As a self-described “military-brat,” all things military make up an important part of my identity. I’ve grown up in this setting my entire life and wanted to continue my military journey here at Santa Clara University with Army ROTC. As a Political Science and French double major, I knew I wanted to pursue a career that offers me ample travel and immersive cultural experiences. The military is the perfect outlet for this vision I have. I am truly grateful that the experiences I’ve had in this group thus far will, and continue to, develop the skills I need to succeed.
ROTC, or Reserve Officer Training Corps, is exactly what it sounds like: developing future leaders of the United States military. Yet, it's so much more than this too. Coming into ROTC as a first-year, I was able to find my niche; my battle buddies in the vast, and often overwhelming, setting that is college. It has given me foundational confidence to join more clubs and get more involved in the SCU community.
Here’s a typical day in the life of a cadet:
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, I wake up around 5:40am, change into my PT (physical training) clothes, and head off to first formation, which is normally around 6:15am. First formation is where each cadet gathers in an orderly fashion for accountability purposes. The physical training (PT) itself follows first formation. There are numerous exercises we do, including campus loops, longer runs to the Rose Garden, ruck marches, swimming, and standard workouts with repetitions of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and the like. All exercises are complete by 7:30am, and from there we grab a quick breakfast from Benson (or squeeze in a quick shower) and head over to Military Science class that begins at 8am. Class is just over an hour in length, and we are provided with foundational knowledge of Army standards and values. As cadets advance in the program, we are taught more complex, complicated concepts, like land navigation and infantry tactics, all the while emphasizing how to be a leader in any scenario. We also have labs outside of PT and Military Science class, where we will often go off campus to a variety of locations like Sarasota and Dublin, California to execute field training missions.
It might seem overwhelming at first, and believe me it was for me, but this schedule combined with SCU classes, extracurriculars, sports, and a social life is all manageable. In fact, ROTC has added much needed structure to my life and ultimately made me a more well-rounded person.
Anyone is welcome to join. One thing I truly value about the Army’s vision is that it develops leaders, with particular emphasis on “develops.” It doesn’t matter where you are at in your physical and intellectual endeavors. As long as you are willing to try something new and commit yourself, ROTC will provide you with the tools and resources you need to succeed. I for one struggled during physical training and the fitness tests at the beginning of the year, but now I’m surpassing all fitness standards! I have also gained confidence in public speaking, which has translated over to my other SCU classes.
If you’re looking to truly commit yourself to a military lifestyle, you should consider applying for a scholarship. There are numerous benefits with this route–your college expenses are essentially covered, and you even get a bonus stipend every month valued at around $400! For more details on the scholarship application process, visit goarmy.com. There are also on-campus scholarships available for dedicated students who join once college has begun.
ROTC truly provides a great opportunity to experience and enjoy a college life, while simultaneously allowing you to develop as a leader and go on to serve. I am grateful to be a part of this loving, supportive community, which is emphasized by the love and support received from Santa Clara University on its own. GO ARMY. GO BRONCOS.
Mariella Beaurpere is a Student Ambassador at Santa Clara University, class of 2022. Learn more about her and her involvements, along with the rest of our student ambassadors, here.