How would you describe NROTC at NC State as a whole?
“Naval ROTC is a challenging program at NC State that requires students to be pushed to their limits while crafting fine future Navy and Marine Corps officers and leaders.”
Ensign Nicholas Teeter (Class of 2020) writes, “NROTC builds students mentally, physically, and professionally in preparation for their work as naval officers.”
Ensign Emily Stoops (Class of 2020) writes, “NROTC at NC State served me as a second family at school and a top notch training environment.”
How would you say you’ve benefited from joining NROTC?
Ensign Kyle Baker (Class of 2020) writes, “NROTC has benefited me by instilling a harder work ethic in my everyday life as a college student as well as surrounding me in a community of people with a similar goal.”
Ensign Emily Stoops (Class of 2020) writes, “Beyond a commission into the Navy, I was exposed to classes and people that I otherwise wouldn’t have interacted with. As an engineering major, history and policy classes were not going to be part of my studies, but ROTC forced me out of my comfort zone of STEM classes. I also got invaluable hands-on leadership experience. You can take leadership classes and read books and listen to accomplished leaders, but there are some lessons you only learn through personal trial and error. Each semester, I was given increasingly more responsibility, and more opportunity to grow.”
Ensign Alec Hunter (Class of 2020) writes, “As an out of state student, I would have been lost in college without the guiding principles and schedule that NROTC provided for me, and I definitely would not have been as mature or morally and mentally developed as I am now.”
What do you find exciting about NROTC?
Ensign Emily Stoops (Class of 2020) writes, “The training opportunities are easily the most exciting. In my time in ROTC, I’ve traveled to California, Washington state, Spain, and Scotland. I’ve watched aircraft launch on a carrier, gotten rides in a helicopter, seen several missile launches and gun shoots, and driven billion dollar war ships.”
Midshipman 3/C Mason Overby (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “The opportunities to speak with and learn from officers and high ranking officials in the Navy. These opportunities expand my knowledge of not just the Navy, but skills for life as a whole.”
Midshipman 3/C Chase Young (Projected Class of 2023) writes, “I find the prospect of receiving an education and living college life while simultaneously developing myself as a leader with the promise of a career with the United States Navy exciting.”
What are your pride points? Do you have any facts, figures, or testimonials to demonstrate ROTC’s success? Any other meaningful outcomes?
Ensign Victor Olson (Class of 2020) writes, “The program set me up for academic success. They provide calculus and physics tutors available during the week, which helped me excel in those challenging engineering courses. The program also made me a natural leader amongst my peers; I was comfortable stepping up when others would shy away on group projects, or in class in general.”
Midshipman 3/C Mason Overby (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “Some pride points that I have are my own success story, I came to the battalion undisciplined and wanting to do everything I could in college all at once, this led to lack of sleep, physical wellness, and a drop in my GPA, luckily through some tough love and help from the battalion I have figured out the perfect median to keep myself improving in all aspects while still having fun and getting enough sleep. Over the years my physical capabilities as well as GPA and responsibility have all steadily improved.”
Midshipman 2/C Jack Ridge (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “I have become a more confident person as a result of ROTC, taking classes and experiencing things that I would not have normally done before joining. My swimming capabilities as well as my ability to take on challenges has greatly increased since I decided to join and I am much more willing to try things and possibly fail (whereas before I likely would never have tried at all).”
Midshipman 3/C Chase Young (Projected Class of 2023) writes, “I take enormous pride in the academic standing of NCSU’s NROTC unit. Each semester, there are many Midshipmen on the Dean’s list, which comes as a direct result of NROTC’s mission to achieve academic excellence. I also take great pride in the camaraderie of Midshipmen, I have made many friends through the unit.”
What confusions do people have about your unit or this topic?
Midshipman 2/C Jack Ridge (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “People often think that ROTC is a lifeless, and boring organization with robots as its participants but this obviously isn’t true. ROTC has plenty of interesting people that I have met as a result of joining, and I would encourage anyone to try to get to know some of us even if they have no interest in joining themselves.”
“Do we do a lot with the other branches of ROTC? Not really, we are very focused on professional topics within our department.” While all three ROTCs present at state are under the DoD, their mission sets are very different.
“Many people do not realize and/or underestimate the emphasis NROTC puts on academic success. While NROTC focuses on creating officers, the members are still students first.”
Midshipman 3/C Andrew Crider (Projected Class of 2023) writes, “The marine option side of the program is a part of NROTC. Often people think that there is a separate Marine Corps ROTC like in high school. It is integrated because the marine corps is a part of the navy. The Marine Corps is a part of the Department of the Navy in the Department of Defense.”
How do you balance your ROTC life on top of ‘regular’ college?
