Thursday, March 27, 2008


Thus far in this blog I’ve explored several aspects of the United States Military Academy. I’ve looked at its history, and discovered its deep traditions; I’ve investigated the mission statement, and what it means to those who have the responsibility to live it; I’ve looked in to the stressful daily lives of West Point’s cadets, and understood how strong a person must be to endure the everyday challenges that present themselves at the academy. However, in order to better understand and accept the United States Military Academy, there is another (somewhat enormous) question that must be asked, and that question is, why on earth would anyone want to attend this school? The fact that I even need to ask this question is a demonstration of my ignorance. Thousands of people have attended, and are currently attending West Point, and clearly they’ve all had reasons to do so. Therefore, the time has come to investigate these reasons, and the only accurate way to do this is by going straight to those who have them, mainly the West Point cadets.
For this blog, I spoke with a cadet (who again will remain nameless in order to protect his privacy) who explained his motivations for attending the United States Military Academy. According to the cadet, he attended West Point because he was under the impression that the military would challenge him in three aspects of his life: the physical aspect, the academic aspect, and the spiritual aspect. While most colleges focus primarily on developing academics, the military was appealing to him because it would build him as a well-rounded character. It’s no secret that West Point is challenging both academically and physically, but I was confused about the spirituality aspect of which he spoke. He explained that West Point is known for the strength of its ethical code. It also has a high percentage of Christian students and multiple active church groups. Therefore, according to this cadet, West Point boasted an all-in-one reputation, which was enough to get him involved (Anonymous).
The cadet I interviewed raised some extremely valid points. West Point can certainly offer a challenge to anyone who wants it. It’s difficult for me to relate to someone who’s constantly looking for a way to challenge themselves to the extreme. Personally, I like to be busy and challenged. I enjoy a healthy level of stress and I love working hard. I don’t like my classes to be a waste of time, and I always push myself as hard as I can during my workouts. However, that comes from me. I’m not a fan of someone standing over my shoulder and telling me to work harder. I work as hard as I can for the benefit of myself only. However, understanding that there are other people in the world who have different lifestyles than me is crucial to leading a relaxed life. My first step toward making sense of the United States Military Academy will come from my ability to think outside my own comfort zone. I need to remember that people, like the cadet I spoke to, have different motivations in life. The cadet I interviewed wanted to push himself as hard as he possibly could in every aspect of his life, and that’s why he was at West Point, and I know I’m learning when I can honestly say, that’s a good reason.


Anonymous, Telephone interview. 27 March 2008.

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