Category Archives: Cadet Chat

True Brothers at NMMI

By Cadet Diego Salido

NMMI Salido BrothersThe first year at NMMI is different for everyone. It is hard because is like nothing we have ever done. It is fun because it is when we find friends in our weakest moments. It is a lot of things, but for me, it was special.

The main reason of why my “RAT” year was special is because I never felt away from home; this was because I literally had family here with me. My older brother was a Sergeant Major, in charge of the discipline of over 200 people– while I was a recruit, the lowest rank in the corps and someone who only had to worry about myself.

My brother taught me everything I needed to know to succeed in this place. He even tried to teach me a lot of things before I came but I just wouldn’t listen to him, and I still regret it. He got me ready for most of the obstacles that I could face here at NMMI. He warned me about RAT week and how challenging it was going to be–omitting some of the details and giving me some surprises. When he refused to help me with something it was only to make me stronger and more independent, because he was trying to guide me rather than carrying me through the whole process of learning at the Institute.

His presence also improved me because he just kept pushing me (or made me push) to perfection. He would not stand catching me doing the wrong thing or wearing my uniform incorrectly. He expected me to set the example for my friends and to have more discipline than the others. I worked hard to prove that I could be the person he expected me to be. The best thing is that our relationship as brothers got stronger. Even if we didn’t talk a lot because of the rules and because of our different schedules, we knew we had each other for whatever we needed.

This year, as a yearling and a Platoon Sergeant, I try to follow his example and I still carry with me all his advice. I work hard every day to make him proud even when he is studying back home.

Changing as a RAT

By Cadet Samantha Rodriguez

 

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The reason why I chose to come to NMMI was a unique one. As a normal 14-year-old girl, I wanted to explore the world. Being home, surrounded by the same people and following the same routine was becoming stressful, since if there is something I like a lot, it is definitely change. It all started when I was in middle school. I would see pictures of people going to schools abroad and I just wanted to be part of it, so I told my parents. Their reaction was probably one of the funniest things I have ever seen. They first thought I was crazy, and then that I was unhappy and wanted to leave my home. No, it had nothing to do with that. I just wanted some change, something new to experience and challenge me. My mom, thinking I was going to back off, told me the only place I would be allowed to go to was NMMI, since she was sure it is a safe place and a healthy environment. So I did it. Three years after, I am still here, getting closer to being successful every single day.

Since I was prepared for change, I really did not struggle too much as a RAT. My main struggle was not homesickness, but having to follow the rules. Not that I had discipline problems, but it just took me a while to get used to everything. Since I had had the same friends for my whole life, making new friends was also a little challenging. Having to do everything for myself was also hard. Usually, if I had any academic problem or any issue with the school, my mom would go to the school and fix it for me. Now, I was on my own.

Although it was challenging at moments, I do not regret anything, and I have learned a lot from all I have been through. I can now face my mistakes and deal with the consequences without my parents having to be there. I also learned how friendships really work. Everyone is waiting for another person to give the first step, the first smile, and the first conversation. I would pack my backpack with candy and walk around offering it to strangers just in exchange of a smile or a simple “hello”. I also learned that loneliness is a decision, since if a person truly wants to find company, it is possible. I learned that if someone yells at you, it is not personal, so I would not overthink everything and letting go became something I did.

What it meant to be a RAT (Recruit At Training)

By: Juan Garcia Gutierrez

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One of the main reasons why I came to NMMI was that I wanted to become independent. At the age of fifteen, I thought I could live and take care of myself. Your reason for coming to New Mexico Military Institute does not really matter. What really matters is your motivation to strive for the best and achieve the goals you set for yourself because at the end, you are your own biggest challenge at the Institute.

During your RAT period at NMMI, the worse thing to do is to take something for granted. There are, without a doubt, struggles along the way that will ultimately make you become stronger. One of the main struggles about being a RAT is being away from home. Even if you live in town! Having to learn all of the customs and traditions of the Institute is also a struggle. The most important thing to do that people struggle the most on is most definitely following the rules. The first time you get your Blue Book, which is the document with all standards and rules to follow, you will be very impressed about all the little things that you are not allowed to do that most likely did at home without even thinking. It might seem hard to memorize all the content, but doing it will definitely make your stay at NMMI a lot better!

