by Tiana Lawrence
During freshman year, I was super excited to see what classes they had assigned me to. Going down the list, I was ecstatic until I saw “AR LEAD ED/TRAIN 1 – JROTC (Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps).” My excitement turned to anger. The first thing that came to my mind was the military. I didn’t want to go to the military. I’d have to dress up in that ugly uniform, wear those shiny shoes, cut my hair, and walk in straight lines everywhere I went. I told my mom she needed to get my schedule changed immediately. She told me to just try it for a few weeks and if I didn’t change my mind, she’d have me taken out.
Fast forward to today– senior year. Staying in JROTC has been the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. If it weren’t for this class, I’d have no idea what my post-high school goals would be. This class has helped me grow as a person. Before, I was not able to speak in front of a class. Now I have no problem doing it. Before, I had no idea what a resume was. Now I have a resume. This was very helpful with getting a job once I turned 16-years-old. I’ve learned good etiquette, people skills, leadership, and all-around just many things that a lot of people need in their everyday life.
In JROTC class, we do lots of group work. One project I love is working on winning colors. This is where you learn about yourself and about your classmates. Winning colors are used to classify an individual’s personality traits and determine their strengths and weaknesses. The colors are brown (builder), blue (relater), red (adventurer), and green (planner). Once everyone has their winning color, we are put in groups where each one of us represents a different winning color. Then, we’re tasked with projects that bring out the strength our color represents. Essentially, we learn to interact with those who are different from us, draw on their skills for guidance as well as our own, and transfer this way of relating to other areas of life.
Most students have the idea in their heads that JROTC is a class for military-bound students. But this isn’t the case.. When I first got into the class, they had us fill out a paper asking us what career we wanted to get into and what colleges we wanted to attend. Then, we had to research our top 5 colleges and what the requirements were to get into those schools. We were graded. There’s was no talk of the military. We were challenged to see how clearly we could lay out our goals – academic, in this case – for the future. For those interested in joining the military, instructors and recruiters help you get on that path. But JROTC is here to teach us life planning and leadership, not to make us soldiers in the military.