within the vault of my heart. Even if I do forget, I won't have truly forgotten; the memories will always live on within me.

It's never good to live in the past when there's so much good in the future to look forward to. I'm headed down a good path. The future can be anything I want to make it to be. I need only to look ahead and to tackle each situation as I always have: with wit, courage, and a grand smile.

~Public Service Announcement~

In the interests of actually having things to talk about with Karen, I am hereby refusing to post in my LiveJournal.

That is all. 

~Housekeeping~

Things to do this week:

Specifically:

Monday:
Write two quick research summaries and turn in to receive my Cog Psych Grade
Call the Master Chief about completing my Navy application kit
Pay my Cable Bill
Find a place to get Mudkipz spayed

SEE ANNA, ADRIEN, AND RHENAH

Tuesday:
Start packing/moving (all week project)

Wednesday:
Cancel my cable, finally.

Sometime this week:
Spay Mudkip
Start moving crap home
Finish my Navy Application Kit
SEE SARA BEFORE SHE LEAVES

Who else is leaving??? I gotta see them!!!

~Graduation~

I graduated yesterday.  

I don't know what else to say. Wow.

Maybe because I don't know what to make of it yet. After my last final, I've been busy hanging out with various people and partying it up. I haven't really sat down to think about the meaning of everything.

Graduation was alright. It was a lot faster than my high school graduation. It only took an hour and a half compared to the four hour marathon that was Allen High School. It was actually my fifth UTD graduation because I've had to work graduation before as a Student Union Manager and Attendant. I had already heard the speeches before and let my mind wander. Before I knew it, it was over. I walked up and received my diploma. Just as I took the diploma from the Dean, I made a goofy face. I really hope I timed it right so that the photographer captured me gradding out with my tongue out.

I graduated with a lot of people that I knew from when I was a freshman. I'm also leaving behind many underclassmen who I only know half as well as I would like. I wonder what's going to happen to them. I have every faith and confidence in their abilities to be successful, but I hope I don't forget them. They are precious to me. I owe them so much for helping me become the person I am today.

It still hasn't hit me yet that I'm gone. Or maybe it has already. And that's why I'm so pensive and thoughtful.

If I never get the chance again, I want you all to know that I love you dearly.

~First Steps~

And now I'm done with all of my finals and classes.

Where the heck did finals week go? Things seemed to pass in a blur.

Today, for my last "final," I drove out to Irving to take the Aviation Selection Test Battery. I scored a 59 for my Officer Aptitude Rating which was good enough to put me in the top 20th percentile. My Flight Officer Rating was an 8 out of 9, which was enough to put me in the top 11th percentile for people applying to be Naval Flight Officers. This comes as an utter shock to me because I think I bombed the Aviation/Nautical Information Section as well as the Aviation Supplemental section. There were 10 to 15 questions in each section that I just straight-up guessed on because I had no fucking idea what the answer was.

Oh well, I guess they took into consideration that you'll learn it more in-depth in school.

Chief says that with my scores, I've got an excellent shot of getting into the programs I've selected. A couple more pieces of paperwork are needed, and then I'll be able to fire off my packet, hopefully at the June Review Boards. I should have my answer by the end of June at that rate.

Graduation is this Saturday, but it hasn't really hit me yet that I'm graduating and leaving UTD behind. Why is this? I must ponder this more.

Many, many thoughts swim through my head. I need more time to write everything down.

~Ahead on Our Way~

I woke up earlier today with the goal of passing the SEAL standards. I came so very close. Although I was disappointed at first and angry at having missed the cut-off time by such a small margin, I cheered up about things. 

The Fitness Challenge was held out in Keller, next to Southlake Carroll near Fort Worth. On my way there, I marvelled at the pristine, rich neighborhoods and back-alley style shops. However, I had a laugh to myself about a certain street I passed. "Whites Chapel Road." A relic from the segregated perhaps? On that street, there were churches all over with white paint schemes. I wondered if there was "Blacks Chapel Road" somewhere in Southlake Carroll.

I reported in to registration at 11:40, twenty minutes ahead of time. However, things were running behind schedule, so I got shuffled into the 11:20 group, which actually started the test at 12:20. First, was the 500 yard swim. My previous time on the swim was an embarrassingly slow 13:30 time. However, this time around, I stuck with the breast stroke the entire way through and swam the distance in 10:52! I'm extremely happy that I managed to shave nearly three minutes off of my swim time just from swimming constantly and perfecting my form and glide. I was also secretly happy to beat the exceptionally more athletic guy in the next lane, who I managed to easily stay ten seconds in front of.

