The Life of a Cadet

Spring 2017 | Permalink | Category: ROTC

The Life of a Cadet
Cadet Joshua Lee
Everybody has a different experience when they join the US Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC). My personal experience has been a beneficial one. I have met people who became great friends, roommates, mentors, and all of which have become my battle buddies, friends that would put their life on the line for me. 
    When I came to Jacksonville State University (JSU), I was not planning to join the ROTC program. I was at my freshman orientation and walking around the different organization booths when I found my mother talking to the ROTC recruiter. My mom was the typical mom that was scared that if I joined ROTC they would send me off to war the next week. However, the recruiter explained that contracted ROTC Cadets are non-deployable. Cadets will not be deployed until we are with our units after we graduate and commission. The recruiter also explained that our ROTC battalion has the ability to send Cadets to different programs like airborne school, air assault school, and CULP (Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency). CULP is a program that allows Cadets to learn second languages and be sent to different nations around the world to experience the different lifestyles. Our recruiter was able to convince my mother that she would have nothing to worry about, and that I would be perfectly safe while with the ROTC program. Once classes started, I understood why. Not only do the teachers watch out for us, but the Cadets look out for each other as well. 

    The people I have met in ROTC are a widely diverse group of people. I have met people from all different types of backgrounds. Some were prior service military, some came from towns I have never even heard of, and some were the first person in their family to go to college. One thing remained the same; they all wanted to become Commissioned Officers in this nation’s great military. 
Not only do our Cadets have different back grounds, our Cadets are part of many different organizations. We have Greeks, athletes, student government representatives, resident advisors (RAs), and more. If a new Cadet wanted to join a certain organization on campus, then all they would have to do is talk to fellow cadets and they would gladly help them join their organizations. If you wanted to go Greek, then they will either help you get a bid in their fraternity/sorority or introduce you to their friend who can. If you wanted to join student government, then they would tell you how to join Freshman Forum. If you wanted to become a RA then just ask, and both the teachers and Cadets would be willing to be your references. The teachers and Cadets want everyone to get the most out of their college experience, and will gladly help every step of the way.
     Another excellent feature of ROTC is the mentorship program. All underclassmen in the program are assigned a mentor to help watch over them. The mentor's job is to talk to the new Cadets and help them get comfortable on campus. Mentors help whenever the new Cadet needs it, and ensures that the new Cadets are passing their classes. If the new Cadets need a tutor, they will ether do it themselves, find them a fellow cadet to tutor them, or set up the new Cadet with the free tutoring service. In our program we have many majors including Biology, Criminal Justice, Nursing, Computer Science, History, and Exercise Science among others. If a Cadet needs a mentor for their major, then we would be willing to set the new Cadet up with someone who has the same major as them. While the mentor is willing to help with everything for their Cadet, the main job of a mentor is to help the new Cadet excel in their classes. The mentor will set them up to succeed, but it is up to the Cadet to follow through on their half of the deal and work hard in their classes.

    This is my story and my experience with the program. Just as it is the Cadet’s job to succeed in the program, it is also their job to write their own stories. Come to JSU, and join our program. Do the best you can and take all of the chances you get to by going to specialty schools. Set a goal for yourself at the end of the semester and then beat it. Do that every semester you are at JSU and you will have a great chance to have whatever career you set for yourself in either the Army or in your civilian life. The doors of Rowe Hall are always open. Come by and talk to our recruiters. We will always welcome you.
If you would like to contact our Recruitment Operations Officer her name is Ms. McCormick, and she can be reached by email at, or by phone at 256-458-0173. Tell her Cadet Lee sent you.

Joshua Lee is a Junior at Jacksonville State University majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Military Science and History. He is a soldier in Alabama National Guard, and in his third year with the ROTC program at JSU. He enjoys playing video games and reading in his free time.