NOKOMIS — Madeline Smith, 18, leaves in the next week for the United States Naval Academy for Plebe Summer.
The Pine View School graduate and Nokomis resident will start with a 14-day quarantine this year for Plebe Summer. It includes a shutting down of most technology for about two months with a few phone calls permitted along with pen-to-paper letters, but that’s it.
She has been getting prepared as best she can for the physical, mental and emotional challenges.
“I’m getting comfortable with the uncomfortable — or trying to at least,” she said previously to The Gondolier.
She was sponsored for the Naval Academy by U.S. Rep. Greg Steube.
“Our community is both impressed and inspired by Madeline’s service to her country and those across the world,” Steube said in a news release from his office.
Smith has traveled to several continents, meeting people from several different cultures. She also was on a trip with her family that included a large boat ride around the Galápagos Islands, which gave her an appreciation for ships, she said.
Right now, she’s focused on Plebe Summer, a rite of passage for incoming Naval Academy students that “turns civilians into midshipmen,” according to the Naval Academy.
After four years education, she’ll have to serve as an officer in the military for at least five years.
“I have the next nine years of my life set out in front of me,” she said.
Down the line, she said she thinks she’d prefer serving on an aircraft carrier. But such things are years away.
She’ll serve and find out.
“I think the unknown is exciting. I’m not really scared of it,” she said. “I can choose how I feel about it.”