Freshmen experience ROTC Training online

Jessica Perez

Jessica Perez, News Director

Marching and physical training are normally activities that are taught in-person to students in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. Due to the pandemic, ROTC students had to adapt and learn these things in an online setting.

Before the pandemic, ROTC students would wake up at 5 a.m. and head out to do their physical training with their fellow cadets. Now, they wake up at 5 a.m. and log onto zoom to do their physical training. 

This is difficult for students like first-year cadet Hayden Crossland because he doesn’t want to disturb his neighbors in the morning. 

“It’s early in the morning, during quiet hours,” Crossland said.” I have to be mindful of my neighbors, let them know in advance ‘hey I have to get up at 05:00 for PT.’”

In addition to physical training being a challenge, trying to learn marching drills online comes with its own difficulties.

“Our only source of material is online,” Crossland said. “We have to watch it and there’s no one there to correct us on the spot.”

First-year cadet Sophia Apostolides said she thinks commanders will be more understanding when cadets have the opportunity to march in-person because they weren’t able to learn with a group of people.

“We’ll just take a bit more time to learn,” Apostolides said.

Many first-year students considered taking a gap year when they learned that their classes would be online.

“I was considering not coming this year because of that,” Apostolides said. “I am very glad that I did end up coming here. They’ve done a very good job maintaining everything and the regulations.”

Crossland chose to attend CWU this year, despite the changes to the program, because he wanted to continue to move forward towards his career.

“That year could be the make or break in my career for the slot I want, for the job I want,” Crossland said.

First-year cadet Thomas Rieger was set on starting the pilot program at CWU, but when it was cancelled, he had to decide whether he wanted to take a gap year or change his major and attend CWU.

He chose to change his major to aviation management and attend CWU in the end.

“I always wonder what it would be like if I didn’t, but I’m really glad that I’m getting this head start,” Rieger said.

In addition to adjusting to online schooling, first-year students have had to learn to make friends while social distancing.

“I can’t tell if I’m a normal amount of stressed, or a little bit more because of that,” Rieger said.

Overall, many of them feel they are starting to get into the swing of things and are trying to stay positive.

“It’s a waste of time being negative you know?” Crossland said. “As much as it sucks I’d like everyone to be on campus but we’re making the best of what we’ve got.”