Why would someone choose a Russian kid to be the head of the navy junior reserve officers' training corps? This thought kept creeping into my mind before I came here. It was an awards ceremony, where new commander was going to be named. Battalion commander is a position of outmost importance in the unit. He is responsible for the entire battalion - two companies, four departments, seven teams, and one hundred fifty people overall. It is definitely a job that requires great trust from your peers and senior naval science instructor. Unfortunately trust is something I felt lack of, my nationality was taking it's toll. Because I had been ridiculed since freshman year due to my nationality, I wasn't certain that I have proved to everyone, that I could be trusted and deserved this spot.
Nevertheless, standing on the stage after hearing my name announced as the new battalion commander. I was hearing people applauding but I couldn't see their faces. Spotlights from the ceiling are directed right into my face, temporarily blinding me. At that time, I was thinking about my way to the stage. My mind was filled with flashbacks from my past.
When I just came to the unit, people ignored me. My first year was probably the toughest one; I was barely speaking English and I didn't know anyone. Whenever I was attempting to become friends with people, I often was facing prejudices that I was unable to overcome without any friends and support, all I had was a dream: a dream to prove to myself that I was worth something.
During the beginning of my second year, many people were ridiculing me for my accent. Although my English got better and I was even able to become friends with a few people, most still saw me as an enemy. For them, the cold war was still going and they were getting...