AFROTC and Engineering

By: Cadet Gregory Hermack, Class of 2013

There have been two decisions that I have made while at college that I single handedly consider the best decisions of my college career and possibly my life. These two decisions were to join AFROTC and to be a part of the Engineering Scholars Program. I went into college knowing that I wanted to be a part of AFROTC. Both my dad and my grandfather were pilots in the Air Force and I aspired to follow their career routes and become a pilot in the Air Force. The decision to join Engineering Scholars came after I had already been accepted to Ohio State. The biggest marketing point and reason for me joining engineering scholars was housing with other engineering scholars students. If I had not joined both of these organizations, then my college career would have been entirely different. AFROTC has been an incredible experience and has greatly prepared me for the rest of my life. Freshman year, I was fortunate enough to be picked up for a scholarship with the Air Force. Although I did not need this scholarship to continue my education, it helped immensely in making Ohio State affordable to an out of state student. Graduating college with no loans is a feat that many students cannot claim. Then, earlier this year, I was awarded a pilot slot through the Air Force. This news essentially made my career dream a reality. Even if I had not been awarded a pilot slot, I would have still gained a lot of leadership training and had a job with the word’s best Air Force after college.

Furthermore, joining Engineering Scholars was easily my second best decision. All of my close friends in college are either ROTC or Engineering Scholars students. I have lived with the same 7 students for the past 3 years and I spend most of my free time with the students that lived on my scholar’s floor freshman year. Engineering Scholars grouped me with students who were all taking the same core engineering classes and who had similar interests. Living with the other Engineering scholars was an incredible resource for class work during freshman year. If I ever had a question on any assignment, I could go down the hall and find many other students who were in the same class and were working on the same piece of homework. This academic living setting set me up for academic success throughout my college career.

Juggling ROTC with Scholars and a full engineering course load has been difficult at times. The commitment for ROTC consists of two early morning PT sessions (waking up at 5 am), a 48 minute academic class during your first two years and a 78 minute class your last two years, and a 2 hour lab each week. Scholars, was typically not incredibly time consuming and allowed the students to be as active as their schedule would allow. The only mandatory scholar’s event was a 1 hour meeting either once a week or once every two weeks. At times, attempting to juggle all of these activities has been challenging, but being busy has taught me how to efficiently use my time. The benefits of both ROTC and Engineering Scholars far outweigh the challenges of scheduling and time management. If I had to go through college again, the two choices that I would definitely make again would be to join ROTC and to be a part of the Engineering Scholars program.