Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stream of consciousness musings

What should I be doing right now instead of blogging? Working out and losing weight, studying my Spanish for the quiz on Monday and organizing my required reading for my other classes. Blogging = procrastinating on a Saturday night.

At 30, I feel like I've achieved reasonably as much with my life as a 21 or 22 year old, and that includes my Army stint and my college degree when I get it. It's guys who feel like me that try to go back to HS and pretend they're freshmen. Operating principle: REGRET. I'm only different from them in that my version of the go-back-to-HS thing was the Army and Columbia, and I've learned since that the problem is not with the setting or opportunity, it's me.

10.5 credits until my undergraduate degree. I should be a certified college graduate by December - yeah, baby! I'd be more excited to be a Columbia graduate, except for the mitigating fact that it will have taken me 12.5 years since I graduated from HS to earn my college degree.

Career dilemma. Whenever I find out what Stuy classmates have been up to, I feel that I really need to catch up and do what they're doing, ie, high achievement in the civilian professional world. Didn't I go to Columbia in order to re-enter that track, to become one of them again? Then I think about what I want to do right now, and what arises out of the ether is that I want to be an Army Civil Affairs officer, and I went to get into the middle of the real stuff. Yeah, it's about 9/11. It happened and not going back in feels like getting over. I envy the Columbia milvets who've served since 9/11. They got to do their share when it counted. They now can, with clear conscience, go on the Columbia civilian professional achievement track. Gavin told me when I was leaving West Point that I should do so in good conscience, having done more to serve the country than 99% of our generation. I took comfort in that before 9/11, but it's different now. I know that 20 years from now, if I look back and I didn't serve after 9/11, or at least try to get back in, I'll feel like I got over. If we lose the war, it will be because of lack of will, and the same lack of will is the reason I wouldn't go back in. Probably no one will single me out, since most of my generation will not have served, but I'll know. In any case, I need to figure out what to do after graduation, and right now, becoming a reservist Civil Affairs officer and going 'over there' makes the most sense.

Student leadership. I've reached the point where I'm comfortable telling myself that if the current MilVets and Hamilton Society leaders can't pull it together, it's not on me anymore. In terms of student activism, I've fulfilled the promise I made while walking the streets of New York on 9/11. I've done my fair share for the cause on campus. If I choose to do more, it's in uniform.

Eric

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