ROTC Cadet Seeking Advice

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by JPuck98, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. JPuck98

    JPuck98 New Member

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    I'm a sophomore who joined ROTC during the fall. I struggled with PT in terms of my run but knocked six minutes off my run time for the last APFT. However, on our fall term FTX I got a severe concussion and could not participate in PT for the last 3 weeks of the term. Over winter break I worked incredibly hard to keep myself motivated and running so as not to be too terribly behind when we got back to campus for the next term. Unfortunately, it seems to have been to no avail.

    Since I've been back I've fallen out of a company run and have essentially been told that I'm wasting my time with the program because I won't get my run time down to passing before the beginning of my MSIII year (I'm about 3 minutes away from passing). After two absolutely abysmal weeks of a new term I'm strongly considering dropping the program. In addition to my poor PT performance I have been unable to fully recover from my head injury and am seriously wondering if I should just cut my losses and move on.

    Though the idea of becoming an Army officer was a career dream I arrived at relatively late I was fully committed and dedicated to the program. But it appears to me now that perhaps I am truly not meeting the Army standard and won't be able to, thus wasting my cadre's time.

    I suppose I was just wondering if anyone had any insight or advice. I don't really know where to go or where to turn and I'd be grateful for any info that could be provided.

    Thank - you.
     
  2. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    Just asking for a little bit of clarification, but what do you mean by severe concussion? How did this come about? Was their any significant hematoma/bleed, coma/loss of conciousness, or CSF leaking? Are your academics suffering as well? The reason I ask is that in order to get contracted you will need to pass a DoDMERB physical and I assume since you joined in the Fall you are not already a contracted cadet. I myself suffered a concussion during athletics in high school and was eventually granted a waiver so it is possible to be cleared (albeit my concussion wasn't that severe).

    If you feel like you still have something to give, keep at it. Don't let anyone else say you are wasting your time because at the end of the day you can say that you gave it your best. Regret is truly a painful thing. Although this PT situation may seem like a setback I have seen quite a few guys overcome 3-4 minute run deficits. Remember, no one said becoming an Army officer was easy.

    Good luck

    Edit: I would get yourself better before continuing with anything ROTC related. Your health is greater than a commission.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  3. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    3 min is doable, you aren't hopeless since it sounds like you were with the group before your head injury.

    For your run the best training I would say is to work at sprinting (on a track or road). You are in college so finding time on the track is doable. Do sprints on the straights of the track as fast as you, do about 10 (more if you can handle it). Sprints every other day resting in between. If your PT is in the afternoon try doing the sprints at night so you aren't tired for ROTC. With your sprint workouts, you should see your times or at least staying with the pack getting easier if you keep doing it. Time your sprints on your phone, enter them in a spreadsheet at the end of the day for motivation. Good luck!

    Not sure if your guy/gal but the plan works for both.
     
  4. JPuck98

    JPuck98 New Member

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    There was a brain bleed. And the loss of consciousness was about two days after. I've been dealing with PCS/vertigo syndrome ever since and it was two months ago. So there's also the issue of eventually getting disqualified if I do get my run time down.

    I know that the road to becoming an officer is significantly less than easy, and working hard is not something of which I am afraid. I'm just concerned that the best I'm giving isn't perceived as good enough.
     
  5. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    J, getting concuss is serious. Not sure what happened if it was a huge hit or a minor issue. Hope you at least chilled that day and a few days afterward in your room or bed if it was just a minor issue. Quiet time.

    The Army officer at your unit wouldn't be too worried if you are good at everything else, 3 min you can pull up if you are serious on getting better and working on a weekly plan (sprint hard every other day).

    Addendum (after your post ^^). Maybe go to your college health center just to see what they say about the time frame and running again. Tell them your plan to do the sprints every other day and ask them about the ROTC PT/activity you do. Your ROTC commander shouldn't have a problem/get mad. Whats done is done, you got a concuss and know you need to recover fully before getting back into the grind. 3 minutes is doable though when the dr. gives you the ok. Good luck!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  6. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    So many issues, so many details to look at...

    1) The most important issue - the concussion. Did a doctor clear you for running? It seems strange that you are still struggling with side effects from the concussion and yet still be doing running. Your brain health is more important than any ROTC participation. If you don't get the concussion issue settled, you will not commission anyway. DoDMERB will not clear you.

