In the realm of my lexicon, passion is equated with limits and the will to defy them – 4.16.10
So, I have been denied entry back into the program (AFROTC). Not getting accepted back into the program is kind of bitter-sweet. Bitter in the sense that as it was delivered, “You have absolutely no chance of competing for an EA (Enrollment Allocation for Field Training); we let guys go last semester who had a better outlook than you.” Shattering, very shattering not to mention heartbreaking, but I had already been out of the program for two years at that point so it wasn’t so disappointing. Still, rejection isn’t something everyone hails as a victory; it just means I didn’t give up on it.
On to the better part of reality, with the program now behind me, I’m taking on Plan C – Officer Training School (OTS) after graduation. Looking at the plan and the steps I need to take to getting what I want, which is ultimately UPT, seems very daunting. Optimistically, I could say I’m really at the start of things, I have a chance to complete 13 hours in my upper division courses and improve my GPA this semester. For the new approach that I’m taking, nobody really knows me; they don’t know my failures, my history for the last six years, or about the program and what I’ve been trying to do. Pessimistically, I’m at a disadvantage, even more so than when I was with the program. The massive cuts into the military budget, while I politically applaud though it runs counter to my objective (try to figure that one out) significantly reduce the percentage of success across the board. I couldn’t get back into the program because new requirements and restrictions had been implemented during my leave.
With the Commander’s words in resonance, someone who went to the Academy and majored in Aerospace if one could believe it, I found myself radically altering what I had to do. While the package to UPT requires a few things I cannot do until I’m near graduation (Fall 2013), the majority of its requirements are in the here and now. Foremost above them is the rise in my GPA, followed by an active role in a student organization, the assumption of leadership, the testing of metal and pressure, the advancement into student research programs, and recommendations.
Starting over is a wonderful thing, it gives me a chance to recreate myself, to show others, not so much what I have learned in struggle, but who I am as the result of it. I say this because I’m at odds with how I got to this point. In tabula rasa, one does not simply highlight one’s failures, it defeats the purpose, yet I don’t know how to approach it in speaking about where I have been. Washing out, as with rejection, is not something I take pride in nor hail as a victory, though I am who I am because of it. The idea for me in tabula rasa is to create an image larger than life, to experience it as epic and allow others to radiate through me. It’s not just a birth or renewal, it’s about the well calculated actions of engaging my life in mythic terms. To weave and construct a myth out of failure, absent of that failure within the myth, begs a question though, is it right? Is it the noble or honorable actions of a man? Or should I be rather Nietzschean and create my own value judgment? By that essential characteristic, I can be recognized as a Superman. I do not disregard my failures, others though need not know.
Grounded, in the here and now, the steps I am taking in Plan C, coincide directly with the steps required to proceed with Plan D (NASA’S JPL or JSC) and subsequently Plan E (Civil Sector). Even at the civil sector, the dream is never over. ASU is host to the Mars Exploration Rover missions and a wide variety of research opportunities with NASA and other institutions. Focusing on my GPA would give me an upper hand in application to research programs that would better position me for D and E. Getting involved in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), by way of influence through Dunia, would transfer across my own board C through E. The essence of being a driven, unflinching, calculating machine, who takes what he wants when he wants, can be matched by no other than the Heroic Man.
Looking forward, UPT through the Air Force might not be the best option. By way of dear father, the best option would be to pursue UPT either through the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserves, become a pilot, and then transfer laterally to Active Duty Air Force. Perceived by the military cuts and additional input from sources online, my chances in ANG or AFA are slightly better, not by much but, I can’t tunnel vision myself. On this idea I have expanded with the objective of volunteering for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the thought of a Private Pilot’s License (PPL) has not been lost on me. Everything I do now, from this day to that will decide my destiny. I define it here and now.
This is all to say nothing of my age. The maximum age for UPT entrance is 29.1 years, as it stands, by the time I graduate (December 2013), I’ll be 28 years old and 3 months, considered by the selection board for UPT to be “age critical.” This has always been a worry for me, even when I was 20 starting out. This immovable reality bears down on me like none other. It’s not so much in the foreground as it is buried near the core. I must be ever mindful of it.
Ares is the Greek god of war with Mars as the Roman equivalent, you conquer Mars, you conquer life. While the Detachment Commander said “No, you have absolutely no chance,” all I heard was, “Imma show you, how great I am.”