Name: Sam Veenstra
Hometown: La Crosse, WI
School: University of Wisconsin – Madison
Major: Political Science and Russian
MS Year (2022-2023): I
Hello, my name is Sam Veenstra and I’m from La Crosse WI,
Upon graduating high school, I heavily considered enlisting in the active duty Army but ultimately was convinced by my mom as well as some of my teachers to do ROTC instead, a decision I’m very glad I made. In my first year in ROTC and at Madison, I loved it. I participated in Ranger Challenge, Northern Warfare Challenge, Ranger Buddy, Colorguard, and Bataan Death March. Through these different events, as well as weekly ROTC lab and military science class, I felt like I became much more confident and knowledgeable about military operations, as well as learned good skills to have such as communication and physical fitness. Participation in ROTC activities also allowed me to become much closer to other cadets, even cadets who were 2 or 3 years older than myself. In addition, ROTC has also provided me with tuition assistance and a monthly stipend, making it easier to focus on class and not so much on worrying about the financial side of college. Plus this summer I get to attend Air Assault School.
On campus, I joined the Political Science Student Association, the WIM HOF club, the FORUM debate club, and went to some practices with the Jui Jitsu club. I’d also hang out with friends and go for hikes at Picnic Point, as well as partying on Game Days.
If I had to give advice to incoming freshmen, I’d say just go for it. If you think a club sounds fun, go to it. If you want to try out for Ranger Challenge, do it. If some people from your dorm are going to get ice cream at Memorial Union, go with. You never know what people might end up being your best friends, or what activities might end up being a big part of your life. With all that being said, make sure to find a balance because school and your classes are very important too. But have fun, don’t stress too much, and make freshmen year great!