As I sit here I can’t help but think of how I could have done things better in my life to put me in better standings today and in the future. While I was in High School I dated a girl who, for a long time, I thought was the girl for me to spend the rest of my life with. We spent every spare minute together and had a good time doing it. I was a huge Air Force Junior ROTC buff in those days as well. For four years I spent much of my time in the three ROTC offices on our local high school campus.
As a sophomore I was elected the Honor Guard Commander for our unit. This is an early start for a staff position of this magnitude. Junior year I was selected to be the Academic Affairs Officer for our unit. The most important position of all that I received was in my senior year, when I was picked for the highest possible cadet position in the corps, Corps Commander. That was where I was supposed to be, what I knew, what I dreamed about at night, and where I was comfortable.
As a young man with high ambitions I was determined to go to college. Many opportunities were thrown my way because of my stature among the ROTC corps. This is where I start to throw away the opportunities and chances that would ultimately determine my future. I was the number one contender for the AFROTC scholarship to any major university that offered an Air Force ROTC course. Blinded by my love for a young girl, I opted to not even complete the application form to send in for review. My Vice-Corps Commander, who was not nearly as experienced as I, however wasn’t nearly as foolish as I had been. He completed the application and submitted it for review. Months roll by and he finds out that he was to receive a full-ride scholarship to the University of Kentucky where he would also receive a stipend every month to pay for living expenses.
One week after school was released, I received a text message from the girl who I had built my future around saying that she wanted to end our relationship. With all of those dreams built on the foundation of us being together gone, what did I have left? I often wonder, what if I had just applied for the scholarship? If my subordinate could receive the scholarship with less experience than I had, surely I would have received a full-ride scholarship as well right? From this experience I have learned many lessons. There is one that sticks out the most to me. Don’t dwell on the happenings of the past. Rather, use those experiences and knowledge gained through hardships to better you as an individual for the future. I believe that if we all use our experiences, both good and bad, to build our own characters on, that we can form a stronger, more driven and successful person for ourselves.
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