Category Archives: Life After NMMI
By Cadet Diego Salido
The 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.
By: Juan Garcia Gutierrez
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!
By Carlos Xibelle
After working hard in academics, the corps of cadets, and sports for three straight months, the cadets get a break to rest. During these three months, cadets work hard to improve day by day to become better in all areas. A time for rest must come. Spring Break is the time of the year when we go home and enjoy our family and vacations. Spring Break for cadets at NMMI has a better taste. Teachers from school tell cadets that they must work very hard in order to graduate. They must sacrifice their free time in order to read and research, yet when spring break comes they will enjoy it much more. After all my hard work we finally got to Spring Break. My vacation was great. I went to the beach and enjoyed my family and friends. Being at the Institute we sacrifice being away from home, parents, and friends. These sacrifices make us better people because not everybody is willing to sacrifice these things at an early age. When spring break comes, we get to enjoy it like nobody else. I like spending time with my family since I don’t get to see them too often. I like to have fun and enjoy everything I can before going back to the institute. When the time comes to go back, I will put in all the work I need to finish strong.
By: Cadet Sara Cosenza
When I tell someone that I willing chose to go to a military school for college I often get asked why. My answers always included the obvious: good education, meet new people, leave home, etc. However, I never knew until I got to NMMI what I was really signing up for. I found that this Institute is so much more than a school.
Here at NMMI the atmosphere is overwhelmingly positive. Every person you meet is striving for excellence and proud of what we do. Whether you’re an athlete looking for a scholarship to play for your dream school, a student prepping to attend one of the elite United States Service Academies, or simply a student looking for a completely unique educational path, everyone is helping push one another to achieve their goals. We hold each other accountable! In return, we are all gathering a vast skill set that will follow us throughout the rest of our educations and into our future careers.
The most prominent skill I believe I am learning here at NMMI is leadership. I was recently promoted, and while it has been quite the adjustment, I am learning to balance my hefty class schedule with the responsibilities that my new position brings. It is great experience to work alongside different types of leadership because it helps me decide how I do and do not want to be a leader. In addition to leadership, NMMI has given me the opportunity to grow in many other ways. For example, respect is a huge aspect of life at a military school as well as proper time management and learning how to work with people from all across the world.
The experiences that NMMI provides extends far outside of the classroom or corps duties as well. They still want us to be able to get away from our busy lifestyle and relax every now and then! Just recently, members of the ski club (including myself and some of my friends pictured above) took a trip to the beautiful mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico for a day of skiing or snowboarding. In addition to the ski club, NMMI provides students with other extracurricular activities such as paintball club, boxing club, or hiking/photography club. Or, take part in the work-study program by lifeguarding at the pool. Cadets can even take classes to learn how to fly a plane or get their scuba diving certification! Participation in these clubs and activities has given me and my peers memories that will last forever.
In conclusion, NMMI surprised me with so much more than a good education. The Institute is shaping me, and the people around me, into well-rounded people with a handful of different life skills and experiences. I have never felt like I am missing out on the “college experience” that everyone talks about. By attending New Mexico Military Institute I know I will be able to accomplish anything from a challenging Calculus course, to commanding a troop of cadets, or even tackling that black diamond run on my snowboard. We are learning to work hard and then given the chance to play hard as well.