Sunday, December 30, 2012

Life update, medical purgatory, and fitting in (regular college/vs. West Point)

Well, it has been some time since my last update, so my thoughts/ideas might be a bit scattered.  I've been busy!  First, I visited my boyfriend in Europe, then I ran the Philadelphia marathon a couple of days later, and most recently, I visited my boyfriend AGAIN, this time in Spain.  Such a lovely country :)

I'm still in medical purgatory over here - not quite sure what will happen or what I want to do with myself.  I was supposed to be cleared to drive back in October, and then that didn't go through right away because I don't have a NY driver's license, so I had to wait for my state's forms, and when I gave them to the neurologist he decided that because I'm still having the partial seizures on a regular basis that he wants to wait until we do a three-day EEG (testing my brain waves for abnormalities, basically).  The criteria they were using over here to decide when to return me to duty was that I was able to drive again.  Well, now I will know the results in a few days.  But here's the kicker: now I'm questioning if I want to return to duty or not.  It's tricky.  On one hand, I worked hard through four years of college (and not your NORMAL college either) to commission.  I also enjoy putting on my uniform.  It's been a part of my identity since I was seventeen years old, and while I'm not afraid to leave, it's hard to just give that up.  Especially since I only graduated a little over a year and a half ago.  I guess I do have a choice with whether I want to stay in, as having seizures gives me the option (unless they can't be controlled, then I have no choice).  I wouldn't mind going into the national guard or reserves where I would have a bit less unpredictability, but being active duty, there are times when you have to be somewhere at three random times, sometimes with no warning.  You have to be ready to go.  Some units are different than others with more stability, but regardless of where you are, you're still a soldier, and the big Army doesn't assign people based on stability; though, if I were to go into another unit, I would be on the rear detachment - meaning no deployment.  But even then, you still need to be able to go at a moment's notice.  By go I don't necessarily mean deployment, but other important soldier skills.  Right now it's not so bad because I live where I "work."  I have no choice in driving, but even if I did, if I don't feel right I don't have to drive.  If I'm in a regular unit that wants me up and ready to go at random hours, and I'm not feeling right, what is going to happen?  How am I going to be able to do an officer's job if I have to constantly rely on others?  Now, granted, in the civilian world I'd still have to figure a way around possible transportation issues.  But I suspect with more normal hours and the ability to choose where I live (i.e., near SOME form of public transportation), it wouldn't be quite so difficult.  So I'm not sure.  I will probably just return to duty, as I did work so hard to make it this far.  It''s hard to give that up because some health issue pops up (that was all ready there for at least two years, just not as bad as it is now).

On another similar but different note, I just finished a book that has made me wish sometimes that I had chosen a regular college.  Not because I wanted to party all the time.  Rather, it has to do with the type of people or type of education from a regular school.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have realized since I started my master's program how much West Point's education really was good.  While I can't remember anything about physics (though I'm trying to correct that by using a teach yourself guide) or chemistry or other such areas, I did learn how to write a damn good paper and put my ideas into organized words in order to get my point across to my audience (my blog doesn't count!)  The big thing has to do with the type of free-thinking that I would get at a normal college and the variety in the types of people I might meet.  Don't get me wrong, I met a fabulous group of friends, and not everyone was the same.  However, because of the nature of a military academy, there was a similar type of personality that didn't fit me very well.  Actually, the military in general doesn't really fit my personality type very well, but sometimes that isn't bad.  As someone else told me when I was talking to him about getting out: "don't get out, we need officers like you.  You could actually make a difference."  That made me feel really good.  Granted, I am pretty competitive in areas that matter to me, and I like to perform at my best, so those are traits that help within the military, and they helped me get through West Point (though I was far from the top).

So what do I mean then?  Well, my love of music, for example.  Or rather, my former obsession with it, that moved to running, and then off and on with music.  My love of creative thinking, and looking at things in a different way.  Each of my close friends did not fall into the category "typical."  Most of them were artsy in some form - musical, artistic, and not afraid to be different.  All of us still had the competitive nature that was the trademark of West Point cadets, but perhaps thought differently.  I have no idea how to explain it, because I know that everyone is unique in their own way, and I didn't know every cadets dreams or hopes or how they thought outside of the classroom setting.  Just that I think I would have fit in better at a college where more students weren't afraid to express their eccentrities.  Where you blended in if you didn't fit into a certain mold.  Of course, this may be why I loved my major so much; while it was not artistic, it was very reflective and looked at different personality types, and how did one develop those types of personalities/thought processes/etc.  I am glad, however, that I found a group of close friends that have been accepting of the weirdest parts of my personalities (and my general klutziness, and occasional awkwardness).  I miss all of you like crazy :)