What will be the most challenging part of AROTC?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by bungholio, May 30, 2012.

  1. bungholio

    bungholio New Member

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    I just graduated from high school, and have an AROTC scholarship to CU-Boulder. I want to know what the most challenging aspects will be, because some people I know quit ROTC last year because it was "hard". I ran cross country and track, and played basketball in high school, so I'm not at all worried about the fitness aspect. Should I be? Can anyone help me? What are the most challenging aspects?
     
  2. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    I wouldn't say anything in AROTC is neccesarily hard. You will encounter challenges. PT may be difficult somedays. An instructor may be tough. But I guarantee that if you show up willing to soak up knowledge and ready to work, ROTC will be great.

    Some say STX and tactics are hard, and sometimes it seems as such when you're a squad leader and people are looking to you for answers. ROTC is not designed to produce expert Infantry officers, or stellar FA officers, or officers of other branches right after graduation. ROTC is to get you to make a decision. You'll learn your job in BOLC, but the main goal for you in becoming a leader and Army officer is to make sound, confident decisions. Under pressure, at night, in many environments. Soldiers look to their leaders for what to do. They want to see leaders who are confident in the decisions they make to accomplish any mission.

    If you can embrace that, you'll be fine.
     
  3. AscoreD

    AscoreD Member

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    I know a lot of people quite due to their lack of commitment to being able to wake up early and make the requirements. We have something every morning whether it be PT or lab. Our PT sessions are at 0615-0715 and labs are 0630-0830, which helps prevent interference with any other classes. From there its up to them to be able to stay awake in class and go to bed at a responsible time, which is hard for a college student at times with many other distractions around. PT is hard at times, but as long as your willing to get a good workout at an early time, then your golden. Other than that, your classmates are always willing to help you with anything from land nav to basic tactics, it's about learning to use your resources.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Answer, as in most areas of life, is time management. If you can manage your time effectively you'll be fine.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    +1 to Kinnem's post.

    Many college kids are having their 1st real taste of freedom, and this can become an issue until they figure out how to manage their time. As AscoreD stated hanging out playing Xbox until midnight might not be smart when you have to be up at 4:30 for PT.

    Lack of sleep does not translate into high scores.

    The only thing I would say is that many posters believe they are physically fit, and did great on the PFA, however, the problem comes later on when they realize the adminstrator of the PFA did not follow the form, thus the cadets numbers change, sometimes drastically.

    The other issue is that most cadets do 1 of 2 things:
    1. Take the test on a perfect weather day to bump up their scores.
    ~~~ No rain, no snow, no humidity. PT tests are set for a specific day and weather is not placed into the equation unless it is considered dangerous to the cadets health. Rain is not dangerous, hurricane is.

    2. They take the summer off from training.
    ~~~ Afterall it is their "last" summer and due to the fact that they played sports yr round for 4 yrs in HS they feel they will be fine. Bodies bounce back at a young age, but it takes time.

    Take a few weeks off, but a few weeks prior to leaving for college be smart and start training. If you want to stay up until midnight watching Archer, go for it, but get up at 5 a.m. and do the entire workout as it will be administered. If the hottest point of the day is 4 p.m., mix that in too. CU-Boulder is a high elevation area, and I do not know if you are from that area, for posters moving to a different alt/temp zone, beware this will also have an impact on you until you acclimate to the area. Train for that transition. It may mean running longer distances at a faster pace.

    Good luck
     
  6. enived2

    enived2 Member

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    My DS just finished his first year at CU-Boulder. He is Marine Option NROTC. As Pima stated, the elevation is a huge issue for the Mids from sea level. We are from Colorado and DS trained during the summer in the mountains. He did fine on the PFT, but said it was a killer for kids not from high elevations. It is also a lot drier and hydration can become an issue.

    For my DS, having great time management skills was a huge advantage. It is difficult to tell friends that are not ROTC that you can't party with them or hang out all night playing video games, but it is a skill that you must master. Classes are hard and you must be prepared to dedicate more time outside of class than in for studying. Add in the commitments within the battalion, and free time becomes very precious.

