I only have about two and a half weeks left of my freshman year, and I wanted to share my experience in NROTC for those of you who will be joining in the fall. I can honestly say that it has been an awesome experience. I have learned so much about not only new and interesting topics, but also about leadership and what matters most. My grades aren’t as great as last semester and my PRT scores aren’t much better, but I think the leadership growth more than compensates. In another time in my life, I would probably be freaking out about my grades. That’s not to say that I don’t get frustrated and upset about it sometimes, but mostly I feel at peace about it. It definitely hasn’t been easy and I have probably shed more tears total this semester than in my whole life. I took 19 credits as an engineering major and I undertook some leadership responsibility, as well. I am not the brightest, nor the fittest, and I work hard to do as well as I do. I have learned that I have a great support system of family and friends, and most of the other midshipmen truly care and are there for me. Apparently, last semester I came off as self-centered, and anybody that knows me knows that that is not the case. I’m just a bit shy. I care a ton about others. Any rate, CARING was the big focus for me this semester. I felt needy and like I couldn’t help anyone with anything as repayment. I struggled to figure out how I could possibly show that I care. Now, I know that nobody expects me to repay them, and that a smile or nice note can go a long way, as well as simply offering to help. Time is absolutely precious, but I know that time spent just listening to others is time well spent. The midshipmen I respect and appreciate the most are those that care and provide positive encouragement. By identifying what good leaders and bad leaders look like, I have a pretty good idea how I want to lead. I plan on telling all those I appreciate that I appreciate them and their leadership.