Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well rounded ain't good enough (Field Training Part 2)

In regards to the rest of field training I am going to break up what happened into two more posts, consisting mainly of complaining (word of warning). But in the past few days a few things dawned on me, and I realize I shouldn’t look back on it with such a hateful attitude. This post is going to be about how field training was supposed to help me learn things about myself. However, all the things I “learned” there were already things I knew, but just hoped weren’t true. So hopefully I’ll keep the complaining short, and get on to how I should remember field training (see next post).

Basically my final evaluation, which everyone receives the last day of training, perfectly summed up what I had suspected about myself for years, but that I has told myself wasn't totally true. Apparently, they are. My first affirmation of insignificance was my flight commander telling me he couldn’t remember me being vice flight commander (which is NOT a good thing). Instantly I thought: “I was the first one! How could you forget?!” He expanded his thought by telling me of all the people he could remember (in my opinion, because they were so obnoxious), and how not being able to remember me led him to the conclusion I must not have done too good of a job.

Ok, so I’ve heard, and experienced, that before. Yes, I was a little upset, but it wasn’t anything I could change at the end. I can’t improve memories. But the next thing he said actually hurt my feelings. It was the only thing to really bother me there, even after all the insults, getting yelled at, dealing with immature and rude boys and really ridiculous situations.

Reading Ross’ and CeeCee’s posts recently kind of inspired me to want to talk about all the troubles I had at field training. It’s kinda funny how many different ways a person can view a single topic. I find it fascinating hearing explanations of varying viewpoints, and then figuring out where I fit into all of them. But anyway, time for some background again.

Looking back on my childhood, it seemed like I tried everything at least once, if not five times. Gymnastics, soccer, swimming, horseback riding, sailing, science camps, pottery classes, the list goes on and on. And although I think it’s great I have a very wide background of all sorts of things, which often helps with talking to people I’ve just met, I always wonder why none of these interests have ever “stuck”. Like swimming. I love to swim, so why wasn’t I on a team in high school, or why don’t I go swimming regularly anymore? My only conclusion (or the only one that I would accept) was that I didn’t like it enough. The other conclusion, lurking in the back of my brain, was that I was never good enough to keep involved with it. I think I’m pretty much the epitome of “well rounded”. It’s that phrase you want to be for a “great” college resume. But why couldn’t I be great at one thing?

So fast forward to that same final evaluation. To sum up why I had been placed in the bottom third of the cadets in my flight, and maybe also to explain it to himself, my flight commander (who had already told me I wasn’t a ‘bottom third cadet’ and that I was the hardest person to place) explained how the thirds break down. He said the top third are cadets who are great at multiple things such as marching, physical activities, and public speaking. Middle third cadets are great at one thing, like standardization. Bottom third cadets normally, however, can’t be identified as being excellent at one particular thing. He told me that I was “really good” at almost everything, but I wasn’t an expert at anything, and that’s why he ended up placing me in the bottom, even though it was a “tough decision”.

And it was right there. My nagging suspicions deemed real right before me. I was done with that evaluation, and with field training (although I was already really done with it). At the time I was so upset I had to force myself to not think about it. But I have since then, and have somehow managed to make myself feel better. While it’s true I’m not great at a lot of things, looking back, the things I have become “great at” are the things I’ve been paid to do. Skipping the examples and going to the conclusion, I will be paid to do my job in the Air Force (whatever that job may be) and I have no doubts that I won’t become an expert at it.

But it still bothers me.

No comments:

Post a Comment