Back to Army ROTC
EDSWARDSVILLE, Illinois (March 22, 2021) – Being a Soldier, a leader, means having the skills to adapt and overcome obstacles to achieve success in any situation. Every ROTC Cadet faces their own challenges, and for Cadet Paige Hall her hearing impairment could be seen as one by some – but not to her.
Hall, who is a Pharmacy major, has had hearing loss since she was 3 years old and has been using hearing aids ever since. Thanks to being diagnosed at such an early age and learning to adapt, she has been able to take part in ROTC at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.
She said she chose to start taking ROTC because she thought it would accent the skills needed to be a pharmacist.
“I knew I would be needing excellent leadership skills as well as other skills for pharmacy school, so I decided to join the ROTC program due to learning that they offer scholarship and volunteer opportunities, help improve physical fitness, leadership skills, and discipline,” she explained. “So far, ROTC has taught me that everyone can be a leader.”
“I know for a fact that ROTC has bettered me as a person by teaching me how to communicate with others,” Hall added. “I also feel they bettered me as a person and a leader by having several volunteering opportunities and helping me go outside of my comfort zone.”
The Washington, Missouri native said that while hearing loss presents its own obstacles, she has been able to use it to push herself to take on any challenge.
“I have always had challenges due to my hearing loss, but my parents raised me so that none of those challenges would affect me and my future. This may involve a little more studying, or asking more questions, but I have been able to overcome all of these obstacles to get me where I am today,” she explained.
Hall went on to add that she has seen her hearing impairment as a leading to a life that she has no regrets about.
“I have always had ups and downs when it comes to my hearing impairment, but if I didn’t have this, I believe my life would have looked very different: I wouldn’t have met some of my closest friends, and I wouldn’t have gone to the same school district when I was younger, from elementary through high school,” she said.
It’s those experiences that help her to possibly be an inspiration to others, in and out of ROTC.
“I believe that I bring positivity to other Cadets while being in the ROTC program as a STEM major. I like being able to show people that I can be a STEM major and an Army ROTC cadet at the same time. I believe this encourages other people to consider joining the program, no matter their major,” she said.
Lt. Col. Timothy Clark, Professor of Military Science for Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, said Hall does exactly that, and with extra enthusiasm that shows.
“Paige comes to everything and “gets it” - that this is a team sport and a hands-on contact sport; you have to be present and give your best to get the most out of it,” he shared. “While other non-contracted cadets in simpler degree paths quit, or skip events, she is reliable and always has a great attitude. Others are drawn to her naturally, though she probably would describe herself as quiet and reserved; I have seen the positive attitude that results within any squad she is assigned.”
Currently, Hall is a participating Cadet, but both she and the ROTC staff hope that status will change in the future if her a medical review returns favorable for her.
“We hope to get Cadet Hall through her medical review and contract her. However, if ROTC cannot gain a waiver, we have also helped her link up with AMEDD recruiters for a future direct commission, Clark said. “She has told me after being around ROTC, being visited by alumni or other military leaders, that she absolutely knows she wants to be an Army pharmacist. We are always linked in with AMEDD recruiters to help us tell their story and our story to those low-density student fields; and meeting with them at some leadership labs last year and more discussions this year helped endear her to both ROTC and the Army.”
Clark said along with everything else, Hall is also one of the ROTC’s biggest promoters on campus.
“Paige brings the message to many of those intensely focused and fast-track minded students that number one, ROTC is a benefit to everyone - regardless of race, gender, or even with a handicap. Number two ROTC doesn't interfere but amplifies their college experience and making them competitive for the next level,” he explained. “Number three she breaks down stereotypes of what the average person thinks the Army experience is, it’s not drill sergeants screaming or a rigid mold that you are forced into. And number four, she displays that for the lower density and difficult STEM majors, and Varsity Athletes, Army ROTC flexes to ensure you succeed in your primary mission - college graduation because the Cadre know there is no ‘Lieutenant Hall’ until there is ‘College Graduate, Pharmacist Hall,’ or whatever STEM, nursing, or upper level professional degree path a student may be in.”
Hall is hopeful she will receive a medical waiver, but even if she doesn’t she plans to continue to stay positive.
“Don’t let anything get in the way of what you want to do in life. There will be obstacles and people who will tell you that you cannot succeed, but that’s when you push yourself to be the best that you can be and prove them wrong,” she said. “The motto I have always gone by in life is, if you want something bad enough, you will push through every obstacle you come across to get it.”
About Army ROTC
Army ROTC is one of the best leadership courses in the country and is part of your college curriculum. Through classes and field training, Army ROTC provides you with the tools to become an Army Officer without interfering with your other classes. ROTC also provides you with discipline and money for tuition while enhancing your college experience.
Army ROTC offers pathways to becoming an Army Officer for high school students, current active duty Soldiers, and for current National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers through the Simultaneous Membership Program.