It Felt Kind of Odd to Wear It

“People did a double take when I walked in… I could feel them looking at me.”

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Transcript for It Felt Kind of Odd to Wear It

When I first started doing ROTC—Reserve Officer Training Corps—most people were surprised.  I’m not—I never really asked why they were surprised, but I think most of it has to do with it is a large commitment to say, ‘I’m going to do this for four years and then serve in the military after I graduate.’  On Wednesdays when I’m in uniform all day—because that’s when we go to Notre Dame for our leadership lab exercises and class time—at first they don’t recognize me, because I do look a little different when I’m—when I have my hair pulled back in the bun, you know, and put on the uniform, it’s very different, so…  Like, I’ve actually been walking across campus outside, and I have to wear a hat—we call it a cover—when I’m out of doors, so I’ve waved at somebody and they’ve just kind of skirted by me like, ‘I don’t know this person,’ so…  I wasn’t always, ‘Hey, I’m joining ROTC!  Ta-da!’  It was just kind of, I started it and then, ‘Oh, you’re doing that now?  Ok.’

I was terrified the first day—the first Wednesday I put on the uniform and went to Notre Dame.  The Army uniform has velcro patches for all the name tapes, and the flag patch, and the ROTC patch, so I was terrified that I hadn’t put those on correctly, that, you know, something was going to be wrong about my uniform.  And plus, it just felt kind of odd to wear it.  I had a bunch of classes on Wednesdays that semester, so I had to put it on in the morning and then go to class dressed up like that.  It was just—people did a double take when I walked in like, ‘Oh, ok.  She’s got on a uniform.’  And that was always interesting.  And I could feel them like, looking at me, kind of sideways looks like, ‘I’m not going to stare at this person, but what the heck?’ at the same time.  It was weird to have all that attention because I usually sit at the back of the classroom and don’t say much, so people were like, looking at me and wondering what—what happened.