Rising sophomore thinking about AFROTC, but...

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Aomame, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. Aomame

    Aomame Wish I knew what to do!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    ..I would be lying if I said I had my reservations.

    Howdy y'all. First I want to preface this by saying that I'm currently awaiting an e-mail from the detachment, so hopefully they will have some specific answers for some of my questions. I also apologize if I'm jumping around a lot.

    Anyways, like the title says, I'm going to be a sophomore this fall and I'm seriously thinking about the crosstown AFROTC program near me. For some background, I spent 4 years in AFJROTC, was group and drill commander, had some of the best (and worst) times of my life - wouldnt've changed a damn thing. I was originally planning to be a nurse and wanted to commission through AFROTC, but I ultimately decided on education and walked away from the thought of ROTC with the logic of "well, if I want to be a teacher, joining the Air Force doesn't make much sense". It is also worth noting that my education program is a 4+1 program, meaning I continue on to another year of grad school (but this program doesn't start until junior year). It's not the only reason why I picked my school, but it's a large factor in that decision.

    Fast forward a year. I'm looking at almost 90k in debt for 5 years of school (believe it or not, my best option - much less debt if I only did 4 years), and while my education field (English as a Second Language) is in-demand and the salary is good if I get a FT job, I'm still worried. I've also felt like I was missing something in my first year of school - I threw myself into nearly every extracurricular known to man (didn't have time in HS, heh), started a club, got some leadership positions - but it didn't feel the same or like I was really gaining much. At the same time, one of my girlfriends is angling to commission into the Army Nurse Corps and as we talk when she's in uniform I start hardcore nostalgia tripping. Long story short: I miss ROTC.

    So I started Googling and doing my own research after checking out the local detachment's website, and on this forum I found out about the new Total Force Commissioning Process. Now, I'm suddenly not so excited for obvious reasons.

    The hardest part about writing this post is that we're about to jump off a ledge into a world of unknowns. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I'm in awful physical shape despite being 5'0-5'1 and 115-120lbs (and if you were wondering, yes I am female). The freshman 15 hit me hard but I was always an absolute embarrassment at PT to begin with. I have wanted to get in shape and work towards something for a while and passing the PFT would be a great goal to work towards. I am not eligible for nor interested in a scholarship (my financial aid at school covers everything save room and board), so I don't have to commit until the end of this upcoming year and I don't have to pass the PFT on my first try.

    However, as a history and ESL education major I am damn stumped and I suspect that getting a commission as one would be near impossible (esp since I'd be joining as a 200 with awful PFT scores). If I had my way I would switch to being an int'l relations major with a major/minor in history, which would allow me to pick concentrations such as East Asian Studies or Global Security. I was not the best student at it but I've been studying Spanish since I was 7 and I've finished the 5-semester requirement at my school in just 2 (though since I have a 3.6 it just dragged my GPA down). Ergo, I have enough time to study and finish any language at my school - I could pick Japanese, Arabic, or Chinese if they fit into my schedule. I have no idea if I'd be good at any languages or not, but I like to think that I would put the effort in.

    I have always been interested in intelligence (growing up, my dream career: defense contracting for the DoD) and while there aren't many openings I've heard that linguists are always in demand. And of course, we have no idea what FY17 will look like for the Air Force...so what would be the point if nothing is set in stone? I would be lying if I said job security was one of the reasons why I'm attracted to ROTC (however, it is not the only reason).

    At this point, I'm waiting for more info from the detachment, and after that I will be talking to the advising office at my school. I am also going to start hitting the track, bike, and pool to get in shape - not just for the PFT, but for me, I think. I think my best plan is to try ROTC this year, which would allow me to stay on track to finish my 4+1 program in time if things don't work out AND give me room to switch majors if necessary (due to clever course planning I am "ahead" on a potential int'l relations major). If anyone has any insight or encouragement, it would be appreciated.

    And if it matters, my parents are somewhat supportive - my dad says "go for it", especially if I don't have to commit for a year, but my mother is distressed that I am thinking of deviating from my "path" (ESL edu) that she thinks will lead to definite success, especially since AFROTC is looking pretty dicey right now. Honestly, there is a growing part of me that wished I had become an IR major anyways - my best friend joked I would be an IR major by the end of freshman year, and there have been a few times where I've seriously considered calling my advisor and saying "I want to be an IR major". However, that would put me in a rough financial position as a new grad with 60k-90k in debt in a field that's about who you know and pays just as little as education (I need to do some research and ask my IR major friends, though). I admit that I get very anxious and ahead of myself when it comes to planning my future, because I'm a first gen student. That doesn't have much to do with AFROTC, but yeah.

    Thanks for listening y'all, and have a wonderful Air Force day! (as my instructors used to say)
     
  2. aglages

    aglages Parent

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,680
    Likes Received:
    4
    With the current state of affairs in AFROTC (AF commissioning in general) it is difficult for me to recommend any course of action for anyone....and that includes tech majors and someone majoring in a strategic foreign language. If your current college major is something you are passionate/interested ....I would not change it just to increase your chances of being selected for SFT and eventually commissioning. I think the following plan might be best:
    Good luck! :thumb:
     
  3. Aomame

    Aomame Wish I knew what to do!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the reply! I figured as much. Guess I'm on this rollercoaster and I'll just have to see where it goes!

    Unfortunately I am not able to major in any specific language, just int'l studies (with a required focus on a region or a theme like security, development) plus a higher language requirement (that I have already completed). I will have to do more thinking on my backup major options since I cannot do education and int'l studies together...we shall see.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,797
    Likes Received:
    931
    I am not going to answer whether you should or you shouldn't, but instead give you another path option.
    ~ Either way you turn you will be 90k in debt because you won't have that AFROTC scholarship. Depending on your college you may get a discount on the bill, but that is an if they offer it. Plus, if you are not selected for SFT than you will most likely be disenrolled and that savings will go away too. A low PT is going to hurt you for selection and when I mean low I mean anything below a 94. That is added on top of the fact that you are non-tech asking for a non-rated slot.

    My DD was raised in an AF family, but never wanted to join. (Her Dad is a retired O5, her brother commissioned in 12).

    She is doing the 4+1 program. English major, with a Masters in education. Her college is paying for her grad degree and giving her 1600 a month in stipend, plus paying for her books. Her desire is to work for DOD in Europe, but will also accept a stateside assignment, preferably Quantico since it is down the road from us. She is also looking into the State Department schools.

    This allows her the beauty of both worlds, serving the country by teaching the children of military members.
    ~ Her essay for her fellowship was about how being a military brat and attending 9 schools, she has a unique perspective what military children endure as students.

    There are other ways to get that desire of serving besides in a uniform.
     
  5. Aomame

    Aomame Wish I knew what to do!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for the reply, Pima. My program is very similar to your daughter's, and while I don't know what the price will be, there likely aren't many funding options. If I were to teach (which I am still thinking is best - I talked to a couple of other people and I don't think i'll switch my major) I would absolutely consider DoDEA schools. I just know that it's very hard to get in as there aren't actually many teachers in that district. But I'm thinking it doesn't make sense to switch my major just to please the AF.

    I just fired off another e-mail to my college's advising office, hopefully they can get me the e-mail of the detachment (it's a crosstown agreement) and I can talk about my options. Thanks again for all your help.
     

Share This Page