Army Reserve presents SBCC students with opportunities

Students+enrolled+in+the+University+of+California%2C+Santa+Barbara+Reserve+Officer+Training+Corps%2C+during+beach+physical+training+at+Goleta+Beach%2C+2014.+Image+courtesy+of+Cody+Thompson%2C+Santa+Barbara+City+College+sociology+major+who+is+dual+enrolled+in+the+UCSB+program.

Courtesy Art

Students enrolled in the University of California, Santa Barbara Reserve Officer Training Corps, during beach physical training at Goleta Beach, 2014. Image courtesy of Cody Thompson, Santa Barbara City College sociology major who is dual enrolled in the UCSB program.

MEGAN RANDOLPH, News Editor

Waking up at 6:30 a.m. three days a week, City College students in the UCSB Reserve Officer Training Corps can be found running, swimming out to buoys and racing each other on surf boards.

These exercises are part of their physical training, which must be taken along with other leadership courses in the program. Global studies major Dylan Donovan-Smith discussed a particularly challenging leadership training exercise held every Spring quarter in San Luis Obispo.

“You’re operating off five or six hours of sleep or so, kind of a high pressure environment,” said Donovan-Smith. “The last day we were there, they woke us up with a bunch of fake explosions, and gunshots you know, four in the morning in our sleeping bags… like okay I’m awake now, here’s my coffee.”

City College students can dual enroll in the UCSB program, and then transfer to complete the total four years.

During the first two years, if they pass a physical fitness test, security clearance and drug tests, students can choose to contract with the army. Once contracted, the cadets can apply for scholarships as well as receive monthly stipends. The contract requires a commitment of eight years in military service.

“I want to go medical just because all I want to do in life is help people,” said sociology major Cody Thompson. “And if I go in reserve, I think hopefully they’ll send me on humanitarian missions.”

Thompson is studying in the medical program, and received a scholarship that pays for his housing and gives him $5,000 every six months for three years. The program also pays for his City College tuition.

Thompson plans to go into the Army Reserve only part-time after college, to fulfill his other goal of becoming a firefighter. He said the leadership training in the program brought him out of his shell.

“In high school I was really quiet, really shy, and after joining ROTC it’s just the complete opposite,” Thompson said. “It’s really weird to think, but it teaches you to be really outgoing and talk a lot more, because you have to be in control.”

The program requires students to maintain a 2.5 grade point average. Their grade point factors into their ranking, which is then used to determine which graduates get priority for the jobs they desire.

“You kind of feel the pressure of like, you’re representing the ROTC program,” said Donovan-Smith. “So it kind of pushes me to do the best that I can, so I don’t look like a screwup if that makes sense. You kind of keep in mind that you have a reputation on your shoulders.”

The training corps also offers participants the chance to learn about other cultures, through its Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program, in which they can live in other countries and study language at the universities.

The cadets also spend time volunteering, in things such as the Veteran’s Day parade, the Santa Barbara marathon and the military Veteran’s Day Ball.

Both Donovan-Smith and Thompson agreed their motivation to join the program was to protect and help people.

“It goes without saying that you as a person are probably a patriotic individual,” said Donovan-Smith. “Because you’re there to get shot at for your country.”