So now that I’m getting ready for college at Hillsdale: packing, saying goodbyes, and enjoying the sun – I figured it was about time that I put down a paper and ink document, justification, what have you, of why I am writing this from the comfort of my cozy Sierra Madre home on my glossy new macbook pro and not in the dark of West Point Barracks. In other words: why I did not go to West Point . It’s probably the most common question I’m asked, so here’s a look in my head (and heart).
I should start off by saying that receiving my appointment to West Point was the happiest I have been in my life, and the greatest honor I have received to date (Air Force Academy as well). If you had talked to me a year ago, or in February when I accepted my appointment, no way in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would not be at West Point right now. If I could have stayed at USMA after Summer Seminar and started then, trust me, I would have. I was hooked, and I loved it. I have not just wanted to go to an academy since 8th grade – it was my main focus in life. I was completely and totally obsessed. It was my main goal and I did absolutely everything I could to get there. So no problem right? What’s the hang up? Well, after my “epiphany” where I woke my parents up at 2 am and told them I had decided on West Point, about 2 weeks later, actually, I realized I had make a mistake.
Deciding to not go to West Point was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
If you’ve ever seen the movie The Way We Were with Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who haven’t, quick recap: Katie and Hubbell are unlikely star-crossed lovers of the 1970’s who are madly in love, but just can’t make a relationship work between them. I’m not going to spoil the ending, because this is a MUST see film. And I know, I know, it is like me to relate my life to a romance flick but it just works too well here. West Point and I are Katie and Hubbell. Part of me wants West Point and the Army more than anything, but in the long run, I just know that it isn’t right.
The army lifestyle doesn’t fall in line with the life I know I want for my future. An 18 year old’s outlook is much more mature than an 8th grader’s. I want a family – to settle down and be a stay at home mom. I value that, and it is important to me. (Feminism and valuing women being women is an entire different thread I have left to write). If I were to go to USMA, I would love it. I would love the army. I would run through the dirt, mud, BDU’s, deployments, and active duty moves full steam ahead. But I would be giving up a huge part of who I am- of my identity, and of my woman hood. I simply couldn’t commit myself to the military until I was 30. I wanted to serve my country but I wanted to be able to live the life I wanted too.
So after thinking I wouldn’t be getting much use out of them for a while I pulled back out my heels for combat boots, my slue of dresses for khakis and polos, my make-up, my hair curlers, and my new dream: Law School. Who knows what will happen in 4 years, but what I do know is that having dreams has never done me wrong. So thank you West Point. Thank you for making me who I am today and who I want to be tomorrow: strong, driven, and making my own path. You will always have a place in my heart.