FYE: Cadet Quarles

By: Cadet Javon Quarles, Class of 2014

My experience with ROTC is somewhat unique in that I began the program in my sophomore year rather than as a freshman. As a result, I was immediately thrown into the fire despite knowing absolutely nothing about the program or really anything about the military in general. While the rest of the 200s (2nd year cadets) were learning as well, they clearly knew much more than I did. Still, almost right away I had a job within the flight and began taking on more and more leadership roles as the year progressed. I learned quickly because I had to. After all, I had all of about four months to impress the cadre and show them that I had what they were looking for in a potential Air Force officer. It was a challenge, but definitely accomplishable and well worth it.

That being said, for anyone who’s interested but unsure about the military or ROTC (like I was), I would say just give it a shot. There really isn’t anything to lose since you will have no immediate commitment. You can try it out and if you decide it isn’t for you, you can drop the program just like you were dropping a class. If you do enroll, you will learn more about yourself and your leadership than you would have ever expected. You will get the opportunity to do things you would have never thought you would do and definitely will be challenged to step outside of your personal comfort zone.

To sum it up, I came in as unsure as anyone about whether the Air Force was right for me. However I took the chance, enrolled, worked hard to catch up, and now look back on the experience as one of the most valuable that I’ve had. So, if you’re at all interested you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.