Name: Megan Balkus
20-year-old, Megan Balkus is a junior from Chesapeake, Virginia attending Old Dominion University. She is an ODU ROTC cadet pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She plans to graduate in May 2020.
HC: Why did you decide to attend ODU?
I was originally was an exercise science major wanting to pursue physical therapy and I knew that ODU has an amazing DPT program so I honestly chose the school for academics even though I just recently realized that I didn’t want to continue on that track.
HC: When did you decide to join ODU ROTC and why (what inspired you)?
I actually decided to join the Army ROTC program a year late, so I joined as a sophomore. I always knew I wanted to be in the military, I just didn’t know when I wanted to pursue it nor did I know completely what branch I wanted to go. My mom had just recently retired from the Navy as a commander and she always told me “go Navy, go Navy” which kinda was my driving force to not go Navy because I wanted to be my own person and not exactly follow after her. She definitely inspired me as far as joining the military but I did my research as to which branch I would fit in to and could also possibly help me with college.
HC: Have you enjoyed being apart of the ROTC program?
I have loved being a part of the program! Even though it has only been a year you definitely become a family and never feel out of place. I’ve already made great friends and been learning so much.
HC: What has your journey been like with ROTC? (Do you currently hold any leadership positions?)
When I first started I was only friends with a bunch of the seniors so it took a little while to get to know everyone and make friends. The Military Science class helped with this because the cadre is very personable and the classes are designed to make you speak out and communicate with your peers. Each Company has a Platoon Sergeant and a Platoon Leader, these Positions are rotated every 2-3ish weeks, so I have had the opportunity to do both of these and lead PT.
HC: How does your major correlate to your future with the Army?
I hope to either be a psychologist that works with PTSD patients or be a dietician in the Army. My major correlates with that 100%. These both require more schooling which the Army would help me with.
HC: What struggles have you faced with ROTC?
The only struggles I can say I’ve had is getting accustomed to all the “rules” that I needed to learn about when in uniform as well as all the tactical information we need to know. It definitely takes some time to get used to and to learn.
HC: What have you learned from your experiences?
I have learned how to be a leader and how to take action on things told to me. I have learned to not be shy and worry about what people think of me.
HC: Have you faced any challenges by being a female in ROTC?
I have not had any struggles as a female..yet. Other than the personal hygiene part when being out in the field
HC: What is your advice to students interested in joining ROTC?
If you are interested in joining I definitely say don’t say “no” to doing it before not trying it out first. It could be one of the best decisions of your life. The opportunities for stipends, scholarships, and just the amount of knowledge you gain from the cadre. Just give it your all.
HC: What other hobbies/goals do you have?
Sounds like a funny hobby, but it is most definitely the gym and just my health overall. I spend most of my free time at the gym and making sure I have food prepped. I am also a nanny for 4 boys so that’s where the rest of my free time goes. I am a social butterfly so whatever free time I have left goes to my friends.
HC: Where do you see yourself in the future with the Army and your career?
I hope to get active duty when I commission and the dream would be to be stationed in Germany.
Megan is a dedicated student both in the classroom and in ROTC. Not only is she a genuine person, but she shows great passion for what she does and serves a great role model for future ROTC cadets.