Written by: Iolani Mangoba
If you think being a college student during a pandemic is hard, how about being in a Reserve Officer Training Corps, ROTC, program while attending college and you are only a freshman. Here is some background information before I get into my day. ROTC is tough to balance when it comes with school and trying to become an officer, but it is doable! There are many rules that a first year has to follow such as making sure you follow the correct walkway since every freshman has a certain path you must take to go from class to class. This includes not taking a certain walkway, staircase, and/or not walking on the grass. All of our uniforms of the day must be in good standing, meaning that it has to be ironed so you can see the creases, there must be no lint, and your shirt must be tucked in so you have a clean finish. Yes, we do Physical Training, PT, and yes we must wear a face mask when training (according to my university we do, not too sure about other military colleges). Well I hope this gives you a bit of insight of what the standards are to be in this program and all I have to say is welcome to a day in my life and I hope you enjoy it!
Hello! My name is Iolani Mangoba, I am a freshman at Mary Baldwin University, MBU, I am a Criminal Justice major and also a part of the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership, VWIL.
5:10am: A typical Monday for me is waking up to get ready and be in uniform. I start off with my morning routine by going to the bathroom, going back to my room to brush my teeth, and washing my face and moisturizing. After that I am a little more awake and do my hair in a military bun. This typically takes me about 5-15 minutes if my hair cooperates with me. I then get into my uniform of the day and make sure my shoes are shined, my uniform has no lint and is ironed well.
5:45 am: I make my bed, make a cup of coffee, and straighten out my room.
6:10 am: I have to go to the parking lot of my dorm and get in two formations, basically two lines, where upperclassmen, also known as Cadre, will escort us to Monday Morning Formation, MMF. Once we start marching, a Cadre will either call cadence for us to be in step, or call on different platoons and someone from that platoon calls it. Once we’ve made it to the Student Activity Center, SAC, we let the people with the guidons enter the building first. Guidons go wherever we go when the whole Corps meets, if we forget it back at the dorm or anywhere on campus, the first years in that platoon will have to do something to get it back.
6:45am: We start with falling in with our respective platoon to say the national anthem. Afterwards, our Platoon Leader will inspect each and everyone of us in the platoon to see if our uniforms are in top shape. Once my uniform is checked I must ask to fall out and from there I have to go to Virginia Military Institute, VMI, for my ROTC classes. VMI is about an hour from MBU so during the commute I usually sleep or talk to my friends that are also enrolled in the same classes as me.
8:50 am: I arrive and finish my ROTC class.
9:50 am: I arrive back at campus in the parking lot which is near the SAC. And I will go back to my dorm to rest and relax.
10:45 am: I will go to my English class that goes from 11:00 am to 11:50 am.
11:50 am: Once I finish class I get some food from the Cafeteria and then walk to my dorm room since we are not allowed to eat inside because of covid. But along the way if I happen to pass by Cadre(s) I must verbally greet them by their rank and last name. Once I get to my dorm I usually like to eat while I am watching YouTube or Netflix, or I have lunch with my friend if we are both available. After lunch I go back to my room to either take a nap or do some homework so I do not have to do it later.
1:45 pm: I have to walk over to the SAC once again to go to my Art Class. I never really got to appreciate how much making your own art is so therapeutic and how it lets all of your thoughts and worries go away.
4:40 pm: My Art Class finishes at 4:40 pm so I miss PT. I usually have to make it up by myself so I can keep in shape. After class I have to head down to the track in my winter PT uniform because after PT the corps usually has announcements.
5:30 pm: I go to the cafeteria to get dinner and then head back to my dorm. I usually do not like eating when I feel like I am not clean, so I usually take a shower than eat. I end up eating around 5:50 pm then I just relax in my dorm room until study hour.
7:00pm to 10:00pm: Study hour is mandatory for freshmen and we are not allowed to be on our phones and must have the door open to a 45 degree angle. Once study hours are over I usually like to relax on my bed and hangout with my friend on the floor.
10:30ish to 11:00: I usually go to bed and wake up early the next day to make up the PT that I miss!
Thank you for reading about my typical Monday morning and for those who are thinking about doing a ROTC program, do it because you will meet new people and gain a new family! For others who are not interested and are interested in college, take a gamble and go to college out of your state because who knows what other doors may be waiting for you! Have a great rest of your day wherever you are and remember change is good!