Tuesday, August 31, 2010

4 to go

There are only four things left to send in to the Academy. The CFA, Personal Data Record, the interview and the nomination.

I´m putting off the physical as long as possible. I ran a mile today in 8:34 (that´s 8 minutes, not hours), a full 28 seconds faster than last time. The problem is I have to run it with someone else to pace myself, or I burn myself out too fast. I have to run alone. I can run 3 times a week, despite my schedule (explained further down).

The other document should be pretty easy to fill out. I mean, name, address, phone numbers, so on... but it asks me to choose my region from a list that doesn´t include Central, South or North America, which seems a pretty big omission to me.

The interview with my Liason Officer is also missing, but we´re having trouble setting a date. The way it´s set up, right now would be the ideal time for most US students to work on admissions, the year is barely started, and there´s not much homework or tests. My school year, on the other hand, is just ending. This means: UCR admissions test, high school finals, Math Olypiads, and Ministry Tests (math, english, spanish, science (physics), civics, social studies). Oh, and General Chemistry I, because I felt like putting my brain in a blender. Just kidding, we already covered it in class, but I want the credits so I don´t lose any time next year.

The nomination is shaping up all right. I´m almost done with the essay, which I´ll post once I send it in. By Sunday, I hope. I´ll also post my writing samples on of these days.

Note: no update last week because I spent the weekend at a biological reserve collecting frogs and taking their pictures. Greatest field trip yet. I´m seriously considering studying biology and statistics if I go to the State University (neither aeronautical nor aerospace engineering is offered).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Candidate Fitness Assesment.

Well, that went pretty badly.

I started off pretty nervous. Butterflies in my stomache, cold hands, all of it. Once I started I was okay, and after the first basketball throw I just felt humiliated.

I used my school shoes. These are black sneakers, but not meant for anything too ambitious. The soles are extremely slippery, but they get a decent grip at my school´s gym. I didn´t take the test at my school´s gym.

The gym had a waxed wood floor.

The agility/speed test was ridiculous. I had to start skidding about a yard from the end line to slide in, and even then fell to my knees at least twice. Trying to return was even worse. I was running in place for the first few steps before I could even begin moving forward. I asked if I could run barefoot the second time, but they wouldn't let me.

I know I can't do pull -ups. I did the flexed arm hang, but that was less than mediocre, at 33 seconds.

Push ups were bad. I can do 20 in a row pretty easily, rest in push up position, then start doing 5, rest, 5 rest, for a bit more. Unfortunately, I'm used to turning my elbows out. I get my elbows to the full 90 degree angle, but at a 90 degree angle from my body, as well. My hands are straight forward, so this in probably bad for my wrists. They made me keep my elbows close to my body. I made 11, realized I couldn't do any more, as just stopped. At a 1:20, I just go so discouraged I asked the testers to mark it incomplete. I may have been able to hang on a bit longer, by I was just too depressed to try by then. That was definitely the most disappointing performance of all, I wasn´t aware that I could give up like that.

I ran the mile in the rain. I heard it in the gym, and rain on a tin roof is a relaxing, sleepy sound, so I ignored it. Then at the 30 minute mark realized I would have to run in that. The puddles were half-way to ankle deep. That sounds shallow, but not when you're kicking up water into your face. I'm badly out of shape, and ran a 9 minute mile. The last 20 yards were nice, though. It's that moment when you run as fast as you can and don't feel anything, but you can tell your legs are stretching out and see your arms swing longer and longer until you're going all out. Then you walk another lap to cool down and really feel miserable.

As a final note: 2 minutes actually is a pretty long rest period. Enough to catch your breath.

I missed three hours worth of physics to take the test. I feel bad about that.

Arm strength is the main problem here. Only a few weeks ago I learned to serve a volleyball and actually get it across a net. That's more technique than strength, but it illustrates the point.

I listened to Dylan's Series of Dreams repeatedly when I finished. Have you ever realized you were dreaming and knew that if you just pulled in the right direction you would wake up? I felt like I was in that dreaming stage but couldn't pull myself out quite right. Here's a song that usually makes me feel better after something's gone wrong: Aerosmith's Amazing. Just listen to the lyrics.


I have to turn these in soon for early acceptance, which is what most people who are accepted to. That would do more harm than good, I´m better off retaking it in a month or two.

Bright side: Cornell has an excellent ROTC program, and is a great school for engineering.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I sent in my "Candidate Activities Record". Here, I get to brag about how many sports teams I'm on, about acting, musical talent, debate team, speeches, flying experience, boy/girl scouts... none of which apply to me.

My school, as I've mentioned, has nothing in the way of extracurricular, aside from the academic Olympiads. Wheeee, math!! (<-- not sarcasm).

All I get to brag about is speaking Spanish, a bronze medal in the Math Olympiads last year, first place in an essay contest, getting to the finals in the Chemistry Olympiads... and that's about it.

The rest was explaining that because of the way my school works, that's all we have time for. Really, there's a 44% drop-out rate. Or rather, kick-out rate. If you don't make the grade, you're sent back to our original high school. The last class started with 30 students, and only 12 graduated (yes, that's more than 44%, that percent is from these high-schools country wide, not just mine).

I guess I'm doing pretty well, aside from a sad lack in everything sports related. Which will show up in the CFA next week. I mean, I swim, and pretty well, but not competitively. I play volleyball with my friends, but I'm terrible at serving. I'm in average shape now, and no time to work out. Once school's over (or just eases up, really) I'll be hitting the gym. Next year I'm joining the local university's swim team for the one semester I'm enrolling. Right now? Nothing spectacular. In fact, when it comes to pull ups, nothing short of pathetic.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Med Report

The last medical exam was last week. Dr. Zoidberg just measured me, checked my pulse and blood pressure and did a general going over to make sure I was pretty much normal (surprise, I am). He also had to record all tattoos, piercings and sizeable scars: none on all counts, not even pierced ears. He translated and passed the results from all the other medical reports and signed everything off.

En fin: the only abnormalities were a dislocated shoulder at age 2 and having had to wear glasses for the last few years.

The report (which included a questionnaire about whether I was an alcoholic drug addict trying to commit suicide) is in the mail. That leaves just the CFA and nomination to worry about, the rest is pretty much done.

Side-note: it´s August, I can now start the online application to MIT. I also enrolled at the University of Costa Rica (my high school gets to send students there, if they´re willing to risk passing and getting stuck with a low grade), I´m taking Chemistry I. Unfortunately, we´re not allowed to take Calculus despite already pretty much covering it in class.