College life is hard, ROTC makes it harder. The life and times (and general complaints) of a senior in the ROTC program. Just a cadet waiting to graduate while laughing at business school students freaking out about finding jobs. (See: The College Diva page)
I was once likened to Archer in an official ROTC evaluation. That is my end-of-the year counseling with my MSIII instructor who would be giving me a grade that would strongly influence my national ROTC ranking and eventual branching. This is pretty much the best description I could ever give about my #SeniorShenanigans blog.
….. You better call Kenny Loggins cause your in the Danger Zone ….. DANGERZONE!
That’s me with the PowerPoint #SoFrat #SoCollege #SoROTC
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Disclaimer: I am an undergraduate student at the George Washington University. I created this page as part of a team project for one of my classes. Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the George Washington University, The Army, Army ROTC, US Army Cadet Command, or the Department of Defense.
When PT Doesn’t Suck
The most well known and constant part of every cadet’s life is morning PT. Wake up at 0530 to be at first formation by 0620. Put on the right uniform, don’t forget your watch or PT belt. Seriously bro, you might get hit by a car in the gym or something.
Usually PT sucks for one reason or another. Its way too early, its pointless, I’m hungover from Senior night at (insert bar name), its a poorly written plan, its absurdly hard (If you’re a freshman), its not hard enough (Phrasing?), its too cold/hot, the stretches are stupid, your legs hurt, its interfering with your actual workout, etc. (Though, I’d love to hear about some times when you’ve thought PT was a waste of time in the comments.) Usually runs are the worst because … well … running sucks. Unfortunately running is a huge part of ROTC/Army life so get over it kid…….
Sometimes however the stars align and PT isn’t so bad. It might actually be enjoyable. I usually have this feeling when its a bear crawl PT. Rawr.
But I felt this way this morning on my platoon’s run around DC. It was our first run of the semester, a four mile loop around the Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington memorials. Take that Mrs. Betty’s’s 7th grade social studies. I know prezidents and stuff. Anyway it was awesome. Perfect amount of sleep (5.45 hours), perfect temperature (like 50), not a lot of people on the road, and best of all I got to take up the rear watching for fall outs with some lazy FA guys. #SorryNotSorry Armor is better.
This means I got go at a brisk pace to start, just fast enough to make the turnaround time, and then actually do some running for the second half. It was probably the most I’ve seen of DC sights other than the standard National Mall route all year. Not to mention I got to see the Jefferson for the first time. (Dudes got a pretty chill island). I also got to see a cadet race a duck. Duck won. Told you FA was slow.
Cadet Captain Crunch
Caffei-lin’ like a College Kid
Wake up. Drank. In class. Drank. Study. Drank. No sleep. Drank.
Any college kid, especially seniors will tell you how invaluable caffeine is to surviving school. This goes double for midterms and finals season. This usually comes in the form of a “‘Starbs” Venti Mocha Frapachino Latte with skim milk, which rings in at about 125 mg of mid-grade fuel per cup. Or it comes in a sweet silver can with 80 mg plus sugar. Your average student will down 1-2 of these in a day. Cool beans. #caffeinated
Now lets talk about your highly motivated and overly active cadet. Studies suggest, and by studies I mean me watching MSIVs (seniors) in military science class at 8 am, that your average IV drinks 1-2 servings in a two hour period. Some unnamed cadet may even consume that much within 30 minutes of waking up. Now I’d also like to comment on the fuel-grade of this caffeine. The cadet mentioned usually starts with a couple 5-hour energy extra strength (think two cups of coffee) then graduates to Rockstar zero carb (240 mg of premium grade rocket fuel). See “Cadet’s Best Friends.”
Now your less extreme cadet, I include myself in this category, consumes Rip It Fuel (Rip Its) weighing in at 200 mg and the aforementioned Rockstar zero. Now my personal best is 3 Rockstars in two hours (720 mg). I fell asleep on the bus immediately after. On a normal day I usually stick to 3-4 energy drinks and an espresso shot in the morning (80 – 100 mg/shot). I promise that I don’t have a problem. All the cadets are doing it. Is this an intervention?
I won’t even mention the 419 mg per serving pre workout I take 4-5 times a week.
Why am I telling you all this you might ask? Well I’m sick of hear college kids talk about “How much caffeine they drink” “I’m totally addicted” Please. You’re playing Double-A ball. But also that recently I was caught taking a cat nap in class. Like a pro. But that was because I only had one espresso shot and a Rip It that day. I was struggle busing hard. See “When you just can’t hang“
Cadet Captain Crunch
Cadet’s Best Friends
Cadet Land is an interesting and challenging place to exist. Mostly challenging. From weekend labs to seemingly endless briefings, it takes its toll on cadets. There are a few things that make it bearable. These are the Cadet’s Best Friends.
(They are in no particular order because like a squad, they work best as a team. Except the single leg-over, that is literally the best part of any cadet’s day.)
