On an average day, life as midshipmen is not all too different from that of a traditional college student. On every school day besides Wednesdays, midshipmen wear civilian clothes, go to classes on their own schedule, eat where and what they want, and may not have any battalion evolutions to attend. On Wednesdays, everyone in the battalion wears a Navy or Marine Corps uniform, their option and the time of year will determine which one they wear. Also on Wednesdays is Navy Lab, the professional development session held every week where the battalion will host guest speakers, conduct leadership exercises, and even play paintball. Aside from the uniforms and Navy Lab, Wednesdays are another normal day.
There are a few evolutions every week that don't occur during school hours, namely physical training, or PT. Mandatory battalion PT is held every Tuesday and Thursday starting at 0530. While that may seem early to some, starting the day early is commonplace in the military, and it is the best time for everyone to get together. It doesn't take long for new midshipmen to adjust to the early mornings and start enjoying PT, designed for camaraderie as much as a good workout. Marine Options also have Semper Fi Society PT on Monday mornings; Semper Fi workouts challenge midshipmen both physically and as leaders, making them perfect preparation for Officer Candidates School.
Aside from classes and PT, every member of the battalion participates in at least one of the major competition teams, being Drill and Color Guard, Rifle / Pistol, and the Endurance Team. Drill meets are some of the most important events that take place every semester, and as such we work hard to be prepared, and to fill out trophy cabinets. These practices can occur anytime throughout the week depending on the team members' schedules, but do not take up any more than two or three hours time.
While this may seem like a lot, all of these evolutions add up to less than ten hours of commitment per week, and that is including any Navy or Marine Corps classes a Midshipmen may have. There is plenty of time for Midshipmen to live life outside of the battalion, but many will take on extra commitments to better themselves and the unit as best they can.
THE LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER
After completing construction in 1947, the University of Kansas dedicated a Military Science Building for use by the ROTCs. The buidling, known as the MSB, still serves as the home to the Naval, Army and Air Force battalions. Members of the Naval battalion will find themselves in the MSB on a regular basis, particularly in the Learning Resource Center, the LRC.
Sitting at the center of the MSB, the LRC is a lounge and study area exclusive to the battalion. Complete with computers for studying, conference tables for group work, a refrigerator to keep lunch fresh, and a television for down time, the LRC serves as the hub of the battalion during the school week. Shipmates enjoy spending time in between classes at the LRC rather than a library or crowded hallways, so it is not uncommon for the LRC to be full throughout the day.
On occasion, positions will need to be filled or duties completed in order to keep the battalion running. These duties, such as flag detail and running a competition team, are known as collateral duties. These duties are shared amongst everyone, and usually do not account for more than an hour per week.
Some duties, such as performing a color guard at a football game or handing out programs at a basketball game, are fought over by the midshipmen. Duties such as these promote a positive image for our unit, and allow midshipmen to get into games for free.