My experiences in the academy is still unfolding itself. Some of these experiences are good while others are naive. In the academy, there is a quasi- military culture that I am still trying to get
used to. I have to, it is the foundation of the kind of education that the academy delivers. It is its mission. Without it, there is nothing significant about the institution anymore.
On my first weekend at the academy, I saw the incoming probationary students. I didn't understand why the parents have to cry, and why things are such a big deal at the academy. But late this
morning, I realized why. It's not that easy to start life indoctrinated and under the civilian power. There is a restriction�of freedom. Freedom is something that I treasure most. I've been with UP
for the last 8 years, and my life has been fruitfully free. I had the freedom to wear slippers, shorts and a shirt when going to school. I had the freedom to speak my mind, to
intellectually�discuss issues and things with friends and foes alike, to take to the streets key issues and principles that I think needs to be addressed by the persons concerned. These things I
couldn't see in the academy. Well, obviously. All I know is that when your'e in a military environment, you are under civilian rule. That applies to a certain percentage to the cadets of the
academy. And when you are in that certain environment and condition, your life will have a complete turnabout, you are subject to more rigid rules than what your mother might have imposed on you
when you were still under�her care. You are expected to do things based on schedule and based on what was expected of you. You have to do things differently- the way you walk, talk, eat and
I don't pity the cadets or cadettes who are under it. I pity it if it happens to me. There is a moral, emotional and psychological degradation that will happen to me if I am in that situation- not
counting the physical torment that I would undergo.
Funny. But at one point I was actually thinking of entering the academy. Jeez.
�Probationary students undergo training for one month. If they can surpass it, and if they won't resign, then they are to take oath as fourth class midshipmen in the academy. It's like you earned
the right to be first year cadets. Life will probably be hell for them for one year, but if they surpass it, they'll probably be hotshots for the next year.
The next year, they become 3rd class midshipmen, and some of them will form part of the orientation staff who will train�and guide the incoming proby for next year. Leadership knows no boundaries.
It only knows what and how to direct in order that the goals can be achieved. I can see in these cadets and cadettes a different training that will make them future leaders of this country. That's
something I am beginning to appreciate in this academy- the training of future leaders. They do it in a military way of course.
I've been reading about personal accounts of life at this academy through the eyes of the cadets themselves. It's a hard life. You have to juggle so many responsibilities. You have to balance your
physical, emotional, spiritual and�intellectual self.�You have to wake up 4 in the morning to fix your�bunk, do physical training and clean yourself. Then, you have to�attend your classes and study
at�night. The hardest part�is dealing with your seniors. You have to obey�hundreds of them and you have to know them by�name one�by one lest you get to be punished when asked�if you know the
senior. For me, it's an interesting life�for the one who is determined�for this profession. But I wonder? Is it for the money? Or is it for the love of the profession? I haven't asked a cadet the
reason why he�wants to�join the workforce in the maritime industry. But�I know�that a�huge percentage of them would want to go to this profession because of the dollars that can be earned.�
Maybe that's the only and biggest lure of�the profession. But�they forget that the dollar is starting�to weaken plus the recession that�is hitting the US. It's all about the money at the end of the
day, I guess. Who would want to stay for months at sea isolated from civilization if not for the money?�Forgive me for being sarcastic, but I don't see anything�so high and mighty about�the
profession except for the money.