    There will be struggles but keep in mind the battalion is there to help. Don't make the mistake of not using the resources they offer you. They want you to succeed. It is a lot of hard work, but is is also the best of times.

    Good Luck!
     
  7. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    I have a question. It says that we have to participate in 2 PTs per week. For my future det., PT is at 0600 on T and TH and at I think 1415 on M and W. I would like to attend all 4, but I know that that goal is rather ambitious considering the fact that I want to take up a language in addition to my Engineering major and may not be able to get the desired class time slots. I am just wondering, are you required to do the morning PTs and the evening ones are just extra ones or can you just pick whichever 2 out of the 4 that you want where it's possible that one would only ever go to evening PT and not morning PT, or vise versa?
     
  8. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    You'll need to talk to your cadre. I've only heard of AFROTC cadets getting a choice of PT (atleast for the AF cadets at my school). Army cadets will not get a choice, and if they do, it certainly won't be for 2 days a week.
     
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    DS in AFROTC had an option, but to get that option you had to MAX out. He maxed, and next semester(spring freshmen) his AFROTC job was PT FCC instructor.

    I am only saying this so posters and lurkers do not assume AFROTC cadets at every det can have an option. At his school, it was basically a 1X good deal.

    He commissioned last week, and 7 of his 8 semesters he was there no later than 5:30 a.m.

    Something to take into consideration which I am sure -Bull- will agree with me is that as you progress in ROTC, so will your duties, and you will need to carve out time for it. DS as a POC (jr) had to attend meetings, those meetings occurred before PT. He had to write and submit evaluations for cadets in his flight. He was also assigned cadets as a POC to mentor, on top of submitting his paperwork for his career field. In the end ROTC was 20+ hrs a week on a good week.

    This is why I said +1 to kinnem, time management, is going to be the key.

    Physically you can get your body to meet the max, but mentally and emotionally is a different realm. You will get it very quickly if you want to be in the military, if you don't get it, there is nothing wrong with that because it was not your path. You are 17, maybe 18, don't stress out on this.

    Do your best, give 100%, whatever way it falls, it falls; at least if you give it your all, you will never ask what if?

    That's what we all want for you. No what ifs.
     
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    +1. And all those additional duties apply to all the services. NROTC requires you to participate in at least one ROTC club. Additional duties could be short assignments as early as first semester (eg. write an article for the newsletter on Freshman Orientation). It could be something like squad leader as early as second semester which can be a time consuming job. Last semester, in addition to Naval Science classes, PT 3x, and labs, DS served as a squad leader, in Semper Fi club, Boat club (SEAL type training), Drill team, Drill meets, Field Training weekends, plus 2 additional workouts on his own each week (required of Marine Option midshipmen). And none of that includes cleaning up the stadium 07:00 Sunday after home football games - another NROTC requirement at the Gamecock Battalion. Things got so hectic he ended up dropping one of his academic classes (which he wasn't doing well in anyway - I don't know if that was a chicken or an egg thing). He also had some Senior level classes which were heavy on writing papers. Seems like whenever I called him on the phone it was always "I can't talk now Dad, got to run to xxxxx". He was pretty stressed 2nd semester of Freshman year, but he pulled it off. Further he had fun doing it (well maybe not all the time) and I'm sure managed to find time to hang with his buds.

    Time Management is the key. IMHO everything else flows from that. Sometimes that means you also have to know when to say "NO". Dont know if DS has learned that one yet though.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  11. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Well, I've seen the schedule for NROTC at U of San Diego, and mids are given a choice of two PT sessions out of 4 sessions offered... 2 am 2 pm. So it is possible that this Battalion will be large enought to be able to offer a choice of the two sessions in which a cadet must participate.

    There are other AROTC Battalions that have been written about here, that require 2 PT sessions per week, with 3 or 4 if the Cadet is below the 80% line in the PFT score.

