ROTC at Dartmouth
This summer, I am living off campus and have a new roommate, Casey. Casey and I met through mutual friends when she was visiting campus during her off term in the winter. We clicked instantly and decided that we would live together during sophomore summer. I was very interested to learn that Casey was apart of Dartmouth’s ROTC program. ROTC stands for the “Reserve Officers’ Training Corps” and is a preparatory Army-training program. I thought I would share some information that I have learned from Casey for any prospective students who are thinking about joining ROTC at Dartmouth or are interested in learning more about it.
The first two years of ROTC at Dartmouth focuses on building one’s leadership. You are also taught about the customs and traditions of the Army. For Casey, this meant learning about the history of the Army in the United States. She said that it was so interesting to learn about the battles and wars that have shaped America, and doing so engrained a further sense of respect for the freedom that we have. In addition to understanding military tactics, ROTC members are taught goal settings, a skill that transferred to Casey’s academic and personal life. Finally, there was a heavy emphasis on health and physical fitness. ROTC does a lot of their training in Dartmouth’s Leverone Field House. During your final two years of college, ROTC focus on teaching the laws of war, team dynamics and peer leadership. Casey said you also are exposed to the plethora of different careers you can have in the Army, racing from medics and nurses to engineers and management officers. I also learned that you can take the Army ROTC basic courses without a commitment to the military.
I asked Casey why she decided to join ROTC. She said that she had a gut feeling about pursuing ROTC. As an athlete throughout high school and a member of the rugby team at Dartmouth, Casey was looking for a way to channel the leadership skills she learned through athletics into the real-world. In addition, Casey mentioned that ROTC helped to keep her focused at Dartmouth, as she was on a more regimented training schedule. In the end, Casey felt that it was something that she needed to try, regardless of her future with the Army.
Due to her commitment to the varsity Rugby team, Casey decided to step away from ROTC this year. “The experience I got from ROTC made me realize how many different communities there are within Dartmouth,” she reflects, “This really opened my mind because as a freshman, I didn’t know anything about Dartmouth’s different communities. Starting off with ROTC my freshman year also gave me an advantage to learning how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This lead to being fully immersed in a pool of leadership. I have learned how to have humility when wrong and how to be confident in answering questions from leaders who were older than me. I also learned about my weaknesses through ROTC. There were qualities of my mentality that improved and became more relevant to myself, which helped turn my weaknesses into strengths.”