A day in the life of a cadet
begins at 5:30 am with reveille
. A shower, a room inspection, a flag raising, followed by breakfast at 6:45 am. Classes
begin at 7:30 and go until 3:30 pm. Then cadets participate in mandatory athletic
activities. The rest of day is filled with other extracurricular and military training events, dinner, and the all-important studying
. Lights go out at 11 pm.
While the daily schedule in simple enough, the happenings of each day are not. Life for freshmen ("the doolies") is pure hell. Upperclassmen control every motion of their lessers from how to look, how to stand, and how to chew food (no more than seven bites before a swallow). Of course, cadets in the first years get no privileges. No cars, no music, no personal belongings. Naturally, the squadron leaders are no more gentle.
The United States' taxpayers pay for every student's education. Every cadet gets a monthly allowance for textbooks and uniforms. Each potential student must be nominated by a high-ranking federal government official, usually a congressman. The Academy is very selective, usually aiming for high school students who are exceptional in academics, athletics, and extracurriculars.
While the structure of the Academy is quite atypical, the school is still a four-year college. Every cadet graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree after his tenure. All cadets graduate as second lieutenants, most as pilots. After the Academy, a graduate must stay in the air force for five years.
The campus itself is incredible in its natural setting nestled along the Rocky Mountains near Colorado Springs, CO. All the cadet buildings sit together near the famous Cadet Chapel--with its 17 pointed aluminum spires. Except for a few weeks in June, cadets of some sort are always present on the campus. Senior graduation--easily the most exciting moment of a cadet's life--is on the last week of May.