Experience of an Incoming Freshman
By Thu P

My first experience with Air Force ROTC was during the week of New Student Orientation (NSO). During that week, we were introduced to the world of professionalism and responsibility, as well as discipline and hard work. NSO was a great week for me because I was able to get accustomed to AFROTC life while still being able to have fun and learn skills that would give me an advantage later on. Even as freshman cadets, everything we do is held to a high standard. This includes proper posture and rendering the proper greeting to cadre and upperclassmen. At the time I didn’t find them important, but now I see that they are all part of being in uniform and following customs and courtesies. I also met the people with whom I will be working for the next four years. These are the people I can depend on as well as socialize with.

Being in AFROTC can be very exhausting and time consuming. Drill team practice has me waking up at five in the morning twice a week, along with an evening practice once a week. Sleep dwindles down to the bare minimum and I am always sore, whether from Physical Training (PT) or drill team. Despite all that, my busy schedule along with work and school keeps me from being lazy. Though some say it’s a tiring schedule, I say it’s one filled with purpose. AFROTC is such a great and rewarding program and worth every bit of effort. Everywhere I go on campus, I see people that I recognize from the program. It gives me a sense of pride and belonging and I know that I can rely on any of my classmates who I also can confidently call my friends. Not only does AFROTC challenge me mentally, it also pushes my physical limit. For example, there is always room for improvement for the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) and pushing my personal limit is always a challenge when “good enough” is never good enough. In conclusion, the Air Force ROTC program is wonderful and rewarding and the small sacrifices are worth it - I get to meet many different people, improve my physical health, learn about military lifestyle, receive and give respect, and know that there’s always a place I can go to for support. Although I am always busy, I am also always improving and challenging myself, and that never gets old.