    There are other AROTC Battalions that have PT 2x per week, and Ranger Challenge PT training another 2x per week for a total of 4x per week.

    Every Battalion will be different.
     
  12. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    You're exactly right, PIMA. Additional duties. Those drill hall floors don't clean themselves, MSI's do. There are always things to be done, and MSI's and II's seem to always be around at the right times for those duties.

    Once you hit MSIII and IV year, you get hit with positions (besides those that are within the I and II classes). MSIII's are always being rotated through as STX squad leaders or garrison PL's and PSG's or the 1SG and CO and other positions to get them prepared for LDAC. Those OPORD's don't write themselves and it takes planning and weapon prep to prepare for STX training. MSIV's serve in every other position from assistant S-1 to an MS TAC. You may be an MSIV and think you can relax and coast to graduation, but if you're an MSIII TAC (assisting the III Instructor and Training NCO) you do everything with the MSIII's. That includes PT and if any of the III's are on 5 day, so are you. You have to write evaluation cards and go to their classes and labs. The BC and CSM go to all staff meetings which takes time. Bottom line, you will be busy, it's just all about how you balance your workload.

    They sure don't tell you all of this when you apply for a scholarship... :rolleyes:

    EDIT: dunninla, I agree completely and know it happens, but realistically, if the cadre are really trying to get a cadet prepared like they should, cadets should not have a choice. You can't get better by only doing PT 2X a week. And I know that PT alone still won't get you prepared (exactly the reason most cadets in my BN do PT twice a day) but learning how to run a PT session is very helpful when you hit the real Army. Those that aren't physically prepared when they hit their first unit and fall out of any PT event....well....no PVT usually forgets that.
     
  13. bungholio

    bungholio New Member

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    Thanks for the answers, helps a lot! I have one more question. What happens to cadets who are caught at parties? Not that I have any burning desire to party all the time, or let it affect my academics like some college freshman, but partying is just pretty ingrained in CU culture. Just wondering how the ROTC command deals with that kind of thing?
     
  14. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    You do not want to be caught drinking. You do not want to be around any trouble that attracts police or school official attention. You ARE allowed to have fun.
     
  15. -Bull-

    -Bull- Member

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    Eh, I wouldn't say all that. Cadre aren't naive. They went to college just like all of us. They know what goes on, hell, a bunch of cadre have been in fraternities so they know what happens on a college campus. What one instructor used to always tell us, "Don't drink if you're not old enough, however, I know you all are going to do it anyway, so don't get caught doing stupid s***." You can (and are encouraged to) enjoy yourself. You will not get in trouble if you enjoy yourself, however that may be, within your own apartment, house, etc. You may go to a party and it gets busted, what happens after that is all on you. Don't think when you join ROTC, you're joining a group of sticklers that don't have fun. I'd say in my BN roughly 90% of the cadets drink, often, and together (Friday morning PT formations always smell nice). You can interpret that however you'd like.

    EDIT to add: How the command deals with drinking issues? In todays Army, zero tolerance.


    *Disclaimer: I am not endorsing underage drinking by any means.
     
  16. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Can certainly agree that every battalion is different.

    Son's school has PT M, W, F. If the cadet does not get a 280 min. with a 90 in each section they have to go to remedial on T and Th until the next PT Test. For the first month of each semester PT is mandetory all 5 days for everyone. If a cadet is in Ranger Challenge they have the normal PT 3 days a week and train the other 2 for RC.

    dunninla is right, every battalion is different.
     
  17. The OC Josh

    The OC Josh Member

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    No DUI. No excuses. You will get kicked out. 2nd Semester senior got kicked out because he got a DUI.

    As for the hardest thing about ROTC, realize you don't know everything. You may have been in JROTC, grown up a military brat or even done prior service. For better or worse, ROTC Land is different than all of those. Take some time to realize those who have gotten through the system will be able to help you.
     

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