Day by Day

October 28, 2008
By Tony Giacin, Culver, IN

I can see my breath in the dark, freezing air as I stand – half awake – on the ice and snow at the position of “attention.” I can hear the commanding voices of officers echo down the quiet artillery streets as I force myself to execute facing movements as best I can. The only thing on my mind is Spanish verbs – disfrutar, conducir, relejar – I have a test first period. Too stressed to eat, too exhausted to think, too sore to move. I am a Culver Cadet.

It’s 6: 30 A.M – I was doing homework until 1 A.M. My quiet sleep is shattered by the boom of a cannon. As the explosion echoes endlessly across Lake Maxincukee, I try to get a few more minutes of sleep. The hallway lights flicker on, and the hall officer slams his fist on my door. I force my feet onto the frozen tile and unlock the door. He screams, “Wake up, now!” as he turns on the light. As he leaves, I turn the light off and crawl back into bed to sleep for as long as I can.

It’s 6:50 A.M., and now I have to get up. As I ponder my decision to become a Culver cadet and look out my window at the dark morning sky, I force myself out of bed again. I grab my towel and walk to the shower. I stand under the flow of hot water, head against the wall, thinking about everything I have to accomplish today. I hear the voice of the young callboy, screaming down the empty halls: “Notice sirs, notice sirs, 10 minute call for breakfast formation, sirs!” I dry off, walk back to my room, and rush to get dressed. I grab my stocking cap and winter coat and run down three flights of stairs and outside to join breakfast formation.

It’s 7:10 A.M., and 57 exhausted cadets march into the dining hall. As we sit in silence, I force myself to eat a bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit. The only sound in the dining hall packed with 800 students is the clinking of glasses and silverware. I quickly drink a cup of coffee, and head back to my room to clean and get ready for class.

It’s 7:30 A.M., and I panic to prepare my room for the day’s inspection. I tighten my bed so there are no wrinkles, I align my shoes in perfect order, I take out my trash, I sweep my floor, I clean my desk, I open my drapes, and I turn out the lights. I hope I didn’t forget something, because it will cost my unit points in the weekly Military Banner competition. I stuff my bag with heavy books, and dread the cold walk to class.

It’s 7:50 A.M., and my day has just begun. I walk to class as I rehearse Spanish verbs, and struggle to remember my to-do list. But somehow I know I will get it all done. Somehow I know I will learn something new today. Somehow I know all of this will pay off. Somehow I know I will have a great day.

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