Seeing the Light

Me with Carissa. Not in a uniform and drinking beer. The best kind of day.
Me with Carissa. Not in a uniform and drinking beer. The best kind of day.

Well, it’s been a couple months, although it doesn’t really feel like it. Time flies when you’re not really asleep or awake, and you end up drifting through the days on rotating shift work feeling like every day is Wednesday. The “on crew” phase of prototype has been considerably harder and more frustrating. Most of my time has still been begging people for “check outs” on casualty procedures. I’d say that unlike college where the more you learn, the more interested in subjects you become, in prototype it’s completely the opposite.

I’ve been fighting through to the end and right now I’m about 80% complete in my qualifications. I’ve remained the top mechanic on my crew and managed to keep myself in the positive through some tough weeks, but it’s starting become more about getting signatures than about the amount of points you’re trying to make a day. (Every check out is assigned a point value, and you are required to make a certain amount of points a day, called a “delta”, the symbol denoting change.) It’s a pretty miserable experience but finally I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Theoretically, our graduation date is in June or early July, but we’ll see if that’s reasonable. At the moment, we have to switch boats due to limitations, which will complicate most things down the road. I’m currently “steam limited”, or in other words, I have to have the reactor at power to finish my assignments on the boat. So, until then, I am stuck in a no talking study area for 8.5-12 hours a day trying to get the last of my check outs completed. Then I take my final comprehensive test, and then stand watches, and then take my final oral board. All of these things are terrifying. If there ever was a job that makes me feel absolutely stupid every day, it’s nuclear power.

About 2/3 completed. It's looking amazing!
About 2/3 completed. It’s looking amazing!

All that said, I do get some time off here and there. On one of our “t-weeks” (short for training week, I believe), I was able to go to Savannah with Carissa and have a few good nights. Since then, however, I usually just want to sleep and not be in a uniform for a while. Also, I spent another 9 hours getting my tattoo worked on. It’s not complete yet, but it’s getting there.

Hopefully I’ll be in the light soon.

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