Cadet Ryan Cho: My name is Ryan Cho. I am in the Army National Guard, and my rank is cadet. I currently attend Columbia University in the city of New York. My major is political science, with a focus in American politics.
I actually always wanted to serve in the Military, but for my family, definitely, and for myself, education was a priority. I actually didn’t know about the National Guard until I entered college. I didn’t know about that reserve option. And that allowed me to both attend college, and serve in a branch of Service in the Military, and serve the country.
The Army National Guard understands that a lot of the new people that enter are going to be younger and are actually attending school because that’s one of the benefits of being in the Army National Guard. So, I actually enlisted under what’s called the Split Option Program. The Split Option Program allows you to attend Basic Training during the summer, and then attend AIT, which is Advanced Individual Training, the next summer as well. And so, you’re able to split that training up so that you’re not missing school time, but you’re also able to start your service.
So, in ROTC, we have, kind of, three different types of trainings. One is physical training, of course. Then part of our training is devoted to military science classes. That’s where we’re learning
tactics and how to apply different principles of military strategy. And then in lab, we’re taking what we’re learning and applying that in a practical setting. So, we’ll actually be leading Soldiers, doing simulations and drills, in order to make sure that we understand those principles that we’re learning in class.
Time management is really important, and that’s one of the things that they stress in the training for becoming an Army officer. And at the end of the day, if you, you know, do that time management, not only am I able to participate in all of these different activities, but I’m also, you know, able to have a social life, go out with my friends.
Hurricane Irene was actually my first activation. So that, I mean, was basically why I joined the Army National Guard, not only because I wanted to serve my country, but also the state. And so being able to be activated and participate in a mission that was, you know, helping my neighbors, and my fellow classmates in New York City, was just an amazing and grateful experience.
I think the Military is a great option for people looking to serve, not only because you’re able to contribute back to, you know, your country and state, but you’re also able to develop yourself personally and get education, military training and a lot of personal development out of it as well.