ROTC cadet community: a good foundation for social life and support?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by educateme, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. educateme

    educateme Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    0
    My son is finalizing on his college application list and also a list of school of intent. One thing we discussed is the atmosphere of each school. Some of the schools that he was considering were described as very Greek where it is said that unless one joins a frat or a part of an athletic team, it takes a while to find a group or friends you feel comfortable with. My son is not really keen on frats and such (not against it, may join, but more likely not). He is not likely to be a member of a sports team either.

    I told him that a ROTC battalion, especially if it is on the campus of the school he is going to (not a cross town affiliate school), may provide almost instant support group or cohesive community that provides camaraderie, support, and encouragement.

    I was just guessing that might be the case. Was I more or less on the mark? If so, this is one kind of "fit" he may have more leeway than the general population of kids who are choosing colleges that would provide a good fit on multiple dimensions.....
     
  2. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes Received:
    35
    Working on limited experience, I think you will find your son finds his social network based upon what he spends his time doing.

    With goaliegirl, she has spent much of her non-class time with the hockey team during pre-season captain's practices. Many team members tend to socialize together off-ice as well (dinner together, movies, play lax on club team), giving her plenty of opportunities to integrate with them.

    ROTC has been a bit slower getting off the ground socially, but with Field Exercises this weekend, I'll be interested to see how much closer she bonds to them. It has been a bit more challenging to bond so far as she has been excused from morning PT which is scheduled at the same time as hockey practice. It is a small unit, but from what she tells me, they seem to be people she can identify with, so I think she'll be a lot closer to them when I talk to her next Sunday evening.

    If your son really gets into the various activities the unit does, he will not need a fraternity or sports team for a social circle. Doing things you really enjoy with people of similar interest always fills those non-academic hours.
     
  3. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,699
    Likes Received:
    451
    At Clarkson cadets are assigned to a squad, and a mentor family tree. We build that familial relationship right from the start. The mentors (MS IVs just back from camp) meet regularly with their family tree and discuss things like academic success (or the cautionary tales of "not so successful"), and ROTC success. They talk to them about the accessions process and branching. They also monitor their academic progress, making sure they get help if they need it.

    I would tell you that not all of them take advantage of this support group. Some cadets find their home outside the ROTC support network. That is fine. We don't expect every cadet to immerse themselves in what we have to offer, in fact we discourage the student who wants to major in ROTC. Our cadets are football players, fraternity members, hold student government positions, or are members of the outdoors club.

    Can't hurt for your son to take ROTC and see where it leads.
     
  4. The OC Josh

    The OC Josh Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just another perspective...

    Yes and no. :shake:
    Yes:The ROTC people know what you're going through. The shared experiences make it easier to build relationships. Especially after things like NCE or FTX. You get to know people better. Pima mentioned in another thread that her son got community from ROTC because other college students just didn't understand what he had to balance. A group of Seniors at my battalion live in a college house together and it's not unusual to see other upperclassmen and sophomores together. Sometimes it's as simple as going to dinner together with the other MSIs after lab and before actual classes.

    No:It doesn't have to be that way. There are a couple guys on the football team who we only see once a week a class. They get excused from PT, FTX and labs... Consequently, they are as connected with the rest of us. Also, in my residence hall we have floors(duh) but this is where I've met most of the people I hang out with. We also have a sister floor which gives us a way to meet females. Right now, I hang out with mostly my floor guys and girls from my sister floor plus whoever else I've met.

    Hope that gives you a little insight?

    PS-My roommate is ROTC too. After hearing horror stories, this is risky. But it has worked out so well so far!
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    As a freshman, our DS really hung more with the guys in his dorm than the det. As a sophomore it changed. He pledged Arnie Air (a military fraternity) and because of that he started hanging more with ROTC than his college friends. As a jr he is living off campus with ROTC cadets. He still socializes with his college friends, but now he is more involved with ROTC.

    His college has a huge Greek life, but even if he had not gone ROTC, that is not our DS, so I wouldn't place that into the equation.

    Ar our DS det they have GMC night every week. For the AF that is the = to freshman and sophs. They get together and just hang out in the det. order pizza, play foosball or crud.

