The little things Culver requires you to do now will make a difference when you are in college, CMA cadets were told Sunday evening.
Two former CMA leaders returned to briefly address the Corps of Cadets at dinner following a full day of Dress A inspections. Jacob Kanak ’16 and Mitchell Kokko ’15 talked about the small Culver advantages that have helped them succeed at the University of Notre Dame.
Kanak is sophomore defenseman for the men’s lacrosse team and a member of the university’s Naval ROTC. Kokko, a junior, is the student commercialization manager for the IDEA Center, the university’s incubator.
The dinner also served as the official start of second make for CMA as Michael Boland ’18 (Culver, Indiana) assumed the regimental command from John Houston ’18 (Naples, Florida) during a brief ceremony. The inspections and dinner are part of the ongoing Culver Annual Review process.
Kanak said he has found the “little things” cadets are required to do can make a difference at college. While no cadet likes wearing a uniform, and having to wear it correctly, it does pay dividends later. The way you dress makes an impression on your classmates and professors. It helps shape their opinion of you. “The way you dress does make a difference,” he said.
Also, keep the Culver values and the cardinal virtues “close to you” and you will be successful. “It may sound mundane,” Kanak said, “but you will be set for life.”
The competitiveness Culver students learn – whether on the playing field, the classroom, or military – sets them apart from other students. “Not everyone is as driven as you,” he explained. Maintain that competitive drive and apply it to any aspect of your life.
Kokko said Culver prepares students to work with people – especially your peers – under uncomfortable situations. As a leader, CMA cadets must develop effective ways of telling their peers what to do. There are standards to be met. And, while it can be difficult, being able to have those conversations about maintaining standards and doing the right thing “will be so important down the road,” he said.
He added students should not get too caught up in the race for grades, rank, and leadership positions. That isn’t a pass to coast, he explained, but “nobody cares about your GPA once you are in college.” As a leader, be more concerned about the impact you are having on others.
Kokko finished with a special note for the first classmen: “Do the right thing. Finish strong. And enjoy it.”