There were many tired souls wandering around the classroom areas of ILE Class 10-002 today. It's Friday, May 7, only the third "full" day of class but me, and many of my distinguished classmates, were exhausted. Not from late nights studying, not from partying, but from trying to adjust to the student "battle rhythm".
The assigned homework isn't overwhelming...pages in books here, handouts there. The classwork isn't overwhelming...discussions on topics that have so far ranged from 'what is a leader?' to 'is studing military history relevant?'. We have ample breaks and plenty of access to the caffeine source of choice. So, why are we all so tired? Because our schedules have been thrown out of whack and our brains are in overdrive. While the information we're being given or researching isn't rocket science, it is a lot of minutiae and concepts and themes. It's a different life than what we're used to and it's going to take some time to master that ever-important student battle rhythm. But we will accomplish this task and we will succeed!
So, it's Friday evening of the first ILE weekend. Classes let out at noon on Fridays. After lunch I walked through parts of the Petersburg battlefield, enjoying the birds, the deer, and the Civil War artifacts and sites. The trails were nice...up and down so an effort...and shaded so I didn't get too hot. After a bowl of soup for dinner, I am now working on...homework. I have enough to keep me busy this weekend but not enough to keep me from accomplishing two tasks: 1. Getting out on Saturday and exploring the cities of Colonial Heights and Petersburg; and 2. Buying a bookbag/backpack. I thought my briefcase would suffice but alas, it's not big enough to carry my books, notebooks, pens, papers, and that all-important coffee mug.
One interesting note about ILE: We are being treated as adults here. I hated the Captain's Career Course that I went through in 2005 because I hated being 40 years old and treated the same was that I was when I was a Private in basic training. We are given the coursework, the schedules, the homework, and the assignments and expected, as field grade officers, to do the work relatively unsupervised. We are expected to conduct physical fitness training and behave as befitting our rank. We are expected to come to class prepared and participate in class discussions. We are expected to clean up after ourselves and ensure our buddies aren't left behind. Our advisors have expectations of us...and I can already feel that myself and my new peers/friends will meet, nee, surpass, those expecations.
Graduation date: 18 August. Mark your calendars!