One thing that I love about the Academy is the strong community that continues to grow with time. As I was thinking about this, I realized how awesome it is to be able to connect with my shipmates, teachers, and mentors in a real and genuine way. Just the other day as I was squaring around Chase, I randomly struck up a greeting to a 1/c standing as the Officer of the Day. This small spontaneous interaction sparked a conversation that I was able to learn from and keep with me throughout the day.
The fact that I could go to anyone and have a conversation welcomed, especially as a 4/c, is something I feel gets taken for granted at times. I feel that If I were to have gone to a traditional college, I would not have the opportunity to listen in on the wisdom of upperclassmen, nor would I have had the courage to speak to everyone so freely as I do here. I find that these frequent quality interactions greatly improved my morale and confidence. Just being able to sit with someone new at dinner and leaving with a new friend or mentor is something I look forward to doing every day.
Additionally, the community that forms as a result of the easy interactions around Chase Hall is one I absolutely love. It is incredibly validating and uplifting to have a meh day and have a 3/c greet me by name and engage in friendly conversation that cheers me up. When times are tough, I could not be more thankful for the amazing community that I find myself surrounded with constantly.