By Tess Skoller
Their alarms go off at 4:30 a.m. each morning. They wake up and get dressed in the dark, long before the sun even begins to poke its head out over the horizon. They’re careful not to wake their sleeping roommate who will only wake up hours later to go to their own classes.
It’s important to mention that, in addition to all the many demands of the program during the year, there is also summer training. According to Gagliardi, “In addition to the required training during the school year there is professional training during the summer months. This training can take the student anywhere in the country.” He also expanded that this training lasts from three to five weeks, but depends on which branch and which year the student is in.
The professional training is designed for the student to better understand the job they will have to perform once commissioned, he explained.
For Gagliardi, though, he is not quite sure what he wants to do within this branch when he graduates, but does note some changes he’s been through since being part of ROTC. “I knew I wanted [to do something with] aviation…or anything but submarines, but now after looking around, I’m reconsidering submarines.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the ROTC programs are encouraged to go talk to a student in the program to see what it is like. “I really like it,” Gagliardi notes. “It’s a good program, and it’s especially nice to know that you’ll have a job for the next five to six years after you graduate.”
Brown adds that the program has “been really competitive lately because the army has a pretty good officer core that’s been developed [over the last few years] because of the war. They have a lot of men who have been deployed and ROTC, specifically has gotten really competitive for scholarships especially.” He also address a common misconception by those who are on the outside, and don’t completely understand the inner-workings of the ROTC program. “I think a lot of people think the ROTC is something where you just show up, get a uniform and look spiffy; but it’s so much more than just that.”