Advice to 4 year winners

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by mfleisher1, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. mfleisher1

    mfleisher1 Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2013
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    10
    Like many of you, I was a senior in high school last year who had recently learned that I was awarded the 4 year scholarship to my top (and only) 3 choices. I remember feeling like I had won the world. I had succeeded in life and the rest was just smooth sailing.

    But you haven't even started yet. I know that because I haven't even started yet. Showing up on your first day, you realize that even though you were "good"enough to recieve the scholarship, your work has just begun.

    Don't get me wrong, winning the scholarship is a great honor and will come in VERY handy (monthly stipend is great, free college is even better). Not to mention the fact that as long as you pass your DoDMERB and your APFT, you'll be contracted... Which is increasingly hard to do- and a very big deal.

    But you still have to earn it. Every day.

    I made the mistake of taking for granted that I was "all that in a bag of chips" over the summer before entering my freshman year. I worked out occasionally, but not near what I should have. It was the biggest mistake I've ever made.

    Please, for your own sake, celebrate that you've set yourself up for success, but realize that you've only ensured that you have the OPPORTUNITY to succeed- you still have to go get it. Luckily, I was able to light a fire under my hind-end and do what needed to be done for last semester to get contracted, but even I'm still barely scratching the surface of what needs to be done to accomplish the ultimate goal: to commission.

    So don't take this as me acting all high and mighty and telling you guys what you should do- just the opposite. We're peers, which is why I'm asking you to learn from my mistake PLEASE so that you don't put yourself in the position to "catch up" as I did.

    Above all, be proud of what you have accomplished, but don't be satisfied with it. Let it drive you accomplish even more. We have a long way to go.
     
  2. Sampia

    Sampia Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    56
    Great post!
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,800
    Likes Received:
    931
    I hope candidates and recipients take this post to heart.

    I will add this, at least for my DSs unit,nobody cared whether or not the cadet was on scholarship. The slate was wiped clean the minute they stepped on campus as far as it is concerned about being anything in their eyes!

    For some that did not get the scholarship they are highly motivated impo to get one as a freshmen. Whereas,the cadet on scholarship might be like the OP and thought that they maxxed the PFA for the scholarship, only to get there and realized.....HOLYCRAP my administrator for it counted ones that they don't!
    ~ It happens every year, and it is not uncommon. Now for them even as a scholarship recipient their first impression wasn't amazing!

    My piece of advice that I always give is this:
    Run at the height of the day regarding heat. Run right after it rains (pavement is slippier). Run at 6 a.m. after not going to bed until 1 a.m.
    ~~ All of these can/may impact your run time. More importantly, it gets you accustomed to less than ideal conditions, which happens at college. Dorm life can be very noisy and having a paper due the next day may mean lack of sleep. Live in MA, but decide to attend college in southern Florida,the weather, especially the humidity could impact the run time.

    Make sure you keep doing sit ups and push ups. Work on the form.
     
  4. sheriff3

    sheriff3 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Messages:
    998
    Likes Received:
    318
    When DS showed up for his first AFPT prior to school starting some scholarship cadets showed up.....
    Hair out of regulations, generally speaking 0 " at the ears graduated to the length of a credit card at the top
    Facial hair, the Army has no use for goatees, lamb chops or soul patches.
    Out of shape, REALLY.... I mean get serious. The Army is offering you a $100K+ in education and tax free cash money (books and stipend) the very least you can do is show up ready to pass the AFPT.
    Inappropriate PT gear, generally speaking if you would not want to visit grandma in it or be seen by your pastor in it do not wear it to work out in. Offensive language/ pictures on it will not cut it.
    Clueless of the proper PU,SU form. When you get your scholarship offer it will include a link to a YouTube video that shows the proper form. When taking your first AFPT you may here this 15...15...15 when doing your pushups. You may be thinking this guy is an IRS auditor because he can't count for crap... nooo he is saying you just did 2 incorrect push-ups. Proper form is key to your success.
    Good luck to you all. MY DS is an MSII and loves it!
     
    Vista123 and USMCGrunt like this.
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,800
    Likes Received:
    931
    LMAO sheriff.

    One of my friends DS made a small fortune every fall semester!

    He was the only one that came with clippers and so when the freshmen moved into the dorm they got the wake up call! His Mom said he had a line out of his dorm room for hours.
    ~ He was not scholarship, but I am betting he made enough money to pay for his books and the stipend he would have received all semester!
    ~~ made money the entire semester...easier to walk down the hallway and get it done by a cadet than paying more off campus. Typically these same cadets would get a clipper for Christmas and he lost revenue in the spring.