Ensign Kyle Baker (Class of 2020) writes, “This requires a lot of time management. Time mapping helps you get started, and then as you get more used to college life, it becomes easier. One thing I found pretty common among most of us is that there will always be sacrifices. With both college and ROTC commitments, you may not always have the time to do what you want to do outside of work. That is just something that comes along with this great opportunity. But it is also important to remember that everyone needs a break and a little time to relax and have fun.”
Ensign Emily Stoops (Class of 2020) writes, “ROTC integrates with normal college life and helps you balance, rather than being its own activity. As a freshman you are required to attend study hall or get tutor hours, which helps immensely with academics. Exercise has been one of the biggest life-savers in my college career, which is also required. In terms of a social life, some of my best friends came from ROTC. They’ll be in your classes and have similar schedules. But also get out of the bubble sometimes. I played club and intramural sports and taught group fitness. Some people find a bible study they vibe with. Some people get into undergrad research. Find something that you enjoy outside of class and your ROTC buddies.”
“[Have] time management/budgeting/efficiency. It takes learning, but is very doable. Also, when you are passionate about something (such as ROTC), it becomes much less “work”.
Do you have any tips for maintaining a good sleep schedule?
Midshipman 1/C Maddi Burcher (Projected Class of 2021) writes, “Get your school work done during the day (i.e. breaks during classes). If you wait until the evening, you’ll probably be up for a while studying or completing assignments.”
“I suggest using a planner for everything. Writing down when certain things are coming up, whether it be for normal college or ROTC, can help you stay on top of everything. This means you won’t be staying up until 3 in the morning writing a paper you forgot about, rather you can go to bed at a good time and be ready to go the next day.”
Midshipman 2/C Jack Ridge (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “Prioritize sleep (within reason). I used to be one of the many people that did not think that sleep was that important and shoved it aside to make room for assignments and other things that I would rather do to either get ahead or relax. The semester that I started prioritizing sleep and made sure that I was rested each day was the first semester that I was able to score a 4.0 GPA.”
Where is a good place to live?
Ensign Victor Olson (Class of 2020) writes, “On Campus: Wood hall is great if you want suite style dorms that are close to Reynolds and the IM fields (where we muster), as well as Talley and Case/Clark dining halls. If you want community style dorms, Tucker/Owen/Alexander/Turlington. I would stay away from the high rise dorms due to room size, elevator issues, and fire alarms (more of a hassle). Off Campus: If you want to be close to campus (walking distance), the newer apartments on Hillsborough Street seem nice; you’ll be paying for it though. The prices go down as you move away from campus; Campus West and UV2505 are nice properties that are affordable.”
“[I suggest living] on campus freshman year, recommend finding somewhere away from campus after that. There are apartments and houses 10-15 minutes from campus that are much larger and much cheaper than what you would pay for something very close to campus. As long as you have a vehicle, living farther away is worth it.”
“I loved living in the dorms my first year. I lived in Owen hall and met some of my best friends there who I am still living with going into my junior year. In regards to off-campus housing, Campus Crossings is a good place to live if you don’t want to pay a lot but want a decent apartment.”
Does ROTC pay for everything? How do you cover the extra costs?
Ensign Nicholas Teeter (Class of 2020) writes, “The ROTC scholarship pays for tuition and the accompanying stipend pays for textbooks, but it does not cover housing or food. My extra costs have been covered by a scholarship I got using the helpful Pack ASSIST tool, a federal loan, and some help from my parents.”
“No, however, it pays for almost everything. I suggest applying for as many scholarships as possible to pay for any extra costs. Every year I apply for financial aid and scholarships and I have been able to cover all of my extra costs. [For]your first year, I would not suggest getting a job, as it can be a lot to take on, however, there are a lot of great places to work around Raleigh with flexible hours if you want extra money.”
Midshipman 3/C Chase Young (Projected Class of 2023) writes, “If you obtain the national scholarship, ROTC pays for tuition and gives a monthly stipend. I suggest making the most out of your stipend, not treating it like spending money, and working on the side, either on campus through the many employment opportunities or off-campus with the multitude of surrounding businesses.”
How should I prepare/train for the physical aspect of ROTC?
Midshipman 1/C Jake Bernat (Projected Class of 2021) writes, “Get an upperclassmen workout partner or someone who knows how to train for specific fitness goals. For Marine options, lots of pull-up pyramids and sprints/ distance runs.”
Midshipman 1/C Madi Burcher (Projected Class of 2021) writes, “You should be prepared to be in generally good shape to do well physically in ROTC. You don’t need to be a marathon runner or a bodybuilder, just make sure you can pass all aspects of the PRT above the “good” level.”