Along with the struggles at NMMI comes military instruction. This instruction starts from verbal warnings all the way to marching in a rectangle. Everybody makes mistakes along the way because those are part of the learning process. Every single RAT that comes in is like a baby that is learning how to walk and speak. Breaking rules the first twenty-one days is normal and usual. Your cadre, the corps leaders in charge of you, are the ones in charge of coaching and mentoring the RATs to the point where they become “New Cadets” and are able to make the right decisions at the right time for the right purpose. The struggles you overcome help you become a stronger cadet, more organized and with better time management. A piece of advice I have for new incoming RATs is to be respectful at all times, know your place in the chain of command (THE VERY BOTTOM!), and understand that although the person telling you what to do might be younger in age, he/she is wiser in knowledge of the school.

The twenty-one day period changed me in a huge way. By following the rules and keeping my mouth shut when I needed to, I did not even notice that I became a more organized and sharp individual. The twenty-one day period is critical because you absorb information almost the entire day. Classes do not start until two weeks inside training. It is of high importance that RATs pay attention to detail and try learning everything they can during that period because it will help them survive at NMMI. I did and I’m prouder for it!

The Beginning of Recognition

BroylesBy: Hannah Broyles

Here at the Institute, hard work pays off significantly.  A time that it glows the most is the 21-day ceremony.  This is my favorite of the many traditions as the institute.  Most people find the day exhausting, but in the end the exhausting feeling is the result of your hard work.

My job is to prepare every Recruit at Training (RAT) the day they step onto campus.  I have over 250 RATs and Old Cadets in my squadron and it’s my job to make this day special for them.  My cadre and I prepare them mentally, physically, emotionally, and push them to new levels.  For 21 days they will have limited contact with the outside world, but in the end we meet our goal.  It then lands us with the 21-day ceremony.

After the training all the cadre and RATs have received we’re ready to work as a team.  It starts with early morning wakeup call at 5:00 am.  The sun has not yet risen and its dark outside, but it prepares me for what is going to happen.  Getting dressed, marching to the mess hall, a quick meal, and then off to the obstacle course.

The obstacle course pushes your self-confidence and makes you try something you’ve never come into contact with.  You jump over tires, army crawl under wire, climb up a rope and then swing like Tarzan, and jump a wall taller than you.  You learn the basics of all first aid techniques and then become the one your friend tries to save.  I learned though, that you don’t ever volunteer for the tourniquet station.  It becomes a story for the books and later you’ll back and laugh.  The fitness factory is the final stage.  Run ¼ of a mile and push yourself physically.  You don’t leave a RAT buddy behind, so you work as a team to complete the factory.  You’ll carry you RAT buddy up a hill, race them over and under bars and later jumping over a wall.  In the end you’ll relax in the shade and later get that shower you’ve been waiting for.  In the end, we’re sweaty and muddy and ready for the final step.

As a RAT your recognized in the corps.  You now get to wear the NMMI cadet uniform with the rest of the corps.  You get to leave post for the weekend and finally eat food that isn’t bates.  At the end of the day, when you crawl into bed you realize you’re halfway to the point of being a cadet at the New Mexico Military Institute.

Spring Break 2016

By Sara Cosenza

Picture1            My first college spring break was definitely one for the record books! This first half of my trip brought me back home to Arizona to spend a few days with my family. We had a wonderful Easter Sunday and my parents loved having me home, even if it was for a short period of time.

About half way through the week I hopped on a plane and headed to Maryland to visit my good friend, Sara Butler (pictured on the far left). Shelby Peters (pictured in the middle) joined us as well. Both Sara and Shelby attend New Mexico Military Institute. It didn’t take long until we were on the move again! The morning after Shelby and I landed in Maryland, the three of us drove four hours to New Jersey. Here we had lunch and visited with some of Butler’s family. That same day, we got on the train and took an eighty minute ride into New York. We spent two nights in New York with my cousins who live on Long Island. We spent the first night meeting up with Nick Vinberg and Tony Pravata, two NMMI cadets that live close to where we were staying. Our second day was spent sight seeing. We spent hours in Time Square (where the photograph was taken) shopping and going to places such as the M&M store. The girls and I enjoyed some New York styled pizza for lunch and took a wonderful tour of Central Park. We finished the day with a great show at Broadway Comedy Club. The next morning we went back into the city to catch our bus for the three hour trek back to Maryland and then later visited Washington DC. Overall, I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to create such great memories with my friends over this break.

Now we have all returned to school and are ready to finish the semester strong! There is only a little over a month left in the semester and finals are coming up quick. However, even with the stress of finals, this is also a very exciting time of year for NMMI cadets. High school seniors and college sophomores are stoked for graduation, the athletes are signing to play with four year universities, the ROTC cadets are preparing to commission into the Army in May, and the preps are all starting to receive their appointments to their respective academies. We’re almost to the finish line!