There’s an old Army recruiting slogan — “In the Army, we do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.”
That’s why Ali McKay, a field hockey player, and Army ROTC member, starts her day at 5 a.m. She’s got a lot to do. This past fall, McKay was sworn into the Army. She participates with the Army ROTC at the university and is also a starter at forward.
Coming from a military background, McKay always knew that she wanted to serve her country. “My grandfather was in the Army, my brother just switched from the Navy to the Army, and my dad was in the Army. My dad told me about the opportunities for nursing in the Army, so I applied for the scholarship and was accepted,” says McKay.
The 5 a.m. alarm allows McKay enough time to be ready for ROTC workouts, also known as PT (physical training) from 6 to 7 a.m. The PT usually consists of push-ups, sit-ups, and running exercises. Following PT she will get a quick bite to eat and then head to field hockey practice from 9 to 11 a.m. three days a week, with class starting at 11 a.m.
“My day starts earlier when we go on rucks ranging from three to 14 miles,” McKay says. “A ruck is when you are carrying a
35-pound backpack and jog/walk the required the distance in a certain amount of time.”
“I balance my responsibilities by planning my schedule and dividing my time,” says the sophomore from Dover, Del. “Nursing is a difficult major but the topics interest me and my professors are very supportive. I enjoy learning and it makes it easier to find time to study for a subject I like.”
For McKay, her time playing for the nationally ranked field hockey team is the relaxing part of her day.
“I use field hockey as a stress reliever and I love going to practice, getting a good workout and spending time with my teammates,” says McKay. “ROTC helps me train for a future career in the military and it just really excites me. The timeline of events can sometimes seem overwhelming but I just take each day at a time and do my best and focus on whatever I’m doing at the moment.”
“It helps me with time management a lot. I know I can’t stay up until 2 a.m. knowing I have to be up at 5 a.m., so it motivates me to get all my work done.” •