It’s been 21 years since I left the military school and people still ask me why I left. I left because I felt that early on, military life was not for me.
I entered in the first place to try something new and adventurous, but it was not a career I saw myself retiring into— I wanted to be a writer. But looking back, without entering the military school, I wouldn’t have learned the following things, which I am now applying in my life:
#1: Conquer Your Fears
I never thought I had a fear of heights until I was asked to finish rappelling, rope, and several obstacle courses and jump from a 10-foot diving board into a pool. Yes, I did finish them, not as fast as my other female classmates though and with a lot of help from my classmates, senior, and tactical officers, but at least I’ve finished them.
In life, we will face a lot of obstacles and challenges, and sometimes fear will stop us. If we don’t conquer them on our own, life will have to force us to conquer them. So, we must go on and do it anyway. (Read: Passion or Career? Podcaster Marge Villaester Weighs In)
#2: Maintain Connections
It’s been 21 years, but I still get in touch with my former classmates— both graduates and non-graduates. Friendships don’t have to end because I didn’t graduate from the academy. Some of them I haven’t seen in 20 years, but thanks to social media, we’re now connected.
There’s nothing like talking to someone who knows something about my past, who “gets” me, and knows what I’ve been through (even in such a short period of time) in ways others may not. Who knows you may need them or vice versa? (Read: DJ Terence Khan Talks Career Challenges, Valuable Learnings, and More)
#3: Focus on What You Can Do
I was always behind road runs when I was a cadet, but I know deep down, I won’t be able to catch up if I stayed negative. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my seniors and classmates, I was able to catch up by practicing a lot during my free time. I didn’t become the fastest runner in our squad, but I was able to pass my fitness exams.
Trust me, you’ll have many the opportunity to feel down and think negatively about yourself inside the academy. But if there’s one thing, I’ve learned was how to turn negative into positive thinking. It’s by focusing on what I can do rather than what I can’t. (Read: How to Feel More Positive at Work)
#4: Take One Day at a Time
I always like planning ahead of time. I look too far ahead. I worry about what might be or what might have been. What if I don’t graduate? What if I get injured? I tend to forget to enjoy the journey. But inside the academy, we’re taught how to be flexible and learn to adapt to transitions and changes.
As I said, I realized that military life was not for me, so I decided after two years inside to continue my life outside the academy and finished my remaining year in college. I pursued what I always wanted in life— writing. (Read: BJ Oronos Left Home for His Passion, He Now Creates Unique Caricature Art)
I may not be the famous writer yet I’ve always wanted myself to be, but I know my time will surely come and I’ll be amazed at how I’ve managed to enjoy the journey. Thanks to my military training, I became the better person I am now.