My name is Benjamin Powdermaker, and I am a MSI Cadet at Vanderbilt University. In eighth grade, I read the book The Long Gray Line, and I decided I wanted to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point. For the next four years I read as much as I could about West Point and the Army in general. During my senior year, I applied early to West Point, but then our family friend, who is a college counselor, told me to look into other universities and the ROTC programs there. I decided to apply to a few different places including Vanderbilt. Then, Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell called me, and he had me come visit Vanderbilt. I loved every bit of it. Part of me had already started to wonder about the things I might miss out on if I went to West Point, but speaking with LTC. Mitchell and touring Vanderbilt with a couple of cadets sealed the deal for me. I wanted to join the military and serve my country, but I also wanted to have a college experience with people who were not only there to join the Army. I could not be happier with my decision. This first semester I have learned to balance ROTC and school work, and I have built amazing friendships with people in and out of ROTC. I am looking forward to the next three and a half years with my fellow cadets and students.