    2) Once you have the concussion issue cleared up medically, who is telling you that you are wasting your time? Cadre or cadets? It is the cadre's opinion that counts. This may be folks who do not see you giving maximum effort (falling out of PT) possibly due to the fact that you are struggling with the concussion. You need to discuss your medical situation with your cadre and if you cannot "run" due to medical , you cannot run. That being said, you need to work on what you can - labs, studies, exercise that you are medically cleared to do.

    3) Running. Several things go into getting that right. Obviously the concussion, but beyond that , is there something else that is keeping you from making time? Are you at proper weight? Do you have a breathing issue? You can work on the weight regardless of the exercise status. The bad news is that the "minimum" is not really the minimum for many units. If you are excelling in everything else, you can get by temporarily on the "minimum", but that too has to improve. Are you sure you can exceed that "minimum"?

    Lots of tough questions...
     
  7. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    goaliedad's comments above are excellent and should be taken to heart. Your health is the most important thing here. If you are still having issues discuss them with a doctor and be sure you're still cleared to run even with the vertigo. There may be more going on and the vertigo and difficulty running may only be a symptom of it.

    If you are cleared to run then make sure the cadre understands the issues you are having if you haven't discussed it with them yet.

    Finally, if/when all is OK, I certainly wouldn't let others perceptions drive you from the program. Others perceptions don't matter. Your own self-perception does. If you have more to give then go for it. I'd even say go right up to the end of the semester if need be. Not making the grade (at the end of the semester) after giving it your all is different from quitting (now). Do what you can to make the grade within the guidelines set out by a doctor. When you are convinced you can't do it then its OK to declare it out of reach... with your head held high for the all out effort you gave it. :thumb:

    BTW, if you are cleared to run and you're successful in your efforts you will gain a new respect within the unit. You will also be a better officer for the experience.
     
  8. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Your biggest problem?

    The word "quit". Don't let it ever creep into your mind. Are you going to let someone else define you? How bad do you want it? You said it was your dream. Prove it.

    3 minutes from passing is big. I'm not going to lie, that's far out, but nobody said it was impossible. People are going to try and tell you things from now until eternity. Are you going to prove them right or wrong? That's all on you.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  9. SoleTrain

    SoleTrain Must be the Kicks

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    Nail on the head right here. When I first joined ROTC everyone tried to tell me I wasn't built for it (freakin ROTC for crying out loud). You gotta shut out the doubt and keep working at it.

    As for running, 3 minutes off 2 miles is a big chunk, but it's entirely possible. My first ever mile in HS I ran an 11:10. After a season of track I was down to 5:45. At the inexperienced level of running, minutes shave up pretty quickly. You just need to do more interval training (400M repeats as hard as you can with 60 second breaks in between) with distance runs every other day (try to do 3 miles).

    Don't let something as small as the PFA/APFT/whatever stop from you reaching this dream if it's what you want more than anything.
     
  10. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I think there is a pattern emerging here.

    Thanks TPG for pointing out the medical help with his specific issue. There is no shame in seeking out the proper help to deal with injury. So many young folks have that mindset that they can tough it out on their own. It isn't a choice of work hard or smart, it is BOTH. Use the resources that are available to help you deal with your injury.

    And although he doesn't talk about it much, TPG has faced bigger challenges than vertigo. His success in dealing with those issues has also been due to his willingness to use the medical resources available. And you won't find a tougher guy on these forums.
     
  11. JPuck98

    JPuck98 New Member

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    First and foremost I wanted to thank you all for your advice and insight.

    I went home to visit my primary care physician after passing out in my dorm room and he told me I wasn't medically cleared to do PT until he re-evaluates me during the first week of February. So I told my c/COC and ultimately a cadre member (our training NCO) told me that I "needed to find something else" to do with my life. So it doesn't seem like ROTC is going to work out for me. At any rate, this will at least give me the opportunity to completely recover from my head injury and re-evaluate my goals and plans.

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply though, I really appreciate(d) the encouragement and tips.
     
  12. jbsail

    jbsail Member

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    Puck, Thumbs up for going to the doctor. Good job.

    If you want to serve, I wouldn't worry to much what your cadre thinks. Just make sure you get your body right. The head is like a knee or foot injury, it takes time to heal if injured. Easier to get rest from a foot or knee injury than your head. Take it easy till your next appt with the doctor, take up putt putt golf rather than a rage, basketball, or a epic video game. Good luck.
     
  13. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Thanks for the update JPuck. You're taking the proper course. I'm disappointed the hear of the cadre's reaction but it isn't over until you or they say its over. And if ROTC doesn't pan out, when your healed and have completed your education there is always OCS if you still want to serve.
     

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