By Crystal Allen
Leader’s Training Course
Each day the Cadets at Leader’s Training Course are training from sunrise to sunset. When 9 p.m. comes around, they get a breather.
Well, sort of.
Their nightly hour of free time is completely free. They still have to spend part of it prepping for the next day’s training. But after they’re done, much of the 9 o’clock hour is spent catching up on what’s going on back home.
“Basically everyone is fighting to get in the shower,” said Amber Odom, a Foxtrot Company and junior at Missouri State University.
Cadets spend the first part of the hour showering and packing gear for the next day. They have to pack an extra uniform and pair of boots and hygiene products like sunscreen and bug spray. Because they were just inspected they also clean their locker areas.
“I wouldn’t describe it as free time because we have to pack for the next day and get checked over by our squad members,” said Foxtrot Cadet Gabrielle Levy, a junior at the University of Illinois.
They use their remaining time to call home, usually to speak with their parents. It’s also a time for the Cadets to read mail they’ve received.
“I’ve gotten some letters and stuff so that was nice,” Odom said.
What the Cadets enjoy most is being able to tell their parents what they are doing at LTC.
“I call my parents to get some motivation,” Levy said.
Levy’s parents are always interested to hear about the activities she’s been involved with at LTC and how she has been able to handle some of the stressful situations she’s put in.
“Everything here has been testing me a lot; nothing has come easy,” she said. “I didn’t know anything before I came, so my parents are usually just curious since they don’t know anything about the military either.”
She always makes an effort to ask about the things going on at home too, which makes her miss it even more. However, she makes sure to remember why she’s here.
“I have the future in mind,” Levy said. “Being here is more important than just being at home right now.”
For Dylan Dull, a junior at Loyola University, calling home is a different experience than most. His dad was in LTC in the past and they compare their experiences.
“He did it, so it kind of motivates me to do it, too,” he said.
Other than the free day each company receives, this hour of free time is the only time Cadets have to do what they want. For 27 days it’s nothing but grueling training. Having free time keeps Cadets motivated.
“When you’re constantly moving from 5 in the morning until 7 or 8 at night, that hour of rest definitely helps,” Dull said.