Veronica Roth’s hit novel Divergent was on the top of my list to read over spring break, but never did I expect to be so captivated by its simple themes. Like many popular reads I quickly saw the parallels between the values of the fictional futuristic society and that of the Academy: intelligence, selflessness, honesty, peace, and bravery are all elements weighted in different ways in our world. I wanted to give a brief humorous anecdote of how each has shaped me as a cadet and shown that living in that fictional world, I could only be a misfit; divergent.
1. Intelligence is the fundamental aspect related to a cadet’s development while at the Academy. Sometimes asking dumb questions has been a reminder of this, such as asking where my sample for material science left in the power lab was. My professor quickly responded, unless you moved it, still in the power lab.
2. Selflessness is in our service’s name and apparent in many circumstances in Chase Hall. For example, switching other people’s laundry in the laundry rooms is a common practice, even if you do not know the cadet. So clearly, dropping my dirty crew clothes off before heading out to another regatta it was assumed I would come back later that day to cleaned spandex. Instead I found a 4/c’s clean laundry in my bag and my laundry gone missing. Selfless service can lead to one pair of black socks.
3. Honesty is one of the three core values we uphold at the Academy but being too direct can often lead me into awkward situations. I accidentally played the song “Turn Down for What” instead of reveille the other morning so every cadet in Chase Hall woke to it. The spirit mission was intentional but unfortunately I let in on the plan, so the responsibility fell directly on me. I could honestly admit that playing the wrong CD was a mistake, but I could not take credit for the mischief. Neither a victim nor a rebel, I fell somewhere in the category of awkward middle cadet…but at least I was honest?
4. Peace can be a good and bad attribute, or else it would not have been included in Roth’s book. Toward the end of March Madness my Connecticut pride showed more than usual and instigated some friction in my hallway. With UCONN winning both men and women’s national championships I am proud to say I won the fight, but it cost some pretty feisty whiteboard arguments in the process of defending my great state.
5. Bravery is the last and arguably the most admirable trait both in fiction and the Academy. I wish I could share some monumental epic right here, but instead I have to say that the courage to try anything can land you in a humiliating place. Due to two shoulder surgeries I have had to push my physical fitness credits back until this semester, where I am taking an eight week personal defense course trying to catch up. My lack of coordination is embarrassing enough, but falling flat on my face in front of a Class of 2017 is probably as humiliating as it gets.
With every embarrassing memory throughout this month have come the development of some traits and the reverse of others. Collectively, fingers crossed, they will help me to become a stronger leader, which Miss Veronica Roth would be proud to call divergent.
More about Sarah.