Literally the lifeblood of training meetings/MS class. Delicious and jam packed with essential nutrients, well the only nutrient that counts: CAFFEINE. Weighing in at 160 mg per 16 ounce can, these little angels can keep even the most sleep deprived cadet awake through an all day training meeting. Or maybe two cans would be better. Most cadets, especially MSIVs (seniors), have an absurd caffeine tolerance. My personal record is 3 ROCKSTAR Zero Carbs (240 mg) in 1.5 hours, and I still managed to fall asleep on the bus ride to the field exercise. CAUTION: start off with one then assess your tolerance over time. Don’t die.
Physical activity can always be counted on as one of the few constants in cadet land. Cadets do PT 3 or more times a week. Good cadets go to the gym on days without PT. Great cadets practically live in the gym. In turn, they use a lot of protein, pre-workout (more caffeine), and other supplements. That sh!t gets expensive. Cadets don’t get paid that much considering all of the other expenses college has to offer. Like books and pencils and stuff. BodyBuilding.com offers some of the lowest prices and is super convenient. They ship directly so you don’t need to run to GNC and use your whole stipend. READ: Save money and more nap time. Plus they have tons of great fitness and nutrition articles and reviews. Win-Win-Nap.
In the fields of Cadet Land grow beautiful plants. Godly plants. These are the Copenhagen Wintergreen trees. Cadets draw their energy from the sweet sweet fruit that this tree bears. Not only will they keep you awake in the field and give you some semblance of joy sitting in a pile of mud but it is also the savior of staff meetings. As long as you have a spitter. Never, EVER forget a spitter. Trust me, not your gut. Long cut is the champion of the land but I guess pouches can be cool too. Hah nerd. AIt also comes in a variety of flavors but lets be real; if it isn’t wintergreen is it even dip? Either way, it does the job. Well. Don’t pay attention to those sore gums, they go away.
Probably the most important person to you in your ROTC office. They can make dealing with the “Big Army” somewhat tolerable. Or they can let you figure it out yourself. Trust me the former is better. Unless you prefer doing your security clearance paperwork over again. Be their friend. Make them like you. Bring them coffee. Tell them their kid is cute. BE THEIR FRIEND. It will pay dividends when you have a pay issue, filling out paperwork, and most importantly, at accessions time. Most. Important. Person.
The 1st and 15th
Cadets cycle through extreme affluence and near poverty depending on how far away from the 1st and 15th of the month they are. Obviously because they’re spending their money on lots of books. All the books. Interestingly they are mostly Belgian or Craft books. Weird.
The Single Leg-Over
How does one even describe this stretch. It seems simple enough, turn one leg over your body at a time. But it is oh sooo much more. It brings you to a state of pure euphoria, like stretching on a cloud of pure bliss. This makes every cadet’s day each morning PT session. If they say it doesn’t, then they’re a dirty liar. I do this when I wake up, when I’m bored, and before I go to bed. I’ve even woken up in the single leg-over. Its the closest glimpse of heaven any cadet will ever get, aside from a big fat lip (See: Dip). I’m actually typing this in the single leg-over, imaging the combination of this and some sweet sweet Cope tabacky. Oh what a combo that would be, I’m not sure my weak mortal heart could take so much happiness.
Cadet Captain Crunch
Weekend Safety Brief
Here’s your weekend safety brief:
Don’t do anything stupid.
If you have a pet, feed it and don’t beat it. Same goes for significant others.
If you’re at the same bar as me, pretend we don’t know each other. Talking to you freshmen.
Cadet Captain Crunch
The APTF That Almost Was
Second semester APFTs (Army Physical Fitness Tests) are always such a joy, especially at the beginning of the semester when the weather is never in your favor. 3 events, 2 min of pushups, 2 min of situps, and timed 2 mile run. Each event worth 100 points, but an extended scale exists. (Personal best was 335 junior year) On paper it looks good enough, three APFTs spread across the semester with the first one in February (post-winter break #yeasuretotallyranathome). What the paper doesn’t say is that weather sucks in DC in February at 0540 and command hates to let people off the hook before 0500. Yes thats AM. So the first APFT is scheduled for Feb 11, but its stupid cold (20 degrees) so its cancelled and MSIVs are sent to lift weights while Is-IIIs take a mock APFT in the gym. Wooooooo #ArmsDayEveryDay
But the test is rescheduled for the 17th (Today). Now MSIVs are famous for complaining about why they don’t need to take the APFT (it doesn’t matter for us), coplaining about the cold/weather (again why suffer when it doesn’t matter for us), and/or trying to convince higher up that it should be cancelled altogether. Higher never wants to cancel. Even if it rains the day before and the temperature drops below freezing that night. Rain + Cold = Ice patches on the track. Obviously unsafe. But lets not call it off before hand. Lets ship everyone from the four DC schools to the track at an ungodly hour, I woke up at 0420, then realize the above equation is true. Cool. Now lets stand around for an hour and debate whether we’re tough enough to ignore safety and finally send everyone back home. Morning well spent. Now we’ve wasted our morning, two weeks of missed gym time, and sleep, oh so precious and scarce sleep. It’s cool though, nbd, not mad at all. #sleepisfortheweak
But the APFT will be pushed until its a week before next month’s APFT, and we’ll still have to take both. But hey, at least it doesn’t matter for us.
Cadet Captain Crunch