Explorer Academy was last week. I can't explain exactly what I learned. It's like I'm a new person, and yet the same. When I put on my uniform now, I feel so much more respect for it and for the job that it signifies. I went to Academy to prove to myself that I have what it takes to make it through a week of hell. I came back wanting to do this job more than before.
My TACs (the officers who were in charge of our small groups) were unusually amazing. Deputy C, my main TAC, could be a real tough guy and pushed us physically and emotionally. I discovered I can go way farther than I ever thought I could. At the same time though, Deputy C really cared about each of us and wanted us to succeed. So did our other TACs. So my Basic Academy was different than most people's. Sure we worked hard, but we wanted to. We did our best to make our TACs proud, and they in turn didn't make us do pushups just for the heck of it.
Like I said before though I really can't put into words what I came away with. I value life more, I appreciate authority in a different way, I feel like many of my peers are just floating through life and wish they could experience Academy, too. And I respect the people who push themselves to achieve their personal best--no matter what the field.
Our platoon (16 of us) won the group academic award every day. We also did well at drill down (drill and ceremony competition) and Esprit de Corps (skits showing teamwork and spirit). At Academy graduation on Sunday, awards were handed out to individuals in Academics, Firearms, and Physical Agility as well as for the overall most well-rounded Explorer. I was shocked when I won 3rd place in Basic Academics, 3rd in Basic Female Physical Agility, and 1st in Basic Firearms. After graduation, when I said goodbye to all my TACs, my female TAC told me that in a few years she could see me doing her job. And that made the whole week worthwhile to me.