Cristina Trecate is a sophomore at Rutgers University who is studying towards a Communications major and a Women & Gender Studies Minor. She’s involved on campus as a member of Rutgers Circle K, a community service organization, as well as the Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program.
I AM RU: Why did you decide to get involved with ROTC?
Cristina: When I first arrived at Rutgers I was actually looking into doing Air Force, but then I decided I wanted to give myself time, during the first semester, to settle in and adjust to being in college. So, my second semester, I decided to drop by the ROTC office out of curiosity to talk with someone and see what it was all about. I spoke to one of the captains and she was able to guide me and help me with my decision. I eventually joined Army ROTC!
I AM RU: So what do you do on a daily or weekly basis?
Cristina: Every single morning we have PT, which is Physical Training. I wake up at 6:45 AM and head over to the ROTC detachment house to make our first formation. At about 7:30 we start doing physical training and what we do varies from day-to-day. On Mondays we do cardio, on Tuesdays we do something called Improvement PT where people with low PT scores can work on raising them, on Wednesdays we focus on core and strength, and finally Thursdays are a free-for-all.
Fridays are a little bit different – we have a 6-hour lab, which is sometimes extended. The lab focuses on allowing us to apply tactics, theories, and ideas that we learn about in our ROTC class to real life situations. It’s hard to compare the experience to what we’re going to be really facing out there but it’s a great way to get a better feel for it. The earliest I’ve woken up for lab was about 4:30 AM.
I AM RU: What is an example of an activity you’ve done for one of your labs?
Cristina: During this time of the year we do a lot of road marches where we will be carrying rucksacks between 50-70 pounds. There will be all kinds of equipment hanging off of them such as canteens and LBEs, which are pouches including handy tools such as a first aid kit. We’ll walk from College Avenue to the Kilmer Woods on Livingston Campus.
I AM RU: Does your experience in ROTC relate to your communications major?
Cristina: Actually, one of my options for when I commission as an officer is to become a Signal Corp Officer. Signal Corp deals with military intelligence and telecommunications – as a communications major a lot of the classes I’ve been taking that cover topics such as telecommunications and informatics teach me things that I can apply to the Signal Corp Officer position.
I AM RU: So what would you say is your favorite thing about being a part of ROTC?
Cristina: There’s so much I like about it – I think one of my favorite parts is the people you get a chance to meet. I’ve met a lot of awesome people through ROTC and, actually, my current roommate is also in ROTC and we’re basically sisters at this point! It’s something I just look forward to everyday. The whole point of ROTC is to make you a more competent and capable leader and it has really helped me build on my own self-confidence and self-esteem. It pushes me to be better, physically and mentally, in every way possible.
By: Jen Hsieh