Freshman NROTC Help! Advice

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by emac917, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. emac917

    emac917 New Member

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    I just finished my first semester as a female NROTC Marine Option. Upon reflection that was probably the hardest and most miserable three months of my life. Going into the program I new it wasn't going to be a cakewalk but I really did not expect that much emotional stress and anxiety and to hate my life.
    Being one of only two female Marine Options is definitely difficult both physically and mentally. The other female MO agrees that it is hard and to quote her "it sucks" but she is a lot better of than I am (she's a sophomore by the way). She can keep up better with the guys and finish the humps a lot easier and I on the other hand struggle with the hikes and the runs. The girl who dropped last year had the same problems too. Also, the demanding schedule and added stresses of an ROTC student don't help much either.
    I am very worried about OCS. After doing research, my odds don't seem favorable. On average 60+% of the women who go to OCS fail. That is a daunting statistic when over $100,000 is on the line. I am a believer though that anyone can do almost anything if they are willing to work hard enough but it still just seems like a huge gamble. I'd hate to work hard for three years to end up failing and being financially ruined and sometimes I'm not sure if I want it that bad because it seems like such a long hard commitment and I don't know if the Marine Corps is right for me and I haven't though much about what I'd want to do in the corps anyway.
    Don't get me wrong I want to serve others and have an infinite amount of respect for those who are in the armed forces but for me and my aspirations it doesn't have to be military/USMC my motivation to do ROTC was that I thought it would be a rewarding experience and pretty darn cool to be a Marine Officer. On another note, I want to become a teacher when all is said and done and that is in my book a great form of service. I just need advice and council on what I should do. I have three choices. 1) stick with it 2) see if becoming a Navy Option is possible because after experiencing the 'Navy' through NROTC it does interest me a bit. Let's just say I was 'SWOtivated' 3) drop and transfer and be normal.
    My biggest problem though is that I don't have full support from my parents if I drop. They really want me to stay but all they see is the money and benefits and they don't seem to care that much about my happiness and following a career path that is right for me and gives me fulfillment. My mom is pretty cool with switching but my Dad being a proud USMC Vietnam vet is not so convinced though he would prefer it to dropping. I'd just have to be called a squid for the rest of my life.
    I would really like some help with my decision from someone whose been through it and I'm also not sure how switching to Navy Option would work either. So if you have any answers tips or advice please respond.
    Sorry this was so long but this has been giving me so much stress recently and I feel like I have no one to talk to that really understands and can help me. I really just want to be happy again and feel like I'm in the right place.
    Thank You,
    An overwhelmed, confused, and conflicted midshipman
     
  2. emac917

    emac917 New Member

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    P.S.

    I don't want this to deter anyone who is considering ROTC from going for it. It can great experience and I know a lot of people who are really satisfied with what they are doing even though it can be really trying at times. So if it is your dream to serve your country and become an officer go for it!
     
  3. sancontoa

    sancontoa Member

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    I started off in AFROTC and switched after one year to army ROTC because even though I know I wanted to serve I descovered the air force was not right for me. My former AF vetnam vet father won't talk to me for a week but today he says the day he pinned on my 2LT army rank was the proudest day of his life, believe me your father will get over it. It sounds like you know the marine corps is not for you and that's okay, each service has their own personalities and you just need to find the one that fits for you. I would suggest doing PT with the army, navy, and air force units at your school and getting a taste of the different cultures, if your shy about admitting you want to switch you can just say you wanted an extra workout, or if your not ask if you can shadow the other service's labs (they're probably a different time then yours). This will give you a better idea of if its the marine corps thats not for you or ROTC in general, and you may descove you love one of the other-services. With army ROTC you cam go directly into the reserves after commissioning and do your service time well also getting your teaching degree, which is what it sounds like you want to do. Remember at the end of the day you're going to be spending at least 3 years in the military if you stay in and if your miserable now its not going to get any better, make sure this is really what you want to do now before you have a committment and please don't worry about what your parents will think when making that decision.

    Also on a side note I compeletely understand the frustrations of being a female in the military, however saying that you're likely to flunk out because you're a female is a horrible attitude to have. If you think you'll fail something that is three years away, then you will regardless of if your male or female. That's my two cents.
     
  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    emac917: I am not going to try to talk you into staying or leaving but I am going to challenge you to get your head on straight.

    Your post is all over the place. It reflects the "overwhelmed, confused and conflicted" position that you cite. Don't start falling back on excuses like being a female, perceived graduation rates, difficult physical standards, your parents, etc. You need an attitude adjustment. Hopefully the act of posting made you feel better. Now it is time to gather yourself up and look at your situation honestly.

    You were selected for this scholarship based on your academic performance, extracurricular activities, application essays, an interview and a physical fitness test. The Marines felt you had the potential to succeed based on those items. Don't start second guessing yourself based on one semester. And don't start making excuses to justify your position.

