By Simon Pena
On a dark and cold Wednesday morning, my alarm goes off at 6:00 A.M., prompting me to groan and swat at non-existent specks that swim in front of my eyes. As I lean over the railing to stop the alarm from waking up my roommate, I debate with myself about whether I should go to PT this morning or not.
On one hand, the workout would help keep me in shape and allow me to hit the ground running, but on the other hand, I did some pretty intense weight lifting the night before. That, coupled with the exhaustion I feel from staying up until 2:00 A.M. studying for a Modern Chinese History test has me feeling pretty beat. After about two minutes of deliberation, I reset the alarm to wake me up in two hours, wiggle back under my covers, and promptly fall asleep once more.
It’s not a big deal – I already went to PT on Monday morning, so I’ll either go to the Wednesday afternoon session or I’ll wait until Friday to grab my second PT of the week. Or maybe I’ll do both – it depends on how my classes and personal workouts are treating me. This is one of my favorite aspects of AFROTC – the program is tailored for college students, so academic performance comes first with everything else coming second. This means I can, to a certain extent, work AFROTC around my own schedule instead of it completely dominating mine.
Other days are different – on Tuesday mornings, I have Leadership Lab, which is admittedly a pain to wake up for at 5:00 A.M., but is chock-full of useful information and activities, such as Drill and Ceremony (marching), group leadership projects (problem-solving situations), and various briefs. Monday evenings are composed of Flight Meetings, which are basically AFROTC head-starts for the rest of the week – they let me know what’s up and what to expect for that week. We also often practice marching during Flight Meetings, which is great as everything is really laid back and the atmosphere is one of assistance, so I can mess up without feeling too bad about it.
Occasionally, I’ll stop by the Wingroom to just hang out and have fun with other Cadets by playing Halo, foosball, pool, or even game such as Pokémon Platinum or Magic: the Gathering. Study sessions are offered there too, so I’ll sometimes study there in order to take advantage of the relaxing atmosphere and earn what I like to call “study bucks”, which is intangible currency that can be used to purchase things like candy, chips, and pop. Often times I’ll hang out at the Wingroom way later than I should – from watching Schmoyoho videos (double rainbow all the way) to discussing Starcraft II strategies to helping out Cadets with English papers, with AFROTC, there’s always something fun going down!