My year at FMA was a good one. I learned a lot about myself and others; our strengths and our weaknesses, but overall I enjoyed my time here.
When I first got here, I was shy, but over time I overcame it. The first three days were a big change. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. for our first class at 6:15 a.m. was not the best. But I managed, and even to this day, I’ve never been late getting up. Close, maybe, but not late. I learned to establish a daily routine fairly early.
On the third day, we left for expedition. Oh, man, I did not want that day to come. But it did, and the eleven of us set out. The expedition was fun, and I learned a lot about myself, and my tent partner Brent. I also learned that after six days in the wilderness, chicken never tasted so good!
The year went on. There were more expeditions, and more chicken. I learned that my abilities were greater than I had given myself credit for. But when I got used to FMA, I started to slack off, and didn’t focus on my work. My homework started to slip, and I started to gain weekend work hours. Rapidly. The highest number of hours I accumulated was forty-nine. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I could accumulate that many within two weeks. My actions brought me the consequence of Academic Room Time (ART). This was an extreme let down for me. I had to work outside, and missed out on classes. In the afternoon I had to copy notes and keep up on the homework. This went on until I worked off my hours. Slowly I achieved my goal, but I still had the idea that doing homework was beneath me. And I slipped again, and ended up back on ART. Mr. Dan came to me to talk about it, but I yelled at him, I was so upset. I didn’t want to listen, but he let me yell, and after that day of yelling at him, I remember him saying “This is all to help you learn.”
Again, I achieved my way out of my room, and now I’m doing well enough, actually better than that, I haven’t missed an assignment, and I’m having the best time out of ART. I have achieved my goal, and I’m finishing the year out of my room. I gained so much. I have the willingness to actually do my homework, and it’s so important that I keep this habit.
I experienced both sides of everyone here, good and bad. I learned what some people can handle and what some people can’t. I learned I can’t always be around people, but when I am alone, I can’t stand it. Sometimes I have to rely on others, and my friends here will look after me. We all have our limits, but we can get beyond them, and even though we get ticked off at each other, all of us get over it and are one huge group that cares about each other. I learned so much about people, and gradually the mask I had on when I came here slowly came off. Now I can be myself, while also holding on to some things that are private. Overall I have learned that I can be a member of what I call my family of FMA.
On expeditions, I learned more about myself. I learned things that I never even considered about myself. I learned I had strength I never knew. It was amazing to know, coming from the city, that I could go out for six days with a pack on my back, and hike The Appalachian Trail, The Iron Mountain Trail, and The Virginia Creeper Trail. I gained muscle, and I lost weight, and I learned that even when I feel like giving up on something, I can put my mind to it and finish, and achieve my goal. That applies to all things in my life, and I won’t ever forget my sticking to the hike, and not giving up, because that required a true strength that I always had, but never used. I discovered it, and I am stronger than I was before I came to FMA.