So it’s been a very quick but also long past few months. Training is going well, but it’s a grind. Getting used to rotating shift work has been interesting, but it doesn’t seem to be that bad. It’s also been amazing to finally get some operational experience with all the knowledge and studying we’ve been doing.
It’s been great being back up in the northeast and having the opportunity to visit friends and family up here. Having the chance to see a bit of Boston, doing a bunch of mountain biking, and having the opportunity to take a flight in a glider has been awesome. Morning runs will never get old, and it’s been great that they’ve been able to continue despite the long hours of training.
The past few months have been a blur. So many hours of studying, but also some pretty fun times. And only three more exams until graduation! I can’t wait.
Things have been interesting both in and out of school. The classes have gotten more hands-on and thus more engaging and applicable to what we’ll be doing one day running the nuclear power plants on submarines. At one point we all needed to be tested for internal sources of radiation as a baseline before we go to the nuclear prototype plants. I found out my body naturally emits 0.86nCi of radation (very normal, haha).
Out in the real world, I’ve had a few fun adventures with my classmates. I went to see The Avengers in 3D and it was pretty incredible – not to be eclipsed by the opportunity to drive my classmates brand new 2012 Mustang on the way home. What an fun vehicle to drive. Things in the tiny house have been good, the AC unit is keeping things cool inside despite the “controlled burning” that recently swept through the woods not 100 feet away. I went running in woods one day surrounded by green undergrowth and the next day it was smoldering ash-strewn desolation. Quite a surprise, but I suppose a necessity to keep the threat of a larger fire at bay.
Another thing I’ve really been enjoying recently is reading a number of different books. I discovered how easy it is the use the free Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) e-library to read them via Kindle. It’s a pretty awesome service. I started with Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo and am currently working on The Game of Thrones series. Both provide a great escape from the classroom, and it’s motivating being able to look forward to the next chapter at the end of each long day of studying.
“Knowledge, Integrity, Excellence.” It’s a pretty legit motto for the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command (NNPTC). We had a brief today and they stressed the importance of integrity and how it has helped maintain the trust of the public in the Navy’s nuclear program. All it would take is one ‘Three Mile Island’ type incident and that faith could be shattered, so maintaining a perfect safety record is paramount. We had our second exam today, and it went really well. Our section had the highest average between the three that make up our class – which was cool. The guys that make up our section are pretty legit – they work hard but are also really funny and hilarious when they joke around. A lot of witty humor. I just hope the guys on my sub are this awesome.
One of the best parts of today was biking onto base. I woke up at 0415 so I could get in by 0500 and cram before the test at 0700 (filling the short-term memory banks right before the exams seems to be a common and beneficial strategy). It was a cool, damp morning and felt like the same type of morning I’d wake up to back in college to go to crew practice. It was just cold enough to have a nip in the air, and it was so damp there was dew dripping off the tiny house roof, and you could see fog wisping through the air and collecting in low areas like drainage ditches on the side of the road. It was kind of ominous, like the eve of a battle, and also reminded me of crew practice in the morning when I had an exam later that day. Good times.