All the Sookmyung students must have seen students carrying black briefcase who wear black berets and tidy uniforms, at least once. They are the ROTC students. Last year, SMU was designated as the first women’s university which can have an ROTC course of study. In the competition with other women’s universities, our school won and it became a big issue both in and out of our university. However, compared to that, it is true that there is a lack of information among SMU’s students about curriculum or benefits.
All the Sookmyung students must have seen students carrying black briefcase who wear black berets and tidy uniforms, at least once.They are the ROTC students.Last year, SMU was designated as the first women’s university which can have an ROTC course of study.In the competition with other women’s universities, our school won and it became a big issue both in and out of our university.However, compared to that, it is true that there is a lack of information among SMU’s students about curriculum or benefits.The Sookmyung Times (SMT) gathered information and interviewed related figures.
Specific Information about ROTC
Sookmyung Women’s University was approved as the first women’s university to establish Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) on September, 2010. It selected 30 students as a first women ROTC in November, 2010. The goal of ROTC is to select outstanding students among undergraduate students, and train officers who have both major study and military knowledge through two years of educational training.
-The Conditions of Joining ROTC
The one who wants to be a ROTC, should be in school as a sophomore. Credits of each year must be over 80 percent of the application credit. Also, credits of all year should be over C. If one satisfies the above conditions, she can apply for ROTC. There are two stages of selections among students who apply. The first one selects two times of number students by just written tests and university credits. After that, the second selection is run by interview, examination of physical strength, and physical examination
SMU is fully supporting ROTC by various advantages. The university pays four years of scholarship for all the ROTC students. Also, every member of ROTC has a chance to be picked for the Global Explorer program. Besides, all ROTC students have their own dormitory and dormitory fees are also supported by the university. Aside from all theeconomic support, the university helps academically. The university backs up ROTC students to get professional certificates and it also runs a 1 to 1 mentoring program, and this programs’ mentors consist of major figures from the military, political, and economic field.
ROTC in Society, Beyond University
In Korea, the ROTC system has a 47-year history and the number of officers is about one hundred fifty thousand. The enormous number of ROTC officers is forming huge social relations. By the knowledge from each person’s major study and leadership they learned while doing the military service, ROTC graduates contribute largely to the nation and society’s development. In every field, political world, financial world, media world, and educational fields, many ROTC graduates are playing a pivotal role.
Also, another good point of ROTC is that there is no rigidity among officers which easily appears in the military system. ROTC officers are soldiers for sure, but also members of society, so they are widely considered to have flexibility which other professional soldiers lack. The reason why ROTC graduates are taking pivotal roles in each field is that they have leadership, affection and responsibility to each group which was educated through the ROTC educational system. Also, there is a word that “Three things don’t exist and only one thing exists.” in the world of ROTC. “Three things don’t exist” means no school relations, no personal relations, and no blood relations. “Only one thing exists” means there is only ROTC senior-junior relations.
SMU’s 217th ROTC started from the goal of the president of SMU, Han Youngsil: We can win the first place! Then what are the strong points of SMU’s 217th ROTC compared with coeducational environments? Discipline officer of SMU’s ROTC Kim Nami answered about this question. First of all, there are a lot of chances for female students. Because there is only the female Cadet, all positions are shared by them, not with male Cadets. Therefore female Cadets work at commanding positions and in this process can learn leadership very naturally. Also, Cadets show very enthusiastic attitudes in training programs, for example ball games, and learn the rules of communalism. However, of course there are regrets in women’s ROTC. As all advantages have weaknesses, the fact that only women are in there can be a weakness when competing with others. A Cadet who has an excellent physical strength in SMU ROTC can be a usual student among the male Cadets. As a result, students can settle for the present without following and competing with the males. Also some people worry about the activities after ROTC training. The society they will go to is the world of the men. When they go to the society called the military, women can have a hard time adapting. About this worry, Discipline officer Kim said, “ROTC training progresses toward the two ways. One is own school activities and the other is external activities with the other 109 ROTCs during the vacation. We use this outside activity wisely to improve in adapting. Also, we set the higher standard in physical fitness compared with other universities to have stronger strength. However, I think the most important thing is a Cadet’s effort.” In this way, SMU’s 217th ROTC keeps getting better as the first women’s university ROTC.
What the ROTC Needs: Pride, Responsibility And...
How about the Cadets’ thoughts about their ROTC? Most Cadets are satisfied with the present curriculum because they can learn and experience various areas and do intensified study about what they want. Also, they feel proud about the most up-to-date facilities in SMU ROTC and active support by the university. However, there is a regret, of course. About it, Cadet Kim Heeyeon said, “All things couldn’t be better than now but the only lacking thing is we don’t have seniors who can teach concepts about what is right and wrong.” Meanwhile, the first thing when the average students think of ROTC is their uniform. Cadet Choi Namjoo said, “Wearing uniform shows the position as ROTC’s Cadet. Therefore I think wearing it leads to a huge responsibility. Of course, I have pride as a Cadet and endeavor to keep my conscience when I wear plain clothes. However, I am more careful than usual when I wear the uniform.” Kim’s answer is not quite different from Choi. She, too, has pride for her dream and feels responsibility in ROTC when she wears the uniform.
However many students in our university still show an attitude of indifference to ROTC. Therefore it’s very important task for ROTC to be real SMU’s ROTC to not only Cadets but all sookmyungians.
Most Cadets said their reason for applying for ROTC was their dreams. Discipline officer Kim said, “We welcome a person who would apply for ROTC even if there were no present benefits. Maybe she has a mind that she wants to help the nation even a little. A person who applies for the ROTC to get something is likely to regret her choice and couldn’t endure the course.” ROTC’s fundamental spirit is living for the others, not for oneself, and it is very important in the military. Therefore ROTC searches a person who has pride, responsibility, and finally the most important spirit: courage to live for others.