First-year cadet reflects on year, looks to future

Being the new kid on campus is never easy, but being a neophyte cadet in the ROTC program can often make this transition even tougher.

For freshman MSLI cadet Anthony Sinagoga, his first semester at Gannon University has not only been challenging academically, but physically as well.

Sinagoga has been participating in the military science leadership class and ROTC activities, where he has been gaining insight into Army life, and getting to know the other Cadets in the program.

He said that one aspect of the program that has stood out to him was the support the upperclassmen gave him.

The juniors and seniors have been helping him “grow and be successful in the program.”

He also described them as acting on what he referred to as the Army value of loyalty.

“They were loyal to me by not giving up on me, and gave me the confidence to push myself beyond my comfort zone,” he said.

Part of the upperclassmen’s mission is to encourage and instruct new Cadets.

He said that they teach the incoming Cadets not just about the ins and outs of ROTC, but also inform them of necessary attitudes and values.

Sinagoga noted their positive influence and said that it has inspired him to aspire to the same level.

“I hope I have given them the same loyalty as they have given me,” he said. “We’re like family, and I have felt that way since the first day of PT.”

Speaking of PT, or physical training, Sinagoga noted several difficulties he had to overcome in this aspect of ROTC.

Waking up for PT every week and early on Saturday mornings for training and other events can be a surprising adjustment for a freshman.

Understandably, Sinagoga said that “getting up at 5:30, three days a week, to PT is no walk in the park.”

However, he said that this was not the biggest challenge he has faced thus far.

“The most challenging part of ROTC is finding if this is the way your life is headed,” he said.

This is an internal debate that many Cadets find themselves having during their freshman and sophomore year, as they decide whether they are going to contract.

Contracting to ROTC means signing up to remain in the program after sophomore year, and then serving as an officer in the Army after you graduate.

It is a large commitment, Sinagoga said, and should not be made quickly or taken lightly.

“There are many opportunities to lead in the U.S. Army, but this [choice] is not for everybody.”

So, more than PT or the early wake-up, the challenge for him and many other ROTC freshmen lies in “finding if you are willing to push yourself and go beyond what college life dictates.”

The training and classes he attends, while they offer “insight into what Army life has to offer,” have only produced more questions.

Sinagoga said he has a lot to think about, but sees a positive outcome whether he chooses to make the Army a permanent part of his life or not.

“Regardless of the path I end up choosing, I will take everything I have learned from the program, and apply it to my daily life,” he said. “This decision was one of the very best I have ever made.”

 

CATE FELDER

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