On August 8, 2012, I matriculated into the New Mexico Military Institute. Today, by having lasted a full 21 days at NMMI (something that not everybody was able to do, although the vast majority, 512 out of 540, of my RAT Buddies made it this far), I earned the right to communicate with the outside world through means other than mail. The New Mexico Military Institute is a military junior college and high school (I'm a college cadet) in Roswell, New Mexico (the only two reasons why Roswell is a significant city are because of NMMI and because of aliens, the touristy businesses generated by that seem really stupid). For college, along with being regarded as having academics comparable to the first two years of some of the best universities in the United States (for example, the United States Air Force Academy), it has programs to prepare cadets for the five Federal Service Academies (in fact, although the big three have their own prep schools and the Coast Guard Academy uses the Naval Academy's prep school, they all send a few people here every year and the Merchant Marine Academy uses NMMI exclusively), it has a program to commission US Army Reserve and US Army National Guard officers in only two years.
I'm just here to get a criminal justice degree and possibly to get an appointment to the US Naval Academy, but I'm definitely better off here than I would be at a regular civilian junior college or university because I don't really accomplish very much if I don't have structure in my life, and there's definitely more structure here than in such an institution.
I am in the chess club and the rifle club. I don't know how well I will do in the rifle club (I'm fairly of out of practice), but I know that I am a competent chess player (as I previously played in tournaments on a regular basis, I know enough not to say that I'm a good chess player, but I'm better than most people who I play against).
I'm majoring in criminal justice, which means that this semester, my main classes are Russian, military science, English, history, and Intro to Criminal Justice. I've noticed that the history department seems to have political opinions that strongly differ from the English department and the criminal justice professor (although my Russian professor teaches history as well, she doesn't have such strong views as my other professors because she spent a good portion of her life in Russia). For example, when my history teacher told the class that he wouldn't be nearly as good an Air Force intelligence officer as he was (before he was assigned to teach at the US Air Force Academy for the remainder of his military career) if he relied on Fox News for information, one of the ROTC cadets in the class with me decided to say that it was for that reason that he is branching infantry. Until you experience it firsthand, you will not really understand that some people actually take pride in ignorance. On the other side of the fence, my criminal justice professor requires us to read the Drudge Report daily.
There are seven Afghan National Army soldiers selected by NATO to come here for a year, attend the US Federal Service Academies, and then return to Afghanistan to improve their military. I'm getting along pretty well with the two who are in my troop (they seemed to like that somebody knew enough to greet them with "Eid Mubarak" on the day that Ramadan ended and are among the friendliest cadets here).