Response to Daily Prompt: But No Cigar
Did I ever tell you the time that I was in ROTC? Well you’re going to hear about it right now.
In the summer of 2012, just before starting my third semester of university, I suddenly had this brilliant idea to join the Air Force. Don’t ask me how I came to that conclusion because I really don’t know; I was having an episode. I originally wanted to drop out of university to enlist but I decided I wanted to be an officer so I decided to sign up for ROTC instead.
I was in the middle of a hypomanic episode at the time so I did pretty well. I was at the top of my classes, I passed most of the quizzes and exams, I made friends, I conquered my fears, and I found a way to be assertive. There was a day when we went to this obstacle course type area and most of the courses involved being about twenty feet or so above the ground. I am terrified of heights and I actually almost cried. I didn’t though… I just almost had a heart attack.
I had the job that I eventually wanted in the force picked out – Combat Systems Officer or Air Battle Manager. I even passed the physical exams for them, after I gained about ten pounds because I was underweight. So I finished the semester with high marks, and my commanding officers thought I would be an amazing officer some day.
But I couldn’t qualify for field training. I failed the DoDMeRB, Department of Defense Medical Review Board. I was disqualified because of several aspects actually; my bipolar disorder, my eating disorder, my suicidal tendencies, and the fact that I had been hospitalized. It should have been really obvious, right? But like I said, I was having an episode.
So that didn’t go as well as I wanted.
I absolutely loved ROTC. It was new, challenging, and pretty terrifying, but all in good ways. It was the only time in university when I felt like I actually wanted to be there.
When I was kicked out, I was devastated. I wanted to do anything I could to qualify.
But when I think about it now, I’m actually pretty glad I didn’t go through with it. It wasn’t what I really wanted to do with my life. Still, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing about my experience in the program. It was my favorite semester and I could never forget what I learned.