After Action Review (AAR): time taken out after a task, training, or event to discuss actions and tactics. This is the time where you make notes for improvement and start making plans for what happens next.
Rewind. Relive. Review
Part 1: School
These first three Quarters are already over. Nine Months have passed since I started there, and already I am thinking I want to leave. It’s not the staff. It’s not the faculty. It’s the STUDENTS.
Half the people who start here are directly out of High School (as in “OMG I totally just like, graduated in June!”). Having to interact in a microcosm is hard enough. Being forced to interact with people who are old enough to take responsibility for themselves without actually knowing what responsibility is: nearly impossible.
As young Soldiers go, being totally unaware is, almost literally, beaten out of you. That’s what Basic Training *is*. You will know what direction the Sun rises; you will know how to wipe your own ass; you will know whose fault it is, and take the punishment when its YOURS. Otherwise: you will be handed your own backside. It doesn’t end there: once you get to a Unit, if you STILL haven’t taken a hint: congratulations, you are the Company’s Whipping Private until further notice. You will learn. PERIOD. In Helvetica, even.
Civilians can’t be treated that way. So they can refuse to learn, and get away with causing problems, and there’s nothing anybody can really do about it (unless the Cops can be involved: legal trouble seems to be the only viable threat). These kids are repeating the same, over-dramatized, self-indulgent mistakes, and expecting a different outcome. I believe Einstein called that “insanity”. These “issues” that they have, whether its ‘OMG I loooooove hiiiiim but he doesn’t liiiiike meeeeee!’ or ‘WTF why aint I passing this class! I spend like, 30 minutes on this homework!!’ to ‘well its your attitude that has just been too much lately’ are thrown as far afield as possible, to have as many people involved as possible, that it can, quite literally, affect everyone at the school. It’s like having social herpes. Not that I am free of guilt: I talk to my friends, and let them know what is on my mind. I am NOT, however, defaming anyone, or creating rumors about people, or telling people to not be around certain individuals.
And I’m the one on Meds. What a waste have we that we can no longer trust another Human to be decent.
Part 2: Money
I am Unemployed. I know this. I’m not ashamed. Nor am I actively seeking employment. How, you may ask, am I affording all my nice things AND school full-time at a FOR-PROFIT Uni?
The Post 9/11 GI Bill.
There’s 3/4 of my livelihood in four words. the rest is Disability. As in: Congratulations! The Army broke you! Here’s money so that we can say we are kinda taking care of you! You are all of you invited to live the life I live, work free, if you do as I did: 4.5 years enlisted in the United States Army, two of which were spent in Baghdad. Be my guest. We can then laugh our asses off with “so no shit there I was” and “you aint gonna believe this shit!” all day long.
These together make it so that I have a roof, food and clothes. These things pay for my transportation. These things pay for my (rather expensive but required) art supplies. These things are paying for what is MINE. I earned this money. I earned this education. I am paying my penance. So whats the problem? I am paying more for what isn’t mine than is. I am paying for someone Else’s lifestyle at the cost of my own, with what I have earned. That’s an argument waiting to happen, especially now. Being a broke college student is frustrating, I know. Being a broke, broken, and decently earning college student is infuriating. I spent my time, my heart, and my body for the opportunities I have now. I’m being slighted. I know what I want to do about it. The issue there is that it requires what I’ve earned to stay with me, so that I can afford to get what I deserve. You are more than welcome to call me selfish. Please Do, in fact. I was told once that sometimes, being selfish is the only way to protect yourself.
Part 3: Mind
Mine is broken. As in, that’s half of my disability. If the last six months have taught me anything, it is that my mind is no longer under my control. I hope that I am not truly lost, but the Path has become inundated with reeds and brambles, and quite marshy. Parts of my personality are fighting each other for control of who I am today. Their common enemy, though, seems to be my Anger, and its sidekick, my Temper. These two are a formidable force to be reckoned with. Even the Hole that is my Depression isn’t big enough to keep them at bay. My Meds (prescribed, mind you, and non-narcotic) is an anti-depressant that I was initially receiving for its off-label use for insomnia. My bottle currently reads: Take one tablet by mouth once a day at bedtime as needed for mood or sleep can increase to 2 tablets nightly if needed for sleep/ PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am still being evaluated. DISCLAIMER: Army medicine teaches you to take some Motrin, rub some dirt on it, and forget it ever happened. I am having experiences. There are mornings that I still wake up in Baghdad. I couldn’t find my weapon for two months, and had a few episodes where it made me so angry that I broke things, because I thought I was going to have to pay for it. I keep walking into the student store at school and the 7/11 expecting the 550 cord and pocket knives to be next to the paper supplies. I am afraid to drive. I keep making threat assessments for the roads in my area, looking for moved piles of trash, dead animals, and new pot-holes. I even printed a few off. When I realized I had no one to report to, I burned them, just like any other SECRET information.
My family doesn’t know this yet. At least they didn’t when I ran away to a foreign country for my birthday. They’ll probably wonder who the f*ck is writing this.
I am not well.
I am not apologizing.
I am not the same person I was.