My Decision Being in the ROTC


New Member
Jan 12, 2017
During my first semester in college, which was last fall of 2016, I made a decision to join the AFROTC. My family are military members of the Army and were very insistent for me to join the military; So even though I never considered the military to be a option in my life, I decided to listen to them and experience it for myself. My sole purpose of being in the AFROTC was to know if being in the military was something that I really wanted to do, and throughout the whole experience, I learned and had fun. But at the same time, I still didn't know if this was something that I really wanted to do or be committed to for some years.

I didn't apply again for this semester and it's been bugging me since I go college classes feeling like a part of me has been missing. I guess I'm feeling this way because I like to excel and I'm not a quitter, so in that case I make decisions with a clear strong desire to motivate me. My biggest problem right now is my indecisiveness, knowing that choosing between the civilian or military life is the ultimate decision I have to make. I guess what I am afraid of is doing something that I will regret not wanting, but ironically I see myself regret missing opportunities from the both alternatives.

I learned the biggest struggle in the AFROTC that anyone can have is time management. I hate waking up three times a week at 4:00 am to do PT and LLAB on top of my colleges classes; And I have to put time to participate in the cadet wing, either if it's clubs or other volunteer work, to demonstrate wingmanship to my superiors. However, I felt like it was a great way to start the day knowing that I did something and that I am a part of something greater than myself. Although in the end, I still didn't feel motivated to stay so it made sense for me to leave. I know I can definitely pass all the requirements to become a United States Officer of the Air Force, but I don't know if it will be worthwhile my time to put all that effort if I haven't found a strong desire to be in military.

I'm 18 years old majoring in Computer Information Systems and I want to make the right decision. If anyone can give me advice or help understand how I should be thinking about this, I would appreciate it.

Non Ducor Duco

I am not led, I lead
5-Year Member
Mar 6, 2012
If this is your first week back at school, you have until tomorrow to register for the classes. Give it another semester. Take the class, if you decide part of the way through the semester you really dont want to do it, you can disenroll. But if you don't sign up for it and decide half way through the semester that it is something you want, then you'll have to wait until fall to try it again.

If you still think it's something you may want to do, keep with it until you're sure you it is/isn't for you. Try to decide by the end of spring though, past 1st year your ties to ROTC will be harder to disengage from contract wise.


5-Year Member
Feb 15, 2012
Nobody likes getting up early for PT and LLAB, but ultimately it's up to you to find that inner drive, whether patriotism, personal pride, or just a desire to not feel like a quitter. As to being indecisive as to whether or not you want a military or civilian career, a good trick is to imagine what you want your obituary to say one day. Even just four years of service will get you that line "____ served his/her country proudly in the United States Air Force" and an inscription on your tombstone denoting that service.

If you feel that missing that at the end of your life wouldn't really make much of a difference to you, then that's an easy choice to make. Also, imagine being at a veterans or memorial day parade when you are middle aged and seeing veterans marching or telling their stories. Would you feel that you had missed out on being a part of that group, being able to say "I served too," by choosing to spend those four years right after graduation as a civilian first rather than as an Air Force officer? I will say four years goes by very quickly and you wont be that far behind once you rejoin the civilian world as a 26 or 27 year old, especially as a CIS major. You might even be a little ahead of your peers.


5-Year Member
Nov 3, 2016
One thing that struck me is your statement that, "I go college classes feeling like a part of me has been missing." That tells me you should explore this path a little closer to find out what is missing and how ROTC fills that void. While you may not like getting up at 0400 or feeling the pressures of time management associated with the classes and ECs, do you crave that challenge and the camaraderie of the unit. Only you can answer that and it sounds like to need more information (time in the unit) to make an informed decision.

I'd also like to expand a little on what Thunderbolt462 said. I agree with his points about what you want your life's story to read and the fact that you will still be young if you choose to leave the Air Force after your commitment. If you choose to stick with ROTC and commission and serve as an officer, when you leave the service you will be able to add to your resume that, not only do you have experience in your field, you are also a leader. This is huge to employers in the civilian sector. Most people your age will not be able to say that. Also, having served will tell potential employers that you have discipline, commitment, dedication and honor.