Meet Jonathan, a Political Science major with a concentration in International Affairs who has a scholarship from the United States Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.
Describe your scholarship.
Basically what it entails is that I maintain a 3.2 GPA, maintain my physical standards, and complete the course requirements of a naval officer.
What was your high school like?
I played basketball all four years. Joining the armed forces never even remotely crossed my mind. Around graduation time, my uncle retired from the Navy with 32 years tenure and informed me about the Naval ROTC scholarship at which point I made the decision to accelerate my life.
Basically, joining the naval ROTC program has allowed me to gain structure within my college environment and lay a foundation for the rest of my life through the development and training of the navy as well as providing a guaranteed job when I graduate. I will gain vital work experience in my field as well as learn how to be in a team environment, which I feel is imperative to becoming a productive diplomat.
Why did you pick Georgia State?
When I graduated, I was accepted into Hampton Sydney University and Georgia State and I also had partial basketball scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Yale, and Columbia. Those scholarship offers did not cover the expenses incurred by simply being a college student. Furthermore, my mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. These key factors played an integral part in my decision to stay close to home.
Why did you pick your major?
I've always wanted to be a lawyer. As I grew, I began to see what my strong suits were and the areas where I excelled most were not necessarily conducive to being a lawyer but I seemed more suited to the life of a diplomat. That's why I intend to be a diplomat to a French-speaking country.
What is your daily schedule like?
Every day starts early. Most end late. Wednesday is my most hectic day. It starts at 5 a.m. and usually ends around 12 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday I have drill at 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I have an 8 a.m. class. I have an 8 a.m. class every day, really. I'm also attempting to complete the course requirements for ROTC which include multivariable calculus and physics.
What was the application process like?
Honestly, it was pretty rushed. I filled out the application the day before it was due on a drive back from Florida. With a little proofing from my uncle and my mother, who is a literary genius for some reason, I was able to proceed to the interpersonal interview. My interviewing skills did the rest.
What set you apart from other applicants?
I feel like the difference between me on paper and me in person was that on paper, I was just a smart jock. I graduated from high school with a 3.89 GPA and had all honors and AP classes and played basketball all four years. But generally speaking, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm a diverse person. The face to face interview was simply a strong backing for what I looked like on paper. I presented myself well, spoke the truth, and told them exactly what I expected to get from the Navy. They told me exactly what they expected from me. I signed the papers and got the ball rolling.
The requirement was simply that I complete the naval ROTC program. Upon completion I would be commissioned into the U.S. Navy as an officer. I would owe them eight years of my life — four years active, four years reserve.
What made you a good candidate?
I think that over the duration of my life I have been cultivated to maintain and uphold myself in a way that reflects greatly upon the people who have instilled values in me. I have always tried to display leadership traits and the core values of the Navy which are honor, courage, and commitment.
Who would you recommend this scholarship to?
To anyone who is willing to dedicate themselves to a cause greater than their own.
Who would you not recommend this scholarship to?
If you're not willing to work, if you're not willing to go the extra mile and take the road that's not often treaded, then this scholarship isn't for you.
Is there anyone who shouldn't apply?
Unfortunately, I would have to say that if you have asthma, that is going to be a problem. It's not something that the military is necessarily willing to work around. Anything else can be fixed through training.
What have you done outside schoolwork in relation to your major?
I've shadowed the DA for Douglas County Court Systems. I feel like a very important part of being a diplomat is knowing the community where you'll be working, so over the semester I've completed community service hours. Simply putting in the study time plays a major part in becoming successful in whatever field you choose and it also shows discipline. It shows that you have the drive within yourself to be able to prioritize and make the sacrifice where it is necessary for the betterment of your future even if you have to sacrifice some satisfaction now.
In your opinion, which part of your Scholarship is the most helpful?
It pays for tuition and fees, and it also gives me a book stipend and a bi-monthly stipend. The tuition and fee payment is the most helpful because as long as I maintain my GPA I remain HOPE-eligible. If I never need to go back to school I can use HOPE as an alternative means to paying out of pocket.
What is the most rewarding part of the Navy scholarship?
It's been really rewarding. They keep me in decent shape. It's stressful at times but I feel like the stress I'm dealing with now is preparation. I feel like if I can get through this I can get through anything. It's not the hardest thing to do but as an active person you have to learn to juggle your priorities. I make sure I balance things. It's not always about being serious but then again, there's a time and a place for everything.