Gifted former e-Veritas writer looks back at his RMCC time
(Regular readers of e-Veritas over the past few years will surely recognize the name Mike Shewfelt. Mike was a regular writer & photographer for e-Veritas. He took a medical release from the CAF in 2014. We keep in touch from time-to-time. He is married and living in the southern United States. Doing well, but, we’re not sure about the hair style and the goatee!)
Back in April I read an article by 25149 Andrew Steele on life after RMCC. In it, he advised current cadets to “take the time to figure out the officer you want to be while you are still in school.” I know from firsthand experience that not everyone who marches through Arch will graduate four years later, and while Steele’s article highlights the importance of the College for those who will have military careers, I wanted to highlight the importance of the College for all those who attend it regardless of where they may end up when they leave it. (I meant to write this sooner, but life being what it is now seems to be the ideal time.)
I currently serve as a childcare provider with a company here in South Carolina, and while that may not be the most prestigious position imaginable, it is still one of the most fulfilling I’ve ever had, and, furthermore, it is one that in which I would not be able to perform were it not for my time at the College. I worked in childcare off and on for years before I came to the College in 2008, which meant that I did not anticipate having to relearn everything I thought I knew when I started with my current employer back in March of this year. As I found, though, being responsible for 30 children is a far cry from being responsible for only 10, and I was faced with a very steep learning curve. That being said, during my time at the College I had been able to observe a number of different leaders in action. Thanks to that experience, I knew the kind of leader I was working for now with this company and I was very quickly able to determine how best I could assist her as I was still learning what I needed to know to do my job. The bottom line was that I was still an effective asset to the company even as I worked to learn the ins and outs of my position.
The lessons of the College have carried on for me in other ways as well. One of the very first lessons I remember being drilled into us was the importance of teamwork. You depend on those around you just as they depend on you. As a childcare provider responsible for 20-30 children, I also have 20-30 parents I work with as well. Each of these parents has ideas on how children should be raised, and more often than not these ideas don’t necessarily mesh with my own. The end result is that things can get taken out of context or misconstrued very easily, and the implications of this can be very serious indeed. I have seen it time and again where my colleagues and I have worked to ensure this does not happen. We have protected each other, not by working to bury the truth but rather by working to ensure things are never taken out of context or misconstrued. We depend on each other to look out for all involved when critical situations occur, and this is the exact same mindset I found to exist at the College during my time there.
As many reading this will be aware, I spent more than a year in Holding Platoon. During that time, I saw a number of individuals come and go from the Platoon. Many, although by no means all, had the mindset that they were done with RMCC and just waiting to get out and move on with life. They did not seem interested in continuing to learn from those around them. Whether you’re a member of the Cadet Wing or not, there is so much to learn from the leaders you’re around every day. Whether you spend four years at the College, graduate and receive your commission, or spend only a year or two or potentially even less time, keep your eyes open and learn as much as you can. The experience can only serve you well after your time at the College is done. Decide now not only what kind of officer you want to be when you graduate, but also what you want to get out of your College experience when all is said and done. Once you’ve got that figured out, keep your eyes open and your brain sharp no matter what the outcome of your experience ends up being.