Tag Archives: life lessons

Friends Who are Like Family at NMMI

By Cadet Carlos Andres Retamoza

My name is Carlos Andres Retamoza, and I am 16 years old. I am from Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. At the age of 15, I went to live outside of my country to study at the New Mexico Military Institute. I think I threw myself into the abyss with all of the other students. It was the first time I left the country, and I did not speak the language of my new country of residence. I was going to live with strangers, and within days of arriving, I started classes within a system totally unknown to me. I came to study at the New Mexico Military Institute without knowing it was the best decision I had made in my life. Every day, every activity that I had to carry out was an apprenticeship.  Sometimes apprenticeships were full of pleasant surprises, and other times they were apprenticeships full of frustrations and effort. During this period, one of the things I learned was the importance of the friends I made at the New Mexico Military Institute. Many of these people were international students, like me, who were going through the same experience that I was going through, and they perfectly understood my difficulties. They quickly became an important support network and even more, I discovered that due to the circumstances that bind you, these friends happen to become “your family” while you are away from home. There are many stories that I can tell you about the support, the laughter, the love, and the solutions found together with friends. There are many stories that happen with my friends at the Institute, and I can tell right now the importance of all of them. Having friends and knowing that I am surrounded by so many wonderful people strengthens me.  Every time I have had to go through some difficult situation, I have never felt alone even though I am so far from home. That’s why I consider friends the greatest treasure you can have while living abroad.

The Importance of Being a RAT

By Cadet SFC Jose Robles

To be a RAT means to be a Recruit-At-Training. It means to be a follower, but most importantly, it means that you are becoming part of the NMMI family. The RAT traditions have been a part of the institute since it was founded, which is 127 years of traditions. Every new cadet is a RAT, no matter their age or grade. The first year you come to NMMI, you will be a RAT your entire first semester. During this period, you cannot gain any Rank or position in the corps of cadets. Your job is to be a follower. It is important to be a follower during this time because you gain knowledge and experience. Once the first semester is done, you will turn to the Rank of private. This is the time when you can apply for leadership positions and Rank in the Corps of Cadets.

Being a RAT comes with many responsibilities. You will have to do certain RAT duties like Rat walking, RAT running, popping to, and wearing certain distinctions on your uniform that identify you as a Recruit-at-Training. Many incoming cadets do not make it through this period. It really is hard. Everyone will be after you and making sure you do the right thing at all times, even if nobody is looking. But many do make it, and believe me, it is a great satisfaction when you see you did make it and you conquered all of the challenges that NMMI exposes you to.

Your RAT year will be the best year you will experience here at the institute because even though it is tough, your RAT buddy connections are incredible. Your RAT buddies are incoming cadets who are experiencing the same challenges you are, and that creates friendships that will last a lifetime. The connection you and your RAT buddies create is an amazing bond that will motivate you and make you get through the challenge of being a RAT.

Life After NMMI

By Cadet Elyssa Chino

My plans after New Mexico Military School are to transfer to another military school. Before NMMI, I never thought I would develop any interest in the military. I came from a military family, my dad, uncles, and grandfather all served in the USMC. Growing up I decided that military life was not for me, and I would contribute to the world in another way. However, upon graduating from NMMI, I fell in love with the military lifestyle. I am still well aware it is not for everyone. Not many people agree with the structured, rigid, and routine life but the challenge of it had me hooked. I appreciated how much stronger and capable I became, both mentally and physically. Of course, I had my days I did not want to wake up at 0600 to conduct morning Physical Training or conduct rifle drill for an hour in the hot sun. Not everyday was glamorous and totally at my disposal, but as I stated before, the accomplished feeling well was worth it at the end of every day. My days where busy, long, productive, and fulfilling. I desired to continue this military school journey. I came back to NMMI for junior college, which I will be graduating from in a couple months. Now my sights are set on The Citadel the Military College of the South. Once I attain my bachelor’s in political science, I plan to commission into the US Marine Corp as a 2nd Lieutenant. My biggest aspiration in life is to become an attorney and represent mistreated families in destitute countries. To me, the military makes perfect sense as it would fully equip me with the tactical and soft military skills necessary to care for myself, especially in high risk countries. Not only will it help strengthen my independence, but it will expand my knowledge of the world beyond my hometown, financially support me through law school, provide me with networking opportunities and give me new leadership experiences. Fortunately, NMMI has already provided me with these benefits during the time I have been here. I appreciate NMMI for sparking my interest and opening the door to the biggest plans of my life.

 

Diversity at NMMI

by Cadet MAJ Rojas, 3rd Squadron Executive Officer


I come from Cabo San Lucas, México. That is a very touristic place so I’ve been to bilingual schools my whole life. I’ve been interacting with different people from diverse races, religions and ethnicities. However, things changed when I came here. There is a lot more diversity here than I ever thought I’d be around. I get to see plenty of people from all over the world on a daily basis. I’ve had classes with people from Germany, China, Korea, several African countries, Puerto Rico, and many more places.

Honestly, it’s fun; learning some of their languages, their slang and their culture only results in me wanting to visit all of these places some day. The idea of having friends all over the world is fascinating to me. When you make friends with people from different places you know that you’ll have a place to stay if you ever choose to visit these different places, or at least people to see.

NMMI has taught me that everyone is different, everyone is educated differently and it is possible for all these people to live together teaching each other different values and customs. Diversity is one of the great things in life that we have to experience in order to value it the way it deserves to be valued. This place is the origin of friendships that will extend to great distances and last a lifetime.

Leaving the Nest

My family’s experience of me at NMMI

By: Cadet Madison McLean

Growing up my mom always told my sister and I we were her little birds, always in her nest and when we were ready, we would have to leave the nest eventually. When I decided I wanted to go to NMMI, I was 15 years old. And I knew I was going to have to leave the nest for the next four years of high school. My parents were excited for me, it was a chance to get a great education and an experience of a life time. And the one rule my dad had for me was once I start NMMI I must finish. I started my first day at a preparatory summer camp for math and then transitioned into RAT week. During that period of time I couldn’t have my cell phone for three weeks. Throughout those three weeks I wrote to my little sister and parents on a weekly basis and it was hard on all of us as a family. My parents mailed me a package of school supplies and items I was running low on, and my dad hid a bag of my favorite candy in the package. Even though I wasn’t at home they still found a way to put a smile on my face.

When I saw my parents for my 21-day ceremony they told me how proud they were of me and I could see they missed me greatly. The first time I could take a furlough home, I sat down with my dad and he told me how much he missed me and that it wasn’t easy for my mom and him to send me to NMMI. But they had to make that sacrifice of not seeing me every day for giving me the best education possible. Every time I went home for a holiday, we always spent time together to make up for not being together often throughout the school years. As years went by and my four years came to a close, I realized I had a stronger relationship with my family, and they were able to accept me leaving my mom’s nest. Attending NMMI was not just an experience for me, but for my parents and sister as well. They were my biggest fans at all my games, my supporters through my academics, and with me every step of the way. If anything, they attended NMMI with me for those four years and we celebrated every moment together.