    It really is about the det. This is also another reason I suggest to candidates to visit the det and talk to the cadets. For example as if they have military fraternities. For our DS's det they have 3 different military fraternities that the cadets can join. Not everyone does, but it still gives your DS more options for creating that bond.
     
  6. DougBetsy

    DougBetsy Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    My son is a freshman (MSI) in AROTC. He seems to be bonding 2/3 with his dormmates and 1/3 with ROTC. However, like goaliegirl, he had FTX this past weekend. So maybe he has made some new friends in the battalion.

    In rotc he has participated in some optional activities (color guard and a trip to Charlotte drag strip), which surprised me. OTOH, in the beginning he said he wasn't joining the other cadets for breakfast after PT. So, while he seems to be into it, he's not ALL into it. KWIM?

    So far his social life is mostly with the boys on his floor. Rafting, carnivals, parties, etc. Before school started he said he might like to join a frat, too. I'll have ask about that when we see him on Friday for family weekend. I wonder if he's still interested. It's a spring rush, so he has time to decide. I believe several cadets are Greek. His college has a strong Greek life.
     
  7. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    I also think it needs to be noted how hard core ROTC your child is regarding their lifestyles.

    There are cadets who want to make the military their career, but still want to be kids, thus, ROTC is the perfect blend for them.

    There are cadets who want to go into the military tomorrow, but know they need the college degree, again a perfect blend, but from the opposite ends of the view.

    Dets will have both of these types of cadets. As I stated earlier at our DS's campus there are 3 military fraternities, and even their members reflect that idea. One is really all military...the ROTC cadets that wear those pretty shiny helmets and drill. The other is really social tied to ROTC, only ROTC members can pledge...and yes, they pledge, during that time they carry a pledge book, and must know a myriad of ROTC and AF information. The third actually started off as a military sorority, but has warped into the least military fraternity, where it really is social and community. You can tell who is in what fraternity by the color of the forge on their shoulders. I would say probably 75% of the upper classmen are in one of these 3.

    The side note is you can also see the clique issue within the fraternities since many of them have cadets who want particular career fields. AT least that is true for our DS's det.
     
  8. Centhea

    Centhea Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our DS is at a cross-town affiliate NROTC unit. His affiliate has a pretty large group, so they hang together a lot. They usually go out to dinner on Fridays, they work together for home football games (stadium seating), of course they do PT together and often eat dinner together after PT. There is a sense of family because the upperclassmen are a lot like older siblings...advising, assisting, enforcing standards, coaching, chiding, etc. lol. They also ride together to class and drill so they learn to rely on each other a lot.

    DS is a serious introvert at a big state school. His unit is his extended family. He is also in a small specialized major, so he has found a support group there. And he has been very lucky with roommates so they are also his hang-out buddies/friends.

    Pima does a very good job of expressing how it is different for different kids. I went through ROTC many years ago at a small, residential liberal arts college (in fact I was the first female four-year Army ROTC scholarship student there). The ROTC unit was my group of friends, but there were kids in frats and sports whom we saw rarely. The big integrating activity for us was going to ROTC Advanced Camp...that was where we all made the switch to being able to see ourselves as Army officers instead of just college kids. Thirty years later...it's amazing to me that my ROTC buddies and I still stay in touch. :thumb:
     
  9. kmaidaho

    kmaidaho Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    DS is part of NROTC at a college that has a huge Greek population. Much to my brother's dismay (he is STILL an active alum in his frat), DS is in the dorms. He reports that there are only a handful of individuals in the unit who are in fraternities or sororities.

    He has absolutely found a "home" in the unit. Love, love, loves it! He also has the potential for other "family" connections within the Honors Program and also through our faith (the only on-campus church). The only people he talks about though are the people in his unit.

    Kat
     
  10. CronusMom

    CronusMom Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    0
    As others have said, much will have to do with the detachment. I believe on-campus vs. cross-town would make a difference from a bonding standpoint. Our son is in the Corps of Cadets at VT/Navy ROTC. He lives with the cadets, eats with cadets, and studies with cadets. He's a social guy so he has made friends outside the Corps, but I know that his foundation/family are the kids that he's with the majority of the time, and that togetherness is a big reason VT was his top choice from the start of the app process.
     
  11. b.morales99

    b.morales99 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2010
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had my ROTC during my schooling.
    I know I learned many things, including discipline that I use on my day to day living.
     

Share This Page