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MONDAY 30-SEP-2013 I was a student of Psychology before I came to BUD/S. It is here that I witnessed a fascinating phenomenon.

When students would ring out, or happen to be rolled out of the class, they would die. Not in any classical sense of the word, but amongst the remaining members of the class they would cease to exist. I experienced this first hand when one of my very close friends from boot camp quit. The day before he rang the bell we were best friends, and after he clanged three times, I haven't talked to him since. It is strange how death works both ways though. Not only do people experience you dying, but you yourself undergo a psychological change. In Psychology the theory is called the Kbler-Ross model, or what we all know as the five stages of death. First, I experienced denial. As soon as I was pulled from my boat crew and sent to medical on Wednesday evening, I immediately thought that what had happened was only a temporary setback. I felt that BUD/S was not over for me. However, I did not stay in that stage for long. On Friday, I had a review board with Master Chief Lash and Instructor Low. During the board, it was explained to me that I did not possess what the Teams were looking for in a candidate and that both Instructors agreed that I should be dropped from the program. Almost immediately I was catapulted into the second stage; Anger. I cursed them in my head, I thought I did everything right! I was an unknown through first phase, passed every evolution, scored well in all of my timed evolutions, consistently placed well on peer reviews. The Instructors didn't even know my name! I stayed angry for a long time, probably too long, in all of its futility. That is, until about 0200 Saturday morning. I started to undergo the third stage, negotiation or bargaining. I thought to myself that I could bargain at my Board on Tuesday. I would just explain everything and promise to do better with another class in exchange for another shot at First Phase. Not long after, I heard Instructor Low's voice in the back of my mind: "You don't get better at BUD/S; it's designed to see that you do not get better". About this time I took a level 5 nose dive into stage four, the stage I experienced the longest, depression. I was in a deep, dark place, mentally. I had never experienced such abounding hopelessness and grief. It took me literally all weekend to climb out of my existential quagmire. This morning when I awoke, I was no longer depressed. I went about my morning routine and came to terms with my problem. I had broken into stage 5. Acceptance. As we know, First Phase is designed to ferret out the Gray man. I just didn't know I was one. I thought I did well. Thought is the key word there. The instructors often said that the guys who don't belong at BUD/S will go away one way or another. Now that I'm going away, I can deduce what that means. I've just wanted to do this for so long that I could not accept that I don't belong. I mean, if you base your life on something, you surely should fit right in when you get there, right? I see now, that it isn't personal. Master Chief and Instructor Low weren't just giving me a hard time just to do it. They, the instructors, are protecting a community that they know way more about than I do. How could I know what it takes to be a part of it? I'm not even in it and I have my own preconceptions of what it means to be a Teams Guy. They, on the other hand, have been in the Community for a long time, and they've seen a million kids like me go through phase. If they say we don't see eye to eye, I'll just have to trust them then. I am already dead to my class, they have moved on, cloaked in brown, to bigger and better things post Hell week. I too am ready to move on from BUD/S. I must move on. For, if I let my failure and subsequent drop from training defines not only my life, but also who I am as a man; I truly would not have been any help to this sacred Community at all. Kyle R. Gibbons