High school Army ROTC has been a breeze, a nationally ranked drill team, Honor unit with distinction, as well as numerous community service events. I had never had a problem performing at an exceptional level in these regards. I served as the battalion commander my senior year, and was given the distinguished cadet award each year. I was approaching my senior year, having already applied for an Army ROTC scholarship, and was filled with anticipation. I was soon given the news that I had received a four year scholarship. I was now faced with the decision of was college to choose from. I had applied to the University of Toledo, Bowling Green state University, Akron University, as well as Kent State. After much debate I could not refuse the benefits given to me through the University of Toledo at which point I decided to use my scholarship there.
After a busy summer of work and getting ready for my freshman year of college, I was just a few weeks away from a new chapter in my life. College had always seemed so fun and enjoyable, the Tv shows and movies had always portrayed college as a time of partying and fun. I now know that to be successful in college, then one must limit these types of activities. After moving into my dorm I began participating in physical fitness every morning at 6:15. And right of the bat, I was put into a squad with a squad leader that was either stressed due to preparation for LDAC, or simply as I believed, " Out to get cadets". Every morning was something different. I was either missing something, unprepared, or simply not performing at the level that my squad leader felt I should have been. Without given proper instructions, I, as well as other members of my squad were expected to know the in's and out's of college ROTC. Unfortunately this was not the case. This began to bother me to a point were I stopped going to morning PT's. I wasn't sure who I should talk to and needed help to fix the situation.
After a lab conducted on thursday, I approached a fellow cadet, that had served as a sergeant in the Army for ten years. I thought to myself, if anyone would know what to do it would be him. I spoke to him regarding the issue and he simply told me to speak to the squad leader myself. I took his advice and brought my concerns to my squad leaders attention. And the following PT, we fell into formation, and the conduct of our squad leader had changed completely. What I took from this experience, is that as a leader it is important for your subordinates to feel comfortable with approaching you with problems. As a leader it may sometimes be difficult to conduct self evaluations in efforts to improve yourself as a leader. Not only is a good leader able to see when he or she is wrong, but also to listen to feedback from your subordinates and adjust accordingly. Through this experience I was able to tell myself that as a leader I will not only speak my concerns but also acknowledge and adapt to faults as a leader. "Nothing can temper the warriors spirit as much as the challenge of dealing with with impossible people in positions of power. Only under those conditions can warriors aquire the sobriety and serenity to stand the pressure of the unknowable". Carlos Castaneda (1931)