Sophomore spends summer at unlikely place

Sophomore spends summer at unlikely place

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Sophomore Nick Dusek reminisces about his summer at a military boot camp.

Story by Taylor Potter, Staff Writer

Some kids were on the beach.

Some kids were at amusement parks.

Some kids were visiting relatives.

This kid was spending his summer running, jumping and being criticized at a military boot camp.

Sophomore Nick Dusek was enrolled in Harlingen Military and Marine Academy in Harlingen, Texas. He was there for almost the entire month of July and participated in activities like obstacle courses, a mud course with barbed-wire and a confidence course.

“I got in trouble with some things, so I was sent there,” Dusek said. “Now that I look at it, I’m glad I went.”

Dusek and the academy’s other attendees bonded over the course of their stay.

“We spent the entire month of July together, so we all got really close,” Dusek said. “We had a bunch of stories.”

One story was when they thought they saw an alligator during a canoe trip on the Border River.

“The funny thing is, the kid with the biggest fear of water jumped out of the boat to get away from the alligator,” Dusek said.  “About the time he was swimming across, the border patrol came by, and they told us to get out of the river because a huge barge boat was coming by. This huge boat that only had about two feet of room on each side of the river came by and almost hit the kid.”

Dusek said that the experience has taught him many positive things that have changed his habits in everyday life.

“It taught me how to get up and do something,” Dusek said. “You had to force yourself to get up early in the morning and run and do all the bad stuff. I learned how to respect authority a lot more. You don’t argue with what they say, whether it’s fair or unfair.”

Dusek did have a bit of an “identity crisis” while enrolled at the academy.

“I decided to mess with everyone a little bit and tell everyone that my name was Tom,” Dusek said. “For two days, when anyone would ask my name I’d say it was Tom. The third day I decided I’d tell everyone my name was really Nick. Everyone was just like, ‘No. Your name is Tom.’ So I just kept being called Tom.”

The attendees had to participate in many different activities throughout the day.

“We did basically everything that you’d do at a marine boot camp, just a bit lessened down,” Dusek said. “A bunch of people had to conquer a fear of heights. It was a lot of exercise type stuff.”

While he has experienced a change at the academy, he does not necessarily feel different.

“I don’t really feel like a different person,” Dusek said. “I think they just reshaped the one that was already here.”