While juggling 15 credit hours a semester becomes a stretch for many students in college, there are students on the other end of the spectrum who are managing their military lives alongside their academics.
Cheria Chiglo, a senior criminal justice major from Mankato, Minnesota, is a part of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Troy. Chiglo, currently on active duty, said that while the early mornings and late nights may have seemed like a hindrance to her education at times, it has made her overall quality of education better.
“With the discipline I have developed from the military, I manage my time as needed, finish work more efficiently and keep a tight schedule when hitting deadlines,” she said.
Chiglo said that the opportunities provided by the program, which paid for her college education, encouraged her to join the Army. Growing up in a military household was another influencing factor.
Kyle Horne, a sophomore social science education major from Bainbridge, Georgia, said a childhood desire to sport the Marine uniform led him to join the Marine Corps.
“Kind of a lame story, but when I was in the fourth grade, I saw a Marine in dress blues walk into my elementary school,” Horne said. “I said then that I wanted to be able to wear those one day.
“Marines are known in a number of different ways to be the ‘best’ or ‘most disciplined’ at a number of different things. For me, there was never any hesitation. I wanted to be a part of what I considered to be the best.”
Horne said that as a reservist, his obligations are not “excessive by any means” and rather manageable alongside his classes. “One weekend a month, two weeks in the summer and barring any deployments that may come up isn’t too bad of a gig,” he said.
Horne said he feels that joining the military — regardless of the branch — is a good thing for anybody. Even if one thinks that he or she is responsible and disciplined, boot camps always teach a person more and can make a person better.
He said that at the age of 18 or 19, fresh out of high school, joining the military could help anyone learn to be a man or a woman. It teaches invaluable skills that can help an individual personally and professionally down the line.
Jake Cook, a recent Troy graduate who was a part of the Army ROTC program during his undergraduate years, said, “I didn’t hesitate because I knew I wanted to be in the military since I was younger.”
“Sorry, guys, I gotta go home and sleep — I’ve got PT in the morning,” was a common phrase that he had to use. But while he may have had to cut down on the time he spent with his friends, being a part of the ROTC program, he said, helped him open up and improve his communication skills.
“Without it, I would be a very timid and shy person,” he said. “It really helped me to open up.”
Chiglo said that she is the person she is today due to her Army training. “The military has shaped me in many ways, such as through leadership, discipline and increased work ethic,” she said.
“Through ROTC, I have had the ability to attend Army Airborne School, which was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. I have also been able to maintain a healthy diet and keep in shape.”
Chiglo’s reservation about the Army was all the travel that it included and being unable to stay in one location. “I still worry about it, but I don’t look at it as a disadvantage, but more of an opportunity to see new places,” she said.
According to Chiglo, taking night classes and working extra hard to finish her work, even when she was tired, was difficult when first starting out. Being a part of the Sound of the South, Troy University’s marching band, added to her time commitment.
“I have also had a few weekends a semester where I had to miss class in order to attend a training event where I was unable to do any kind of work for school,” she said. “It was difficult at times to keep up, but it made me stronger as a person and great at multitasking.”
Horne said that during initial training, he had to miss an entire semester of school and most of his summer, which proved to be a definite hindrance. “But, in the grand scheme of things, the pros for that far outweigh the cons,” he said. “Most of the time, I will have to miss my Friday classes for drill, but they are excused absences. Not really that bad, but take it for what you will.”
Horne said that although people do not join the military for respect or honor, he feels it allows him to walk around campus with his head a little higher. “Most people here don’t even know I’m a Marine, but those that do are always willing to show some love.”