Photo: First-year Rook Brandon Sichak

The first-year Studies in War & Peace major from Miami, Florida, explains why he needs a new belt.

Tell us about the uniform you're wearing today.
This is the Corps of Cadets winter class B uniform. It’s black long-sleeve vs. the summer, where it’s white short-sleeve. With the winter, your collar goes up, and you wear a tie.

Any special reason your name tag is white?
My name tag is white because I’m a freshman, a rook. Until I’m recognized as a cadet, I don’t get a black name tag.

When do you get recognized as a cadet?
I don’t know. That’s a surprise for me.

Did you say your pants no longer fit?
My trousers are a little baggy, because I had lost some weight. I came here weighing 160. But I (now) weigh 140. I lost 20 pounds. I had to get all my uniforms resized. Like now I have to go back to the Uniform Store and get myself a new belt.

How did you lose 20 pounds in three months?
A lot of PT and a diet change.

That’s really impressive.
Back at home, I sat around all day because I was in a not too ghetto but pretty ghetto place. There wasn’t a whole lot to do. So I stayed in at home all day. When I got here, I was a lot more active. I didn’t eat as much. I made healthier food (choices). Stuff like that.

What kind of PT are you doing?
At first, I used to do PT for the Corps and the Army. Right now, I only do PT for the Army and tennis and sometimes I go to the gym. Tennis right now is not really an official team. We’re more of a club. But the bond is still pretty tight.

How’d you pick your major?
I’ve always liked history. It’s always been my favorite class in high school. Military history with a mixture of political science—when I first saw that for degrees and majors, I knew immediately, yeah, that’s definitely what I want to do.

How about French?
At some point in my life, I’d like to go to central Africa. Also, half my family speaks French. My mom was born in Port au Prince (Haiti). She came over here in the 80s.

Interview condensed and edited for length and clarity.

Norwich University Perspectives Project: COVID-19

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