    The other advice I would give is, buy your sneakers a few weeks in advance to break them in.
    ~ My DS was AFROTC, thus boots were not a factor, however, I believe it is huge for AROTC. I would use the search function here to see what type of boots AROTC posters use. I would assume you want to break them in prior to arriving.
    ~~ Moleskin might be a good investment too.
     
  6. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    334
    Excellent post, hopefully candidates heed this advice. Hopefully you stick around and keep posting, you're right in the thick of the program.

    A scholarship gets you let in the front door, but you have to earn your seat at the table.
     
  7. Long1701

    Long1701 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm going into my second semester as an Army ROTC cadet, and trust me, all of what the OP said is true! And Pima, boots are a big factor in AROTC. We were issued boots, and some may need more breaking in than others. If you want to get your own, it's up to you, but make sure you check the regulations carefully before buying boots if you so choose.
     
  8. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2014
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    306
    Will be having my son read this. Great post OP
     
  9. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    811
    Some great posts in here. Great advice by the OP and sheriff3. My DS showed up to orientation without a fresh shave that morning. 1-days growth. He got lots of special "attention" and handed a disposable razor. He was given 30 seconds to dry shave and cut the heck out of his face. He served as a good example that day and has never shown up unshaven or unkempt again! OP is right - learn from other's lessons and mistakes.
     
  10. k2rider

    k2rider Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Messages:
    512
    Likes Received:
    213
    My son had THREE cadets show up to orientation on Day 1 with earrings. I would have loved to have been there and see somebody pull a Gunnery Sgt Highway (Clint Eastwood's Heartbreak Ridge character) on them and yank those suckers out. Of course, they just told them to remove them and not put them back in...period! Not on you own time, not during the summer, not at all.

    My advice for this those receiving scholarships is to remember, there's still plenty of roadblocks standing in your way before that scholarship becomes a reality. The 1st one is DoDMERB and the medical clearance process. Many people go right thru but most get hung up on some sort of remedial (my son had one, my daughter had several) and then there will be many that get permanent DQ's for something that may not have been an issue in the aspiring cadets life for many, many years. It's a stressful process and can end up being heartbreaking in the end so be prepared with Plan B, C & D.

    The next big one to trip cadets up before getting that scholarship money that has been touched on already is Fitness. I just want to hit on it again because it's not rare at all for cadets to show up out of shape. My son's freshman year, about 20% of the cadets didn't pass the APFT testing the entire 1st semester so they were paying for everything out of pocket. At my daughter's school, there was one girl that never did pass the test and dropped out of the program after her freshman year....this was at a school that was $45000 per year.
     
  11. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,537
    Likes Received:
    837
    It's funny, it's usually the new cadets that scored some ridiculous number of PU and SU's on their PFT that have the most problem passing their first APFT. They tend to think because they did 80 PU's on the PFT that they're ready to go and don't really spend enough time working out before they get to school. Of course there are those that actually watch the video and train to form, these new cadets do very well.

    Funny story. My older son over the summer after his sophomore year did one of those Navy Seal Fitness Challenge things that came to town, swim, PU's, Pull Up's, and a run. When he was doing the PU's there was a guy next to him that was a bit older but in pretty good shape. They started the PU's, son did about 82, all in proper form, the other guy did 128. I swear he did not move more then 6 inches up and down. Being this was just for fun they did not ding him and he won for doing the most PU's. After everything was done the Seal that did the counting came up to my son, he told him it was obvious that he was in the military because of his form and laughed and said if the other guy had done the PU's to the proper form, he most likely would not have even done 42.

    Make sure you new cadets work out, a lot over the next months, watch your form and have other people watch.

    The stories that have been told above happen in every battalion. if you show up ready and in shape and do very well on the first APFT, good things will happen for you and you will have many more opportunities come your way.
     
    Vista123 likes this.
  12. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,180
    Likes Received:
    105

    Introductory Parent AROTC Picnic the wkend before the first day of school..... First time DS is meeting the battalion and new PMS. ...An MS3 had to drive my son to the barber immediately from the picnic. Not really the first impression that Im sure he would have wanted.

    Also figure out a way BEFORE you get to school how to keep yourself clean shaven all day. a 5 o'clock shadow will not work if you have lab until 5 o'clock. Son went through a million ($$$$) different options before going to an expensive multi-blade razor + a shave cream (not shaving cream). It sounds silly for this to be a problem. but it was.