Midshipman 2/C Jack Ridge (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “Exercise a little each day if you are not prone to working out regularly. The physical requirements do not ask too much, but if you rarely even do a push-up and/or run, then you might have some difficulty at first. Since the Physical Readiness Test contains push-ups, curl-ups, and a 1.5 mile run, I would advise at least doing those three things somewhat regularly.”
Why did you choose the Navy/Marine Corp branch?
Ensign Emily Stoops (Class of 2020) writes, “My grandfather and father were both Navy, so they encouraged me to apply for the scholarship. I stayed because we have the most diverse opportunities. You want to fly? Navy. You want to drive a ship and shoot big guns? Navy. You want to be on a submarine and fire missiles? Navy. You want to get into special operations? Navy. You want to be boots on the ground Marine Corps. The Navy does everything the Air Force, Army and Coast Guard do.”
“I chose the Marine Corps because I wanted to be challenged. I figured if I wanted to join the military, why not choose the most challenging branch. I also grew up in a family full of Marines, hearing their stories and the pride they have for the Marine Corps, I knew that it was the branch for me.”
Midshipman 3/C Mason Overby (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “The Navy has a long and distinguished history. Also, they have the best aviators and carrier operations.”
What made you stay in ROTC? (e.g. Cool jobs, bonds made, just really want to be an officer?)
Ensign Emily Stoops (Class of 2020) writes, “After my first year, I thought really hard about whether I wanted to stay in ROTC, because it can be a pain. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I applied, so the Navy seemed like a good place to start while I figured it out. When I got to school, I started to realize what I was truly interested in career wise, and I wasn’t sure joining the military was going to help me get there. Ultimately I decided that having my tuition paid for was worth 5 years of adventure, even if I decided I didn’t want to stay in. Now, I know that ROTC was one of my best decisions. If I stay in, I will have incredible options to advance my career in the Navy. There is a traditional career path, but almost no one follows it. You can get jobs with Google for a tour, go live abroad, go back to school, take a break and start a family, become a professor, work with other branches, and go back to school again. If I choose to get out, I will have been a part of the world’s greatest Navy and worked with amazing people, and have leadership skills you can only gain with hands-on experience.”
Midshipman 1/C Jake Bernat (Projected Class of 2021) writes, “Upperclassmen mentoring and guiding me through my freshman year to help get a 3 year scholarship. If it wasn’t for them, I would’ve [dropped out of ROTC].”
“I stayed in ROTC because I want to be a Marine more than anything, especially an officer of the Marines. However, the bonds I have made and the role models I have gained, have helped make my ROTC experience extraordinary.”
Midshipman 2/C Jack Ridge (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “The excellent people in the organization have really encouraged me to stay even when ROTC was not super fun at times. I do not mean that they literally encouraged me with their words, but rather with their actions. Some of my fellow midshipmen, as well as the active duty staff are some of the most motivating and awesome people I have ever met, and their stories and challenges that they have overcome encourage me to be better and do the same.”
Will I still have time to be a ‘regular’ college student?
Midshipman 1/C Madi Burcher (Projected Class of 2021) writes, “Yes, as long as you realize that sometimes you’ll have to put schoolwork first, and go to bed earlier on the nights before PT and lab.”
Midshipman 2/C Andrew Wooten (Projected Class of 2022)writes, “You have plenty of time to get the “college experience” and honestly NROTC helps to add to that by helping to build enduring friendships that you may not have gotten without being on a team or club within the school.”
Midshipman 2/C Jack Ridge (Projected Class of 2022) writes, “Yes, in college you have pretty much nothing but time. It all depends on how you use the time given to you and whether you are able to efficiently balance your time to do both ROTC and school/social life.”
What are some downsides to being in ROTC? Has it been worth it?
Ensign Nicholas Teeter writes, “Getting up early, losing sleep due to mismanaged time, missing out on social events because you have to sleep because you have the PRT the next morning followed by an exam in a difficult class. It’s certainly worthwhile though. You meet interesting people, become all-around a stronger person, and have a job when you come out of college.”
Ensign Emily Stoops writes, “ROTC is challenging sometimes. Waking up early isn’t everyone’s favorite. Study hours are difficult to get. You will forget something. You will miss an event. But remember, that is the point. You are meant to make as many mistakes now as possible, and learn from them, before you are in the fleet and people’s lives are in your hands. It’s kind of a game to make you mess up, to put you under pressure and see you handle it. Don’t get too wrapped up in the mistakes. Shake it off and laugh at yourself, move on. For the scholarship people, you could be paying 30,000 dollars or you could wake up early 3 days a week….seems like an easy decision. For everyone, you will come out of college with a degree AND a commission into the Navy, versus your peers who will be scrambling to find jobs and will probably end up at a desk.”
“Being in ROTC on top of being a normal college student can seem very stressful at times. However, the rewards you get as a result make it worth it. The knowledge, friendships, experiences, etc. gained are like no other.”