5 years ago, I was just an ordinary 7th grader who liked to play video games. When my father suggested me to study in United States where new opportunities and educations were waiting, I agreed to him. Six month later, half way across the world from mom and dad, I started my journey in United States with great expectations.
Missouri Military Academy was my school’s name. I had somewhat anticipated the life at a military institution, but clearly was not prepared for the life that had awaited me. To start with, unlike my cozy room in Korea, the living quarter in the barrack was cold: the pale hard white concrete walls seemed to depict the stoic and discipline oriented lifestyle. Boarding military school was harsh.
To start with, things I had taken for granted from mom, suddenly became my own responsibility. From washing and ironing my clothes, polishing my shoes to even cleaning the barrack bathroom, I had to do everything on my own. Although I was not familiar with doing chores by myself, I gradually got used to it. I even learned to cook for myself whenever I was hungry. In addition, school works such as homework, projects, and test preparations were my sole responsibility. There were no parents to supervise whether I had finished my homework or I had studied for exams. I learned to be independent and responsible about my life.
High school is a place where young teens learn to become mature and responsible. It is a place where students get trained to take on bigger challenges in life. Obstacles such as college. From my own personal experiences, high school didn’t seem that way. Students were more concerned about getting a passing grade then about what they were taught. They would even cheat their way out of high ...
Also, there was no longer “mine” or “I”, it was a group life and we had to live and work as a group. Whether it was my fault or another cadet’s fault, we were punished as a group and we were lauded as a group. One day, someone smoked in the bathroom. As a result, at 11pm, sergeant woke all 40 of us up with an ear screeching mega-phone. All 40 of us had to change into our uniforms and had to line up in formation for the 2 hours of lecture and individual interrogation. Ultimately, because no one confessed to the lingering smoke scent in the bathroom, we were all punished. That coming Saturday, we marched for 3 hours under the scorching sun during our free time. Team punishment happens often in a military school. Even though it may sound unfair to some people, I have learned to accept the meaning of group life.
At my school, 300 of us cadets are randomly assigned to 3 different barracks named Charlie, Delta, and Echo. Once cadets are assigned to whichever barrack, he must spend most of his military school life there. Arguments and conflicts arise regularly since young cadets from different backgrounds and cultures are required to live with each other. However, through 5 years of my experience in Delta, I have learned to understand and accept the differences, and to mingle easily with others.
As tough as it was, military school experience was amazing. It not only toughened me as an individual, but also imbued in me the confidence to work with anyone and to bring out the best in everyone as a team. I have the confidence in myself to overcome any adversity in the future and I believe that I can influence and encourage others at University of Wisconsin. Using various lessons learned from my previous military school experience, I wish to contribute to the diversity of University of Wisconsin.