I can still remember coming to PT the first morning of school and feeling a rush of anxiety, excitement, and a little bit of fear because I had no idea what to expect as an Army cadet. Little did I know that ROTC would help shape me in to a confident, physically fit, and proficient cadet and nurse. ROTC has helped me financially, physically, and mentally throughout school and has provided me with incredible opportunities throughout my education.
Because of the ROTC scholarship I have been able to focus my attention on school and not work. I have the luxury of not needing to work every week, so when I need time off I am able to take it without worrying about paying rent. I was able to hold off on getting a job until I found one that I truly enjoy.
Attending PT three times a week seemed awful to me when I first came to the University, and now I max my PT test and work out six days a week. I could not complete the two-mile run without walking when I took my first PT test, and now I am training for a marathon.
Mentally, ROTC training has taught me to critically think and lead others. As an MSIII, I was constantly challenged and in a different leadership position every two weeks for an entire year, which allowed me to gain confidence and proficiency at making decisions and implementing them with my subordinates. I was challenged mentally at LDAC and learned to accept and utilize constructive criticism. Constantly being evaluated in ROTC helped me to remain confident once I was accepted into nursing school.
Being in ROTC has put me a step ahead of my peers in nursing school because of the mental preparation and because of the nurse summer training program (NSTP). I was able to work for 29 days at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany last summer and I learned more than I did in a semester of nursing school. At NSTP, I was paired with a junior officer and worked one-on-one with him for the entirety of the externship. I was able to essentially work as a staff nurse once he gained enough confidence in my skills and cared for the most incredible and deserving patients in the world. I experienced receiving flights directly from Afghanistan and Iraq and cared for patients with severe trauma. Having that opportunity to taste what my career will be like in a few short months solidified my commitment to being an Army Nurse.
Army ROTC has shaped me not only into a good cadet and future officer, but also into a good nurse. I cannot imagine doing anything else with my future am looking forward to beginning my career.