Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Hello everyone! I'm sorry I haven't put anything on here in so long, but I thought I'd write a blurb to say I'm okay and I got settled in alright. Well, my bags are unpacked, but I don't know that settled in is the right term. I hope to be putting up more photos soon, but here's my "new look" and my "new crib". I live in Moriarty Hall on the third story (that middle window on the creme colored plaster side of the building is mine). My dorm mates are all very nice people and tend to be settling down (third floor was a little rowdy on the second night here.... smaaaaaart). Lots of engineering majors in my dorm and I'm starting to notice people I know in my classes. Lucky me though, I was placed in a dorm with NO OTHER NROTC CANDIDATES. I think they hate me. Everyone else either has a roommate or two who are Candidates or they are in a dorm with other candidates. Apparently the Navy is racist and doesn't like Italians. Or prejudiced and doesn't like Anglicans. I'll keep you guys posted on that front.
First things first. I got in to Philadelphia at c. 1 AM and, thanks to time zones and strange sleeping and eating schedules, I was surprisingly awake and alert. Suffice to say, I made it out of the building alive and I was able to successfully maneuver the dark and dirty sidewalk of the Philadelphia International Airport and access Mr. Hoopes car. I stayed at his apartment that night, and then ran a few errands with him before he very kindly took me out to campus. I met with my two roommates, Ken and James, and had a pleasantly quiet evening with the other new students in my dorm.
Thursday through Sunday was jam packed with Orientation. They take orientation very seriously here.... all 1700 freshman are divided up into groups of about 20 students and assigned a group number (GROUP SIX-THREE!) and an orientation counselor (ROOOOOOBBBB!). Aside from an awkward luau and a slightly less awkward water ice social, orientation was a really nice, relaxing time where we got to spend a lot of time on campus and get to know all the buildings while at the same time we got to create a support group and get to know other people on campus. I know everyone in my group and even though I don't see some of them very often, it's nice to have that connection so that when I do see them I can go up and ask them how they're doing.
Orientation ended Sunday night, and Monday morning brought my first day of NROTC and my first set of classes. Well it would have, except my alarm clock didn't go off so I missed my first day of drill (NOT A GOOD DAY). Villanova NROTC prides itself in it's 6 week initiation program called India Company. We candidates have taken to calling it less pleasant things such as..... well.... okay.... we haven't thought of anything else yet... but if we do I'll let you know. For the first 6 weeks of school, we train/drill four mornings a week, and are basically on call for every school day (wearing "proper civilian attire", signing in twice a day at John Barry Hall and greeting officers according to their correct titles whenever we come across them). Lots of screaming. Lots of ego-breaking. Lots of work. It's mentally and emotionally draining, and the physical aspect has been tough (at least for me) as well. Suffice to say, I can't wait for Fall Review (when we all become midshipmen 4th class in early October).
As far as classes, I have Introduction to Engineering (learning how to work with CAD programs -quite fun), Chemistry (*deep breath*), Calculus (*deep breath*), Basic Theology, Augustinian Culture Seminar (a humanities-type class) and Naval Science. Plus I have three hour labs for Engineering, Chemistry and Naval Science.
I'm afraid I have to cut this short since the night is getting late here. But, as I have already said, I'm alive and I'll try to continue to keep you posted. Life is busy, but please call or email me if you ever get the chance and I'll try to get back to you ASAP if I don't catch you.