ROTC at Seton Hall University is a challenging and rewarding program offered which includes students committing about 20 to 25 hours a week to the program. Between managing physical training, academia and a social life, ROTC students do it all.
Jong Woong (David) Park, a sophomore political science and history major, has been in the ROTC program at SHU for about a year and said he is enjoying how rewarding the program is. Park has always wanted to be a part of the United States military. He decided that he wanted to participate in ROTC when he found that the university offered the program and thought it would be a great way to serve as a leader at the school.
ROTC students start their day earlier than most students by beginning their days with physical training in the mornings. Physical training, also known as physical readiness training, starts with a preparatory drill, consisting of ten exercises as a warmup. On Fridays, ROTC will go on ability group runs which divides the battalion into different paces of running. While the physical performance is crucial, encouragement is important to build teamwork.
A part of the ROTC experience, is participating in “Ruck Marches” which are hikes in South Mountain. Park said the hikes are, “an essential part of a soldier in the battlefield. When I pack my ruck-sack, I only pack mission essential items such as my Kevlar helmet, extra clothing, sleep system, meals-ready-to-eat, and who can forget, lickies and chewies. There are a number of items that can go in a ruck-sack, so it’s really important for us to prioritize what we put in it so that it can be a hike with the not-so-heavy equipment.”
As demanding as the program may be, Park still has time to hold a job on campus at PCSS, where he helps students with laptop issues in the library. He also is planning on joining the Korean American Student Association that his colleagues are planning on creating.
“As an ROTC cadet, we have a double standard to keep up to. We have to be physically able enough to carry out strenuous activities and we have to obtain high grades to be exemplary students. Thinking about these aspects, it’s pretty demanding,” Park said.
Academics are very important with ROTC, but to deal with this high stress situation, ROTC students are given battle buddies who are meant to motivate each other and encourage their fellow cadet.
To Park, the hardest part of ROTC is having to stay motivated all of the time and to be energetic and outgoing. His battle buddies help him stay motivated, but he said that it is hard to constantly be that motivated.
Park added that the most fulfilling aspect of ROTC is being a student leader at the school. SHU relies heavily on ROTC so it’s rewarding to be able to help out at any event and be a major part of community.
Additionally, the duty and purpose of ROTC is to learn and train to become a leader in the United States army. At Seton Hall, the duty of ROTC students are to be servant student leaders and participate in many community service projects such as Habitat for Humanity, soup kitchens and Color Guard events that represent the school.
“Selfless service prepares me for my life beyond Seton Hall because it gives me an idea of how to put others before me. It will explain my purpose as a soldier and my job as a serviceman for the people of the United States of America,” Park said.
After graduating, Park plans to go active duty in a combat arms military occupational specialty and after active duty, he wants to go to law school and work in the Judge Advocate General Corps.
Haley Zenna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org