Letter to My Former Self: Ensign Garrett Gray
POSTED ON: Thursday, March 27, 2014 8:00 AM by Naval Academy Public Affairs
As part of an ongoing series, recent USNA graduates have written "letters to their former selves" outlining advice that would have been useful to them when they were still midshipmen and may provide helpful wisdom for those still on the Yard. Here, Ensign Garrett Gray (USNA 2013), an explosive ordnance disposal officer, looks back on when he was a mid.
Dear young, stupid, MIDN Garrett Gray,
Hello, I am your future self. Please don't freak out and isolate yourself in the squash courts. Hear me out.
Just to put you at ease, yes you will graduate in 2013, you will get the service selection you want, and no your capstone project won't work, but you will come up with some really awesome technical sounding excuses and your professor will give you an A anyway.
So now that the big stuff is taken care of, here is some stuff that might help you out along the way and make me, your future self, a little better off.
You will get picked up for EOD, so that's pretty cool. But do your research better than I did, and don't be afraid to build relationships right off the bat. If you know any people from 9th company or from the marathon team or from your cruise that went EOD, get in touch. You think you're smart and cool ‘cause you did a screener but you really don't know jack squat about anything. The better acquainted you become with that fact, the better you're going to be as a JO.
And people are most always willing to help. You just have to be willing to ask. I know I would be more than willing to talk to anybody about EOD now. Suck it up, build relationships, and try to find out more about your future job than what you can read in the pro-know book (a.k.a. Wikipedia). Oh, and those relationships won't go away. It will be really cool later when you actually know people.
Ironically, I can still take my own advice. The navy sent me to DLI (look it up) here in California so I haven't even gone to dive school yet. Super good choice though. You'll love it here. Y podras hablar espanol.
Be prepared physically, too, though. Danny Quinn is here to drown me every morning to get ready for dive school, but I wish I would have taken advantage of the extensive free swim opportunities at the academy. Something else that will happen right when you graduate is quality of life will improve a lot and you will start feeling like a real live adult.
And it will also hit you that the world is a little bigger than 5th wing and that you are a military officer. So please do me a favor and don't waste so much time scrolling on Facebook and playing addictive games. I judge people like that now. Sleep more (not in thermo), and read. Seriously, read a lot. Buzzfeed= the devil. Starting your homework before 10 p.m. would be helpful as well. Don't skip leg day, and take the frickin’ FE exam. I'm kicking myself for not doing that now.
Basically, just work hard.
Finally, appreciate what you have at the academy. Never again will you be in such close proximity to that many cool people and be able to lead that closely and focus that much on what you are doing.
It has its perks. Don't cry. It's ok. Big shout out to my girl Brynn and all my peeps in 9. Keep it breezy.
Crusty old Ensign Gray