“I’ll miss the freedom of just doing whatever,” she said.
Smith applied to other schools, including Hofstra and Temple, and chose Norwich because of a scholarship opportunity. A JROTC member at North Country Union High School who worked at a catalog call center the summer before rookdom, Smith said she’s aware of the difficult experience ahead. She’s been running a mile or so when able. Jokingly nicknamed “G.I. Jen” by friends, Smith worries about 5 a.m. physical training, among other aspects of rook life such as discipline and learning the chain of command. “It’s going to be a challenge and a new experience,” she said. “So I’m trying to be open to everything.”
Haynes has been trying to learn Skype and Facebook to communicate with her daughter. “I don’t want her to go,” she said. “But Jennifer’s always been very outgoing—she’ll make the best of it.” The pair planned to spend their last day together getting pedicures [clear-coat finish for the future rook] near Burlington.
“There’s going to be an empty spot when she goes,” said Baker. “But Jennifer will handle Norwich. She’s not a quitter.”continue