Friday, September 9, 2011

Freshmen Military Training

Today while I was teaching, we heard hundreds of freshmen marching into their meeting in the square outside our building.  My students and I peered out the window watching as they streamed in carrying the little stools they always march with, then sat down in formation and waited for the speechifying to begin. We're a seaside campus, so their uniforms are all the dark pants and light blue shirts of the navy.  Yes, it's that time of year; the three weeks when the drill masters roll in to teach a bunch of giggly 18-year-olds how to march, sing patriotic songs, listen to speeches, and follow orders.

After the break, I asked my students, "Do you know how long freshmen military training lasts in America?"  The guessing began.

"Two weeks"

"Two days"

"Half a year"

"One month"

(and so on)

No, no, no, no.

"Aha!  I've tricked you!" I said smugly.  "Is there freshmen military training in America?"

A ripple of understanding passed through the room.  

"No!" they yelled in unison.

Laughter and astonishment all around.

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