It's been a little over a week since I graduated from the Advanced Leaders Course at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, and quite honestly, it's still so surreal. I have so many emotions about the entire experience. I want to preface this by saying that I know I don't talk much about that side of my life, but in reality, it makes up a significant part of who I am. It would be impossible to do something for almost 14 years and have it not affect you.
I went into this with the mindset of "look, I just need to pass!"
That was it. Do the minimum, keep your head down and get out. Never in a million years did I think that the last five weeks would play out the way they did. Truthfully, without the support of those closest to me, I'm not sure I would have made it. Six years ago, when I attended this course for the first time, I was dismissed within the first week. I failed the 2-mile run portion of the physical fitness test, which led to a series of events almost bringing an end to my military service.
BUT IT DIDN'T. And now, we're here. Refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle the next six years. Distinguished Honor Graduate. Many people in the past had the opportunity to aid in the facilitation of my success but chose to hinder it instead. It's okay; I got it done anyway. You didn't stop shit, bitch.
If you want it, no one can take it from you.
Trust me, I know.