A Letter to a West Point Significant Other
I have been seeing a lot of updates recently on the USMA Class of 2022 and their R-Day/BEAST experience and I started thinking about what was going through the minds of all of the loved ones they left behind. But specifically, the girlfriends and boyfriends that are about to embark on this journey with them. While Justin and I weren't together until halfway into his first year at West Point, the distance we've gained from West Point since graduation just a few short months ago has allowed me the chance to reflect on what it looks like to be dating someone who goes to West Point. I wanted to write this "letter" for lack of a better word to encourage those couples who are currently in a West Point relationship.
A Letter to the
West Point Significant Other
I struggled so hard trying to find a way to start this letter. How do you sum up the highs and lows of a four-year experience that is unlike anything else in a letter? How do you pour out your thoughts and feelings to someone you've never met, who is experiencing something new and scary and exciting all at the same time? Whether your significant other just left for BEAST a few weeks ago to start their West Point journey or you're anxiously awaiting the start of your significant other's final year, this letter is for you.
A lot of people will talk about how West Point shapes a Cadet. But they don't talk about how the West Point journey will shape you. The experience can be a highlight of your life or it can be something you look back on with a bitter taste in your mouth. The bottom line is, what your West Point journey as a West Point significant other looks like is completely up to you and your cadet. You can choose to be miserable and counting down every second of the West Point journey until it's over or you can make the most of each day. Staying positive as a West Point significant other isn't easy but it is possible. There will be times when the journey will seem like it will never end but trust me, it will end eventually.
So here is my challenge to you: cherish every second of this crazy West Point journey. Cherish every minute that you're together and even the ones that you're apart. Take way too many pictures at each and every event, even if your Cadet groans about it because one day you'll be looking for pictures and think, "Man, where are all the pictures from Ring Weekend?" and by then it's too late.
Foster friendships with other significant others, whether it be because they live near you, attend the same school, or maybe just have a Cadet involved in the same activity as you. These people will get you through. Learn how to be a good friend and more importantly, what that really means. If there's anything I've learned in my short time as a military spouse it's that you can never underestimate the power of support. So find your tribe and cling to them. Pour into those friendships because they will be the ones who you call on when the days are long and hard whether it's two months after graduation or two years.
Countdown the days, but be wary of how quickly time flies. In the moment, summer training will last forever but then you blink and suddenly you're standing at graduation and it's over. Celebrate every victory, big and small. Save every letter. Pour into your relationship and pour into yourselves because you are only as strong together as you are apart.
I hope you've found some encouragement in this letter because it's coming from someone who's been there, someone who felt like the days were dragging on and now that it's passed, sees how true it is that time is fleeting. The day after Justin graduated we looked at each other like "Are we really here" because the whole thing will eventually seem like a dream and there is such beauty in that.