10. Start a savings plan early and NEVER, EVER touch it until you are retired! Diversify it (stocks, bonds, etc.). Don’t put your eggs in one basket. If you have kids, start a tuition savings program for each one.
9. Take silent pride in what you have accomplished and experienced at the Academy – but do not encumber others with the weight of it.
8. Hold sacred your brothers and sisters in arms, particularly your classmates. Honor and remember them in some way every day of your life. Cultivate meaningful relationships with as many as you can.
7. Become a religious zealot when it comes to your dental hygiene. Our missteps in this area early in life will be our painful – and expensive – misfortunes later. Don’t forget to floss.
6. Choose a path early on in the military. Either your ambition is to become a commanding presence and leader in the Armed Forces or to serve your time honorably and then pursue a civilian career. Whatever you do, decide this early – know which kind of soldier you are – and then pursue your chosen course voraciously. Seek out a mentor. Get a higher degree in education. Become skilled at something you personally value. But do it all early – don’t wait until life intrudes.
5. Marry at the right time, for the right reasons, and to the right person. The same goes for having children. Do not let any of this come about by chance, capriciousness or whimsy. The course of the rest of your life is determined by what decisions you make in these matters. Remember: it isn’t a competition – there aren’t any prizes for who first gets married in the Chapel right after graduation.
4. Keep a daily journal and write down your experiences. You have already begun an extraordinary life. Someday, you may want to share it with others…or even yourself. Or even Spielberg. (Anne really likes this one!)
3. Attend at least one Academy class reunion. When you do, revel in the emotion and sentiment of that time.
2. Never delay in telling those you love how much they mean to you. In your chosen profession time and fate can be cruel masters and rob you of that opportunity without warning…or remorse.
1. Realize that at the end of our journey life is not about accolades and medals you have garnered but about the difference you made in people’s lives. Assess this impact honestly and often. Work to change things that diminish your vision or turn you from your course.