ranvier90

Dropping out of ROTC

3 posts in this topic

Hello,

this is not really a "waiting" question but something has been haunting me for a long time now. I was in ROTC in college and also majoring in Neuroscience which was a heavy major. In ROTC I injured my right hand and had to take a medical leave. I also had a lot of personal/family problems that compounded during that semester. I didn't return back to ROTC mainly due to the stress of the heavy science course load from neuroscience. 

The thing that bothers me is that I feel a little shame for technically dropping out of ROTC. I remember talking to one of the leaders about my injury and then he stated "Oh so you are too weak", and I can tell myself over and over again that he was a jackbag but I've always been bothered with the idea of being weak whether physically or mentally. I can tell myself repeatedly that in general women don't have the same upper body strength than men do and that the military is not right for me but the idea of being too weak to handle it still bothers me. I tie it back to some heavy feminist ideology in college (no offense to feminist I just don't think the actions of most feminist (at least in america) match the definition of feminism so I'm not the most accepting of it) it was the ideology that women can and should do the same as men with the assumption that there are no gender differences. So ROTC was almost like a challenge to show that I could handle the stakes but yet it felt like I failed. 

Has any other female felt this odd "competitive/ashamed" feeling with not being able to compete against men? Does anything that I'm saying make sense?

 

P.S- I am a woman and I'm in grad school now in a Neuroscience grad program. 

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Hi Ranvier.  I am so sorry to hear about your injury and the other things you had to go through.   You sound like a very strong individual, and I admire you for going into a STEM field.  First let me say this. You are not a failure.  And you should absolutely not feel shame about what that rotc leader said... you made the right choice for you, and it doesn't mean you are weak or anything of the sort.

 

You, as a neuroscientist understand the biology that makes men and women, as sexes, quite different physiologically.  Humans are a sexually dimorphic species. You are right when you point out that we as women have 40% less upper body strength than men, and various other physiological differences that make us better at men at certain things, and not as good as men at other things.  That is a good thing women and men complement each other.  We each have strengths and weaknesses, and there should be no shame in recognizing both our limitations and our strengths.

 

After school (I got a bachelors in chemistry, then postbac for nursing) I seriously considered joining the Navy as a clinical nurse, but then I got cancer, and you cannot join the military until 5 years of being cancer-free.  I had always been tomboy that wanted to show I could do anything the boys could do, be just as tough.  And yet, as an adult woman, I disagree with modern western feminism as well, because I also reject the notion that in order to be equal to men, I have to imitate everything that men do, or compete with men.  I am already equal with men, I don't need to beat men at push-up contests to find worth as a woman.  There is a reason that pro sports are not co-ed-- it simply wouldn't be a level playing field, we would get steamrolled in something like football.  And yet, we can handle the pain of menstruation and childbirth in a way that most men probably could not. 

 

Wow that got long.. not sure if I actually answered your question, yikes. But I'd love to talk further if you want to pm me, and don't be discouraged-- I think what you are doing with neuroscience is awesome.

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I have always been pretty strong, I'm the one called on to do heavy lifting at work. In highschool I played softball and I wrestled. I always have to try by myself before I ask for help. I often surprise people with my strength, just because I am a woman.

With that being said, I know men and women have different strengths. Shoot, even within the two different sexes are different strengths. In wrestling there are different weight categories for a reason, a 215lb girl can easily crush a 115lb girl. Same as men and their weight categories. Everybody is different and nobody is perfect. ROTC is ALOT of work, especially if you are a full time student with a heavy course load. There are alot of other physical activities that you can do that wouldn't take up to much time from your studies. Crossfit, for example.

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