In the "Letter to My Former Self" series, USNA graduates lay out the advice they would give themselves as Midshipmen based on their experiences as junior officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. This week's letter was written by 2nd Lt. Shakir Robinson, a Marine logistics officer and 2015 graduate.
I'm a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps now. I graduated Echo Company in December 2015. I got selected to be in the Logistics community just like your role models Lt. Col. Green and Capt Soublet. Turns out, my first duty station will be in Okinawa, Japan. If I could go back and impart three pieces of wisdom on you, I would tell you these tidbits of advice.
1. Soak in the time you have with your friends and peers.
Sooner than later, you will be at your first duty station serving your enlisted. After the academy, there is no other time in your career when you will be in close proximity to 1,000 members of your peer group who have the same rank. If you get lucky enough to get into the "academy" class at TBS, you will go with about 200 of your classmates. From there, you will be a small officer in a wide ocean of enlisted men and women. Enjoy your time with your close friends.
2. Do your research.
Before you choose a ship, duty station, TBS class, or MOS, do your research. The academy is the perfect time to reach out to the abundant source of officers who are there. Ask them the hard questions. Ask them about matters that you are concerned with. While I was at TBS, I learned that our ROTC and OCS bretheren usually do not have the opportunity to speak to a large variety of officers from different communities. Take advantage of your time at the academy to build a network. I have contacted officers from the academy on numerous occasions. Make connections, and do your research now.
3. Enjoy Annapolis, and have a blast!
I did not recognize the beauty Annapolis had to offer until I came back to visit during my time at TBS. Enjoy the harbor, Navy Football, and the Iron Rooster. Enjoy Downtown Annapolis. Not having to catch an Uber to get to DTA to have fun with your friends on the weekend is the hookup. Throughout my short time in the operating forces I've realized that in the fleet, there are amphibious ships, nuclear ships, big ships, and small ships, but the most important ships are friendships. Enjoy them now.
Life as a Midshipman is great. If you ever get down on yourself, just remember, you could be in the middle of nowhere at West Point. Soak in the good times. Stay the course. The best is yet to come.