My name is Kyle Englander, a sophomore economics concentrator living in Mather House (virtually.) While the pandemic has altered much of the traditional experience of being a Navy R.O.T.C. Midshipman, here is what a typical day in my life looks like on campus.
It’s Tuesday morning and my alarm has once again woken me up at the crack of dawn: 0500 or, in civilian terms, 5 A.M. This may seem like an obscenity for the typical student who just spent the early hours of their morning finishing up problems sets, however, such is all part of the experience of being a Midshipman. Waking up this early forces you to be very efficient and purposeful with how you spend your time and in the end, you’re better off for it.
Now that I’m awake, showered, and dressed, I head over on my bike to the M.I.T. track and form up at 0600. Given that Navy R.O.T.C. at Harvard is hosted at M.I.T., it is important to budget some time to make this commute. Depending on the day we will do a circuit style workout or military drill for around an hour and then shower and head to class. Naval science courses at M.I.T. typically run from 0730 until 0845 and range from leadership and management seminars to naval history. Once class is over, the formal part of my day dedicated to R.O.T.C. is done all before most students have even woken up yet - what a feeling!
Harvard Midshipmen are very close and so it is very common that after R.O.T.C. we will all head over to Annenberg together and grab a bite and some laughs before class. The people, as cliché as it sounds, are truly what make R.O.T.C. so enjoyable. The rest of my day is like any other student’s. I have class, work through problem sets, and have a nap if I can. You will find many of your fellow Midshipmen in calculus or physics with you as those are required courses in the Navy R.O.T.C. curriculum. Having those familiar faces in class with me has acted as a great support system.
It is now 1500 (3 P.M.) - time to shift gears once again. Like many student athletes at this time of day, I head across the Charles River and meet at Harvard’s renowned Gordon Indoor Track Center for cross country and track practice. Being a Division I athlete on top of my academics and R.O.T.C. commitments has its challenges but is also very rewarding given that it is something I love to do. Practice usually finishes up around 1800 (6 P.M.) and the rest of the day belongs to me. At this point, I will usually go grab dinner with friends, work on some homework, and get to bed before I have to do it all over again.
Harvard, in my opinion, is all about finding the things that you are passionate about and pushing yourself to be excellent in those disciplines. For me, I have come to realize that there are few higher honors than getting to lead Sailors and Marines as a Naval Officer and, as such, the sacrifice and hard work associated with R.O.T.C. is well worth it. If service and leadership are important to you, I encourage you to take the challenge and join Navy R.O.T.C. at Harvard.