    You have experienced one semester of NROTC. It was an introduction and your cadre probably wanted to shock the freshmen and make it tough. But ROTC on a college campus is not a good indication of what the "real" Marine or Navy world is really like. This summer, you will get a better feel about the Navy and Marine Corps during your summer cruise. The Marines, in particular, will give you a feel for what life in the USMC is all about. You have until the first day of your Sophomore year to decide if this is the right path for you.

    Whatever you decide to do, the first step is to check your emotions, organize your thoughts, and be honest with yourself.
     
  5. VMI82

    VMI82 Room 131

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    +1

    +1 usmcgrunt
     
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1 to usmcgrunt... as usual... but this time he really hit the nail on the head. As he points out you have another semester to make a decision. You're good until you actually begin your sophomore year.

    I have absolutely no doubt it's tough as a woman, and especially as one of only two women. DS's unit has plenty of women but only 2, in his year group, who are Marine options. Yet they thrive. I think one problem your facing is measuring yourself by the wrong standard. 1. You're comparing yourself to another woman who has an additional year of experience over you. 2. Your comparing your performance to the males. There is a reason there are two different sets of PFT requirements, one for females and one for males. Although I've no doubt you can improve your physical performance over time, in many activities you will not keep up with the men - so don't measure yourself against them. Set your own goals and improve your performance. Compete against yourself, not the men. You'll be much happier.

    Ask your cadre for info on switching to Navy. Of course you already know the math and science requirements. Can you meet them? Your Naval Science requirements won't diverge until next year as I recall so you have plenty of time to address this if its an option you want to explore.

    I hope you're leaning on the other women in your unit regardless of their option and are including them among your friends. They can help, and specifically they can help you maintain a positive attitude.

    Finally, it's your first semester of freshman year. It's pretty much meant to suck. Depending on how your unit is run you might start getting your first billets and some responsibility this upcoming semester. That's when you start seeing a payoff and perhaps getting some satisfaction out of the program.

    You completed the toughest semester. You should be proud of yourself. You've accomplished a lot. Rome wasn't built in a day and your physical performance won't be changed in a very short time either. It takes work and dedication but can be done. Many women survive and thrive in the Marine Corps. Although I didn't include them in the above counts, DS's unit has a few female MECEPS. If that isn't an indication that females can thrive in the Marine Corps I don't know what is. You can thrive too if you put your mind to it and don't let yourself get overwhelmed by what the guys can accomplish and you can't. It's a head game, so use yours.
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Delay on female pullup requirement

    And to help make my point here's an article on USMC delaying the requirement for females to do 3 pullups as part of the PFT:

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-boland/female-marines-not-required-do-1-pull

    Be sure to read through to the end. And here's a very brief article on helping females to succeed at OCS.

    http://officercandidatesschool.com/blog/2011/04/14/usmc-ocs-female-candidates/

    Again, read through to the end for the comment on being well rounded. It's not always the PT studs who succeed. And in the meantime there are some tips you can use to improve your current performance. I would also add to make sure you're getting plenty of calcium for those load bearing bones.

    My DS hit some snags his freshman year that he could have used as a reason to quit. He was just a college programmer so money was not an issue. I don't know if it was the wrestler in him or what, but when he got knocked down he got back up and charged in again. Attitude is not a male//female issue. Go for it and reassess at the end of the second semester. :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  8. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    Also, I wanted to challenge your assertion that the female failure rate at OCS of 60% is valid. I did a very quick search and found data to the contrary. I couldn't find one specifically applying to NROTC students - most apply to all OCS candidates and they include the PLC candidates. I think the NROTC success rate would be much higher.

    But honestly, percentages don't matter here. The only data point that is relavent is you.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    This is just a Mom of 3 kids that have been freshman in college. They all chose different paths, but all of them will tell you that fall semester freshman yr is probably the hardest yr.

    All 3 could not wait as srs. in hs to get on with life, fly the coop, and go to college. All 3, at one point their freshman yr. realized that they had created a dream of what life would be like that did not exist in reality. They missed home more than they thought, the classes were harder than they thought (yes, they were the AP, all A's and B's their entire life), and that the cliques in HS also existed in college.

    It was by the end of their spring semester that it changed, where they found their footing.

    Your folks may seem not to be supporting you, and I am pretty sure my kids thought that of us too at the time, but the fact is they too were once your age. They too recall that freshmen year.

    If you look back on some of the SA threads, I know there are a couple in Sept on USNA, where a poster wanted to leave. The posters, some mids. some parents, some alum told them it sucks, but stick it out.

    They gave their own anecdotal stories of how they too were in the same place, and their folks forced them to stay until the end of the yr. The majority remained and went onto commission.
    ~ A close friend's ds at the AFA came home at Thanksgiving and informed his folks he wanted out. They gave the same advice...stay until the end of the yr., if at that point you want out, you have our support. He commissioned from the AFA.

