Thursday, May 19, 2016

Training for Success

Written By: Alicia Griffiths
Program Intern, World Affairs Council of Atlanta
Student, Georgia Gwinnett College
Published: 5/19/2016

Three years ago, I entered Georgia Gwinnett College and joined Army ROTC. I immediately immersed myself in the military culture and built a second family with the other cadets in the program. Joining ROTC gave me a way to get involved in my community and learn a trade. I decided to make the Army a career in April, 2014 as I became dedicated to serving my nation.

Going though Army ROTC has challenged me more than I could have imagined and provided me with experiences most people do not get. I have undergone two cycles of summer training and conduct weekly training that has continuously pushed me to my limits. I have proved to myself that I can carry a ruck sack half my weight up a mountain and back down despite my bleeding feet. I can live in the woods with a poncho as my shelter and sticks as my bed and be happy about it. Moreover, I have gotten the opportunity to ride in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, shoot 249 and 240B assault rifles and be trained in infantry tactics.

Aside from the training experiences, I have gained a great deal of wisdom and knowledge about leadership and management. I have learned that one of the most important things about being successful is knowing how to interact with others and maintaining a positive attitude. My commander, CPT VanBuren, has taught me what it takes to be a real leader and not fall into toxic behavior. It is important to take care of your soldiers first, because if you take care of them, they will take care of you. He believes “You have to make your soldiers not just die for you but want to die for you. That is how I believe my soldiers were.” Another important aspect of leadership is having motivation. If you are not motivated to do something, neither will your subordinates.

My experience at Georgia Gwinnett College has contributed to my success and advancement in international relations. I am a Political Science major and Honors Program member. Taking this major and being in the Honors Program allowed me to learn about Homeland Security and International Terrorism, international Organizations such as the United Nations, International Law, and Comparative Politics. The recognition I have received from building relations with the Honors Program Director and other Faculty/Staff at GGC has put me in the position of representing the school at various political and educational events. These include three GOP dinners and the Student Conference on U.S. Affairs at West Point Military Academy. I have also learned how to make an impact in my own community by volunteering at the Children’s Shelter, conducting road clean-ups and serving as judges at JROTC events.

Winning an internship at the World Affairs Council of Atlanta has furthered my understanding of the global community and prepared me even more for my future career. I have had the opportunity to interview a global executive and learn the importance of education on international affairs. Participating in the programs exposes me to a network of people and raises my awareness of other cultures. Obtaining this internship also resulted in me being asked to deliver a speech at the Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International Studies, where I spoke about my study abroad, travel experience and WACATL internship.

I am now five weeks away from commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. I am to be stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, where there is a high possibility for me to be deployed to Kuwait upon arrival. I cannot be more excited and happy about starting the next phase of my life and furthering my career. If it were not for Georgia Gwinnett College, Army ROTC, and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, I would not be where I am today.