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Column: The final frontier
Larsen Web
William Larsen

Camden Military Academy (CMA) ... the final frontier. Sure, I’m referencing Star Trek, but it’s hard to make a good opener. I suppose I should start by just saying who I am and why you should keep reading.

My name is William and I’ve been attending CMA for about three years now. I am an officer on campus, and I am a senior this year.

Going to CMA has taught me so many things. I was sent here because I was neglecting to do the majority of my homework assignments, being disrespectful to my parents, and lacked the self -motivation to be successful in a public school environment. I was sent here to be “fixed” or molded -- to improve not only in academics, but also in discipline, in which I was drastically lacking.

When I first arrived at the CMA campus, it was during summer school. I had failed two of my classes, and my parents seemed to feel that I needed to re-take those classes.

After summer school, my parents informed me that I would be enrolling at CMA for the academic year. Yes,  my experiences here have shaped me into the man I have become, but, fiddlesticks -- I am so ready to graduate. Going here for three years has been enough for me, but it also makes me think about how I will never be a senior in high school ever again. I’m sure everyone would call this yet another instance of “senioritis,” but it is just appalling to me how my time in Camden has flown by so fast; even my senior year is already more than halfway completed, and I did not think it would go by this fast.

Looking ahead, not only does going to college appeal to me, but it’s also frightening in the sense that I will soon have the freedom to shape my future. Up to this point, I have been more or less regulated by a military school, a parent, a teacher, or any other person who has taken the time to teach me something about life; but, soon, I will be completely on my own. Sure, the freedom is awesome, but what if I mess it up? What if I do something or not do something that could mess everything up? My future is in the palm of my hand, but what if I fail to make the right choice or do the right thing? Maybe I am the only one who has these fears, but being a senior has definitely given me this heightened self-awareness. My fellow classmates and I will soon graduate, leave this school, and go off in our separate, far-flung directions to pursue different goals and to begin new and different lives.

I will never forget my experiences here at CMA. Cadet life has taught me how to make better decisions, how to establish goals for myself, and most importantly, has helped me to become the man I am today.

I have gained invaluable knowledge here, and I will be forever indebted to the school for that; but the most important thing to me is that I have gained a unique story. I have made strong bonds with amazing people and have shared experiences with them, experiences that not many people my age will ever go through. I have gained a family here, and now it feels strange to be saying goodbye. And yet, I am ready to go to college and take on the new world.