    This semester is really about weeding out. Maybe it is the right path for you to leave, but it appears you still want to serve. As a parent, nearing 50, I will tell you one thing. You look back at your life and regret the what ifs. Leave the college costs out of the equation. Yes, you will now incur debt and loans, but you can still get that degree. 24/7 for 4-5 yrs is not worth the scholarship. However, in 10-15 yrs from now you can't get back that What IF I stayed?

    I will say my opinion would be different if you posted this in May after completing the full yr., because it would be a yr., and at that time you have gotten over the hump of getting accustomed to college, your major and ROTC.

    In closing, walk away from this site. Show your maturity and sit down with the folks, have an adult conversation. This is a family decision. They know you better than any of us here.
    ~~~ Your folks are going to love you no matter what, and they will get over the whiplash of you being on one path and doing a 180.
    ~~~~ In a few yrs you will see your relationship with the rents will change. We are no longer parent/authority, but parent/guidance/friend. At least I hope that is what will occur.

    Trust me as a Mom, it is not changing the course, it is being blindsided by the change of course.

    Best thoughts.

    PS If you do have this conversation, and there is still a point of stress for you, ask them to lurk on this site. They may see it differently just by being a lurker here, especially regarding the stress the cadets feel while in college.
     
  10. ABF

    ABF Member

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    emac917,
    In all my years as an AROTC Cadet and later as an officer in the worlds finest Army, there were a few things I learned... and I'm confident they hold true today.

    First, if you ALWAYS put forth your best effort, all the time, your branch of service won't let you fail. If you never give up, they won't give up on making you a good officer. Commitment and fortitude will get you there. (But, if you aren't truly giving it your all, chances are, they'll let you die on the vine.) Second, and I've said this many times... you need to be "All in, all the time" when you are running in the pack of those seeking to lead America's warriors. If you can't / or won't give that kind of effort and commitment, or if you treat the military as merely a "tuition assistance plan", you will not succeed.

    Serving as a company grade officer will be the hardest, most demanding job you'll ever have. If you heart isn't very much so in it, you'll be miserable and your troops will be the ones that suffer. (Believe me when I tell you that your subordinates deserve a fantastic leader. If you don't think you will be just that, reconsider your decisions now.)

    Lastly, follow your heart. It knows the way.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    emac,

    I forgot to say, I believe the poster TPG, has a daughter in the Marines now. She commissioned only in 2012 from UVA ROTC, if I recall correctly she was sent either directly to law school or for a Masters. He may be the best source to go to as a parent of a female MO ROTC cadet.
     
  12. USMC_Ordie

    USMC_Ordie Member

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    Emac917,
    As a Marine, I agree. Its probably a little tougher being a female in a huge fraternity like the corps. Its not easy. Some of the days are long and just plain suck. But I would absolutely do it again. Its not for everybody, and its a hard choice to quit anything. If the decision to quit is not easy....that is saying something in itself. Good luck, rest assured that you will make the right choice for you.

    USMC VETERAN
    DS Nominated to USAFA & USNA (and 3q'd)
    Accepted to UT Austin & Texas A&M - Aerospace Engineering Major
     
  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    emac,

    I am a former female Marine Officer. I attended USNA, not ROTC, so I cannot speak of my experience with an ROTC unit or attending OCS. I did do a stint on TAD helping out at OCS and also one of my best buds was a Company Commander there, so its not totally foreign to me. The bottom line... is this something you want to do? Do you want to be a Marine Officer? If that still something you are set on then you will figure out how to make it through. I will not ask in a public forum what kind of PFT you are running, but will PM you and see if you are on track. The OSO at your unit really knows how to prepare you for OCS, trust them, listen to them. As numbers cut more and more in the USMC, yes OCS will get tougher. But that doesn't make it impossible, especially if you are ready for the challenge. The Marine Corps is a very male dominated testosterone filled world. My room mates at TBS were both ROTC grads and struggled with this change. Coming from USNA, it was second nature. Some women have an easier time adapting to it than others. Physically, I did not find TBS all that physically or academically demanding. I am a horrible runner, so that always challenged me. I can hike with as a heavy a pack as they want for days on end, no issue. At TBS they are teaching you how to properly conduct a hike with your Marines, so its not necessarily a lets see who falls out evolution. Some of your leadership might be a little over zealous on hikes, the Marine Corps taught us to push the troops 3 miles per hour, 10 minute break and keep going (not sure if this has changed). This was standard in all my units.

    I would at least see how this semester goes. That first semester at any school is hard. New school, friends, harder classes, ROTC on top of that. See if you can get in a swing of things better this semester and assess your desire to serve and lead at that point.
     

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