    Break in those boots!

    Work on your form. Basically every time you fail the APFT you push your contracting back one month. That is $300.00 per month. isnt it worth $300.00 to improve your APFT before your get there?
     
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    5,537
    Likes Received:
    837
    One other thing that has not been mentioned.

    Being away from home at college can be a lot of fun, there will be new people, parties to attend, and most likely alcohol at those parties. No one here is naive to college drinking, neither are the cadre, many of them have been through college and know what goes on. Be careful, alcohol is a big deal in the Army and in ROTC, if you get a MIP or MIC you can be disenrolled from ROTC, lose your scholarship, and be required to pay it back if your past your freshman year. Don't be stupid and drink and then walk around town or campus if your under 21, it's not worth the risk.

    Be careful driving, even a high priced ticket can get you removed from ROTC, you will have to notify your cadre for any ticket your receive. Above all DO NOT drink and drive....ever.

    Stay out of trouble, if someone wants to start a fight, just walk away. The main point here is be careful, don't be stupid, if it sounds like a bad idea, it usually is.
     
    Long1701 and kinnem like this.
  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    7,541
    Likes Received:
    1,003
    Jcleppe's comments on drinking are tight on. I know too many kids who were tossed because they were caught drinking, or had DUIs etc. One new freshman even showed up to PT drunk once. He was out of the program by the end of the day. Funny story though!
     
  15. USN16x

    USN16x Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    9
    Don't think just because you're an athlete you can get away with not working out... I went into my first semester thinking I could pass the apft no problem because I was an athlete... I was wrong. Also do not shoot for the bare minimum the cadre will notice trust me.
     
  16. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,378
    Likes Received:
    334
    Most of all, enjoy the present and where you are now. Don't get bogged down and overwhelmed with what is to come, spend time with friends and family and do things you enjoy. College and ROTC will come, incorporate necessary preparation for it into your schedule, but don't let it completely consume you. Be smart, be safe, but have fun.
     
    ChiTown likes this.
  17. cajuncarrier

    cajuncarrier Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    18
    DS joined the Dollar Shave Club. Don't know the exact program, but something about having razorblades shipped to you each month at hardly any cost. DS swears it it worth it because he uses so many to keep up with regulations. Might want to check into it. IDK
     
    Vista123 likes this.
  18. BAMA ROTC

    BAMA ROTC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2014
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    49
    I use the $6.00 plan and I shave every day comfortably.
     
  19. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2011
    Messages:
    1,058
    Likes Received:
    378
    There is much good info on this thread.

    I would second jcleppe and kinnem. Freshman classes and dorms are full of kids who have never lived on their own and temptations abound. Even without ROTC or an Athletic commitment it is difficult enough for an 18-19 year old college kid to manage time and commitments. First year ROTC cadets/mids will be required to show more restraint than they ever had to and more than they ever thought they had.

    Pima advised learning the proper form on push ups and sit ups. DS's scholarship was delayed two months because a couple of his push ups were not done correctly. He lost his stipend for that time and was unable to apply for summer programs which were only open to "contracted" cadets.

    The other advice I would give as a dad of an AROTC MS IV: Get behind in your classes at your own peril. College isn't HS. Professors don't care at all about your other commitments. For those who believed that a STEM major would grease the application wheels, you better know your calculus. If you don't go in prepared, you'll find out what it feels like to be whacked in the lips with a cricket bat.
     
  20. runslikeajohndeere

    runslikeajohndeere Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2012
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    8
    Congratulations to scholarship winners! You're a promising candidate for the rank of officer. Many soldiers will need your leaderships, so be prepared to lead.
    Don't forget some basic skills that will impact your future. Communication and attitude are key, and if you don't have these qualities, you'll be fortunate to branch. Your career choices will partially hinge on your physical fitness, leadership and military knowledge/skills. Ask yourself where you want to be stationed? Ask yourself how you want soldiers to respond to your leadership? Ask yourself how the cadre see you? One cadre member here will advise you to work hard one (and every) day at a time, but don't forget to plan for the future.

    DS has many stories of cadets that do not make it. He has seen a few fail in just one and a half years. There seems to be even less forgiveness than there may have been in the past. Leaders learn, yet leaders don't make no brainer decisions that impact the Army's role.

    Congrats!
     

Share This Page