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Myths About Military Schools Part 1

By Jonathan Pederson

After watching last week’s episode of NCIS, I noticed a slight parallel to myself.  Tony Dinozzo attended a military school, just like me; he graduated from it, just like I will; and it was called RMA, WOAH! That part nearly blew my mind! Was it Randolph-Macon Academy? Riverside Military Academy? No, it was actually a fictional Remington Military Academy.  Today I will review the episode and address four myths that are both in the episode and I have encountered many times.  If you wish to read a light-hearted review on the episode, look for our next blog entitled Myths About Military Schools Pt. 2: Three Myths That You Won’t Believe Are True!  Both of these reviews are based on my seven years of experience at Randolph-Macon Academy.  I cannot speak about other schools.  Here are the four misconceptions:

1. You HAVE to be fit to go to a military school.
        In the episode, there was a character nicknamed “Piggie” because he was not fit. He was constantly picked on and hazed.  He would have to do extra PT, just to get fit.  At R-MA, being fit certainly helps, but it isn’t demanded! I am not exactly in shape – I’ll admit it, I’m pretty lazy- but the MOST I ever get is, “You should do some exercise before the next fitness exam.”  That is because we are tested every quarter for the Presidential Fitness Exam.  Other than that, we focus on high-quality education more than fitness.

2. Military school means military career.
        One of the most common things I am asked is, “Do you want to join the military?”  I get it, I’m going to a military school and I can see the leap to military career.  But, please don’t mix the two.  There are plenty of people that go to military school as a stepping stone into the career, but there are just as many that go for other reasons.  I go because it’s a great education.

3. Military Schools are for “bad kids”.
        Ever since the Vietnam War, military schools have gotten a bad rep for the place you send “bad kids.”  People believe military school is an alternative to prison.  Maybe I am too young to understand how this stigma came to be, but WHY??? To me, this is just nonsense.  The two are NOT related.  Of course, there are exceptions; we sometimes get those bad kids.  You know, the kind that get a 2300 on the SAT and get into Harvard.

4. There are secret societies that haze people.
        The episode included a secret society of cadets and leadership, entitled the Honor Corps, that desperately clung to tradition and supported hazing and harassment.  I’ve been at R-MA for seven years now, and I’ve TRIED to find secret societies.  They’re not out there.  The only societies we have are academic.  The conditions for these societies aren’t a lengthy procedure of physical beatings, rather a lengthy procedure of getting good grades and attaining community service hours.