By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-Chief
It’s 4:50 a.m., and freshman Meagan Green’s alarm is going off, as usual.
Three mornings each week, she makes the trek up to the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) for physical training in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC).
Cadet Green has been interested in the Army ever since her aunt and uncle went to West Point Military Academy when she was young. She says she became interested in ROTC this summer because it provided “the opportunity go to college while learning to be an Army officer at the same time.”
“There are many mornings when my alarm clock goes off at 4:50am and I ask myself why I’m going to be putting myself through this for the next four years, but at the same I know that my services will be valuable to my country when the time comes for me to give back,” Green wrote in response for a request for comment from The Echo.
ROTC is a major time commitment, Green says. It involves both coursework and frequent commutes. Three days each week she goes to UCO for physical training at 5:45 a.m., and on Thursdays she makes the trip twice, once for a military science c6lass at 8 a.m. and once for a lab at 1:45 p.m.
“We learn military ethos and terms in our class, and practice battle tactics, land navigation, weapon control, and marching in our field labs,” Green said.
Freshman nursing major and Cadet Blake Wieczorek is also involved with ROTC. He says he was influenced by multiple factors, including his mother being in the Army for several years, financial aid and the ROTC’s ability to develop leadership and character.
Both Green and Wieczorek were recipients of full-tuition scholarships from the battalion.
“As of this year, UCO’s ROTC program discontinued giving scholarships to partnership schools, which was devastating to me,” Wieczorek said. “There was no way I could afford to continue with ROTC without getting any financial aid for it. The first couple months were extremely stressful because of that, but I prayed about it and stuck with it. I tried to give them my absolute best just in case a miracle could happen, and I could somehow get a scholarship. Sure enough, this past month I was offered a scholarship. I’m so thankful to God, my family and friends who have supported me this far in my journey.”
While it requires a sizable time commitment while in college and a service commitment after graduation, both Wieczorek and Green see clear benefits.
“Some of the benefits of being in ROTC include: financial aid, responsibility, leadership skills and opportunities, a chance to make some good friends, and presenting an opportunity to grow physically, mentally and even spiritually,” Wieczorek said.
“My major here at SNU is demanding already, and sometimes the load of doing well in school here and doing well in ROTC gets pretty heavy,” Green said. “Often I have to sacrifice social time with my friends, or going to fun events on campus to get everything done well. The honorable feelings I get from being part of such an important program make the social sacrifice worth it, in my opinion…ROTC is incredibly beneficial to my life.”
Students at SNU, Oklahoma Christian and Oklahoma City University can cross-enroll in the ROTC program at the University of Central Oklahoma, according to a press release sent to The Echo regarding Green and Wieczorek’s earning the scholarships.
Scholarships are available for well-qualified candidates in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. For more information, students can contact the UCO ROTC program at 405-974-5167.