For the pushups, situps, and pullups section, I got partnered with a guy who was ridiculously built. His name was Jonathan from Muskogee, Oklahoma. He was 20 years old and a college dropout. However, he was enlisting in the Navy and leaving for the SEAL program in August. I told him I was headed for Navy OCS and we formed an instant bond, despite our differences in athletic ability.

I managed to pump out 56 pushups without resting. I would have gotten more, but my knees hit the ground, which automatically counted me out of the running. However, this is a vast improvement over my old scores because I achieved them by having to take rests. 56 in one shot is a really good showing. I got 60 situps through sheer determination and force of will. I got 50 easily enough more or less, but fought mightily against my physical limitations to eke out the last ten. Again, vast improvement over the 50 I barely achieved within the time limit not two weeks ago. I also got the minimum of six pullups, but didn't have any gas left for the seventh. I've never had much upper-body strength. However, six is a lot better than the one or two I was doing five weeks ago.

Finally though, was the 1.5 mile run. I've been poring over the events of the run in my mind, trying to figure where it all unravelled. While I stayed on pace during my first three laps, I lost my focus and endurance by the fourth lap, which clocked in at over 3 minutes when I needed to keep a 2 minute pace. Up until that point, I was running a 7 minute mile and was on track to pass the run event.

I think several factors contributed to this. I lost control of my breathing and it was 2:00 or so by then and four hours since breakfast, when I only had a banana and an apple. I didn't count on the event stretching out a lot longer than how it normally unfolds and I think I was lacking energy by the time the 1.5 mile run rolled around. Finally, after pushing myself to the maximum on the other events, I just didn't have that much gas left for the run.

In the end, I only received a white SEAL fitness challenge t-shirt as opposed to a tan shirt for passing SEAL standards. It's such a small difference, but I know what that tan shirt stands for: that I'm fit enough to train as a SEAL. However, I still got a badass shirt out of the deal. I earned this shirt. I earned the hell out of this shirt. It's an awesome shirt. I think this is already one of my favorite shirts.

After the craziness of finals and graduation, I'm going to ramp up my training regimen. I've been going three times a week and swimming four times a week. I'll follow my usual PT regimen of pushups, situps, pull-ups, running, and swimming on MWF. However, on Tuesday and Thursday, I'll supplement my regimen with some serious strength-building weight-lifting (upper body on Tuesdays, lower body on Thursdays) and even more swimming. This way, I'm training for endurance, for strength, and swimming five times a week as is recommended by the SEAL instructors.


~FUCKIN' HELL~

I am right now experiencing some serious cognitive dissonance. I'm royally pissed with myself.

Final stats in today's SEAL Fitness Challenge were:

10:52 in the 500m swim
56 pushups
60 situps
6 pullups
11:12 in the 1.5 mile run

I passed every single event except for the run... which I missed by 12 seconds!!! FUCK

If I just pushed a little harder... Dammit. Yargh. Food. 

~Final Schedule~

Just so I know what I'm in for.

Thursday 4/30
Human Sexuality Final


Friday 5/1
Intermediate Voice Singing Final (All Three Pieces)
Music Theory Paper due
Employee Meeting @ 5:00PM to determine summer schedules
Oh yeah, gotta pay rent somewhere in there.

Monday 5/4
Experimental Projects Complete Paper Due
7:30 Night Rehearsal for Haydn Concert

Tuesday 5/5
7:30 Night Rehearsal for Haydn Concert 

Thursday 5/7
7:30 Night Rehearsal for Haydn Concert

Friday 5/8
Intermediate Voice Final
Dress Rehearsal for Spring Arts Festival
Spring Arts Festival (Singing Portion)
Four Concert Reports Due

Saturday 5/9
12:00 PM - Navy SEAL Fitness Test in Keller,TX
Haydn Concert at 8:00 PM


Monday 5/11
Cognitive Psychology Final


Tuesday 5/12
Understanding Film Final

Wednesday 5/13
Aviation Selection Test Battery @ 9:00 AM in Irving
Two Research Credit Hours Due

Saturday 5/16
GRADUATION AND HOME FREE

~Clear Plans~

 Well, I got nearly everything I talked about in my last post cleared up yesterday. Funny how that works out.

