Rats! Episode 06 – Listen Up!

Amazing! We’re all the way up to episode 06! That’s mainly of interest to me because this was the last cartoon I did in the 2×2 panel format. After that, I switched to a regular 1×4 set up, which you’ll see next week.

The above incident actually happened to me my freshmen year. You might remember last week that I mentioned rats were required to speak up to all upper classmen in the hall and identify them correctly by name and rank without looking at them. That got old fast, so we tried to make our lives easier on ourselves by staying the hell out of the hallways. When we had to leave, we always listened at the door to see if we could figure out who was out there. One day, we stood at one side of the door listening, but couldn’t hear anybody. That’s because the upper classmen were on the other side of the door trying to figure out if we were in the room or not. I can’t recall why they wanted to know if we were in, but we sure surprised the hell out of them when we came rushing out the door all of a sudden, thinking the coast was clear. As I recall, everyone was too startled to worry about speaking up, and my roommate and I got out of the hallway without having to say much beyond, “Good morning Sir! Good morning Ma’am!”

Someone commented to me a couple of weeks ago that they couldn’t understand why I put up with all the crap I had to deal with being a rat in the VTCC. They thought it was depressing that I lived through that kind of hell for so long. To be honest, it was not my idea to join the VTCC. My dad insisted I had to at least try for an ROTC scholarship, or he wouldn’t pay for school. At that point in my life, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I only knew that college seemed like the next step to take, and I wasn’t ready to strike out on my own. So after lots of screaming and arguing, I agreed to put in for the scholarship. When I didn’t get it, I was relieved. Then I got accepted to Virginia Tech and Dad found out they had a full-time cadet corps, so he insisted I join that and try for the scholarship again next year. More screaming and arguing ensued, but again, I had no better plan for my life so Dad won that argument.

In hindsight, I have to admit Dad was right. I had no idea what I wanted to do after school. I picked both my major and my college at random. I don’t know why I wasn’t better prepared coming out of high school, but that’s how it was. Dad’s motivation for the ROTC scholarship was partly financial and partly patriotic. He truly believes that everybody should give something back to their country, and I believe it as well, though I think I would enjoyed doing that through some sort of volunteer service as opposed to military service. Peace Corp might have been cool. But again, I was too scattered at that point and didn’t have a plan.

I still didn’t have a plan for my life by the time I graduated, beyond staying as close to my boyfriend/future husband as possible. In fact, I didn’t get a plan until 3 days after my oldest daughter was born, which was also the day before my 34th birthday. Imagine going through the first 34 years of your life having no fricking clue what you want to do. That was me. But thanks to Dad and his insistence that I go into the military, I did acquire a lot of discipline, plenty of skills, and enough career experience that I could do any job I happened to come across. And I came across a lot of jobs that I didn’t particularly like but that I could do, and do well, thanks to my time as a cadet and officer in the Army Reserves. And so things always turned okay for me, more or less.

Today I know what I want to do, and I do it. And I still use that discipline I learned the hard way as a cadet. And when things don’t go right, or I have set backs, it doesn’t really bother me too much because I know I’ve been through lousy times before. It didn’t kill me back then, and it won’t kill me now. So to that person who thought my life as a cadet was miserable and depressing, all I can say is, “Hallelujah! I’m a better person for it!”

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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  1. Heh. I just turned 34 a month ago and have absolutely no clue what I want to be when I grow up.

  2. Kes,

    I didn’t figure it out until I had my first child. I turned 34 a few days after that, and it was like a kick in the pants. Suddenly, I had to do something, and writing was it. Having that military background helped a lot then. Writing = discipline.

  3. Pingback: Rats! Episode 15 – Redux and a minor mystery « The Cynical Woman Website

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