Life of a college student and member of the Army ROTC

An ROTC student performs a high-crawl in order to complete a stage of the drill set up to challenge each participant to push not only their bodies, but their minds. Photo credit: Richard Hirst

Leavenworth, Kan., freshman John Bohnemann and Spicewood freshman Rachel Ormsby aren’t your typical Baylor freshmen. In addition to attending classes, doing assigned reading and homework, they are also members of the Army ROTC.

As members of the ROTC program, they are required to do physical training Tuesday through Thursday for about one hour, attend a classroom session where they go over basic military structure and information a military cadet needs to know in order to be successful in the Army. In addition, on Thursdays cadets are required to dress up in full Army combat uniform for the day and attend a lab, which consists of practicing marching in formation and practicing saluting, among other things.

Bohnemann said the transition into college has been nothing short of exciting and a smooth transition because of Baylor’s ROTC program.

“I definitely think ROTC has helped me get accustomed and accumulated with the life of a freshman student at Baylor University,” Bohnemann said. “[They’ve] been very welcoming. The staff and the students in ROTC have welcomed me with open arms.”

Bohnemann, whose father went to West Point and has been in the military for 25 years, said he’s been around the military lifestyle and has grown up into it. Joining the Army ROTC program at Baylor only made sense for him.

“I definitely knew I wanted to do something in the military field, whether I decide to make a career out of it or whether I serve the four years that I’m required to serve,” Bohnemann said.

Advantages to being a member of the Army ROTC program include having full tuition paid, a monthly stipend, and there are also have scholarships available for members.

Bohnemann said what excites him about looking forward to the next four years in the ROTC program is the brotherhood and the sense of camaraderie that’s always present.

“Everybody here is very welcoming and very supportive of you so that’s kind of the one thing that excites me is that I don’t have to be nervous,” Bohnemann said. “I don’t have to be scared whenever I go to PT every morning or whenever I see one of the cadets because I always know that they are very self-embracing and they’ll embrace me whenever I’m struggling or anything like that.”

Outside of being a typical college student and a member of the Army ROTC program Bohnemann enjoys being active and doing crossfit training, doing outdoor activities such as hiking and camping and attending baseball games.

After graduating from Baylor with a business degree, Bohnemann hopes to join the Army as an officer and see where the future takes him.

“I plan to be an officer, which means I’ll have to serve 4 years in the Army and hopefully by then I’ll have a business degree and we’ll see during those four years if I want to stay in and make the Army a career or if I want to retire after those four years and pursue a business degree,” Bohnemann said.

Ormsby who comes from a long list of military members in her family said she decided to come to Baylor not only for its academic success but also because of its well-known ROTC program.

“Well Baylor has a great ROTC program, I knew some people who were in it before and really enjoyed it and it was something that I wanted to pursue,” Ormsby said.

She adds that she still feels like a normal college student despite taking a full load of coursework and being a member of the Army ROTC.

“I really like the structure of it, it keeps me accountable just in itself,” Ormsby said. “I mean I can’t let myself slack off or get behind. I make myself go to bed at a certain time because I know I have to wake up early.”

Outside of taking classes at Baylor and being a member of the Army ROTC, Ormsby said she enjoys going to Vertical worship gathering, hanging out with her friends, and reading.

“I really just like hanging out with friends. Quality time is a really big deal to me; I just like hanging out with people,” Ormsby said.

Ormsby, who plans to go to physical therapy school in the future, said she is looking forward to what she is going to learn in her major and apply it in the Army.

“I just think it’s going to be really cool to be commissioned as an officer in the army and I’m really excited for that,” Ormsby said.