I got a LASIK consultation yesterday, which answered several of my questions. The doctor I saw was Doctor Mazaheri, who has an office on Campbell Road, not five minutes from the house. While we determined that I would be a good candidate for surgery, several issues cropped up during the consultation and my subsequent correspondence with my recruiter, Chief Chastain.

First, the procedure would cost somewhere around $3850. I don't really have that kind of money to blow at one time. It's a small issue though because they do offer some financing. Second, I would be unable to enter the Navy for six months after the procedure. I think they do that to ensure optimal healing. The idea of sticking around for another six months doesn't really appeal to me though. I won't have a job after three months and the idea of languishing for three monoths after that doesn't sit well with me. Finally, getting LASIK surgery would actually disqualify me from becoming a Naval Flight Officer. For whatever reason, they'll take guys with contacts and glasses, but not LASIK surgery. They'll even take guys with PRK surgery, which is an older procedure than LASIK, but more painful.

That's pretty freaking strange. At first, I thought it was just the Navy being behind the technological curve. However, Doc Mazaheri.told me that PRK confers certain "advantages" when you're in combat. The way he talked about it, you'd think we were talking about x-ray vision or replacement synthetic eyes.

Hell, if that's what PRK surgery entails, sign me up! I'll wait a whole damn year to enter the Navy.

In any case, I opted not for eye surgery. I figure that if I really want it, I'll get it later when I have the massively awesome benefits that the Navy provides. This answers so many questions that I had before. If I don't get eye surgery, I can't enlist and enter the SEALs. If I don't get eye surgery, I stay on track for my proposed August ship-out date. Man, things feel so much better when you clear up the air.

Well, I may not be entering BUD/s, but I can still train like a SEAL. Huah! 

In other news, I need to find a new home for Mudkip, as loathe as I am to do so. All three of us still left in the house are moving out at the end of May when our lease ends. I can't bring Mudkip back home with me as my parents would flip out. Man am I going to miss this kitty. She's stuck with me through thick and thin ever since I got her in October. 

~Possibilities~

A while back, I e-mailed the Chief and asked him about the Special Operations program for officers. The only thing that was keeping me from undertaking the program was my bad eyesight. However, I am now contemplating getting PRK eye surgery, which is sort of like LASIK except it hurts a little more. For whatever reason, the Navy hasn't kept up with the times. PRK surgery is only accepted for Aviation programs and since I also applied to be a Naval Flight Officer, I thought I'd keep my options open. In any case, you can get a waiver if you've had those eye surgeries.

However, the Chief informed me that SpecOps Officers are seldom brought in from the civilian world. In five years, they've only sent one Special Operations officer in straight from civilian life. That makes sense that they would prefer to promote from within the enlisted ranks. Which sounds better, a recent college graduate with no experience, or a SEAL with a college degree and four years of experience? He told me that if I was really bent on becoming a SEAL, I should go the enlisted route and sign the SEAL contract challenge.

Again, I find myself at a crossroads. What do I do? I want to be an officer in the Navy. However, it's the motherfucking SEALs. 

I am filled with questions that have no clear answer yet. Can I even get in with the stringent requirements? Can I physically perform when I find myself at BUDs? Am I mentally prepared? Am I mentally tough enough to push myself past the point of failure and ignore the misery, mud, lack of sleep, etc?

Only 10% of each entering class to BUDs graduates training and there have been several classes where nobody graduated. SEAL instructors say that 10% of each class is simply physically unable to complete the course. Another 10-15% are lost due to injuries like broken bones, etc. The last 60-70% just quit because they couldn't take anymore. They don't have the will or the drive. They don't have the desire.

Where do I fall in those statistics?

My plan is this so far. My first step is to get a consultation on my eye surgery and see if I can get it done, how much it'll cost, etc. I will push forward with the Officer application, but I will also contact an enlisted Navy personnel recruiter and get information about entering BUDs. I will have a much clearer idea about what I'm capable of in two weeks when I take the SEAL fitness challenge. It'll give me a better idea about where I stand.

I think if I don't make it into BUDs, I might even stick around for a while longer, and train myself for the entrance test. Options, decisions, and no clear path. It's only up to me to decide.