Sam Rob ’18, center, and his Army colleagues on the track in Jadwin Gym
Photo: Frank Wojciechowski
A tough ROTC workout, culinary-lab class, wrapping up the thesis

Sam Rob ’18 is the command sergeant major of the University’s Army ROTC unit. He plans to be commissioned as an active-duty officer in June. We caught up with him in early April, the day before the Woodrow Wilson School concentrator was set to jump into the Fountain of Freedom after completing his thesis. 

Physical training I woke up at 5:50 for physical training with ROTC. I put my uniform on and jogged over to Jadwin Gym. I joined in with my cohort, and we were conducting 60–120s on the track: You sprint for 60 seconds, then you rest, walking around the track for 120 seconds. We did 10 iterations of that. I got a pretty good workout in, mostly because my brother, who’s a freshman in ROTC, was really pushing me. Then we did ab exercises and our cooldown drill. PT is a way to really get my energy up in the morning. 

Unit breakfast At 7:30, we went to Wu-Wilcox for breakfast. It’s very normal for all of the cadets to eat together; it’s kind of a tradition. I always get a five-egg omelet with pretty much everything on it, and some fruit and yogurt. I downed that pretty quickly since I had a training meeting at 8:30. 

Training meeting We drove down to the armory — the Princeton Army ROTC office on Alexander Road. It’s where all the cadre offices are. We were setting the goals for the week and keeping track of what different companies are doing. But primarily, we discussed planning and operations for our weekend combined-leadership training exercise that’s the culminating event for the spring semester, if not the year. Almost 300 cadets from Rutgers, Seton Hall, and all of the Tiger battalion — Princeton, TCNJ, and Rowan ­— are going down to train at Fort Dix. That’ll be fun. 

Thesis After the meeting, I needed to get back to editing my thesis. It’s titled “Reconciling Bioenergy and Food Production in Cuba: A Case for Integrating Competing Agricultural Models on the Caribbean’s Largest Island.” I worked on that until 11:30, then I sent it in to the printer. I called the printer to leave nothing to chance, and then I submitted it to the University library. 

Midday rest It was a very anticlimactic, weird sensation to finally be done with my thesis. The previous night, I’d gone to bed at 2:30 in the morning after working on the final edit of my thesis, so I got about three-and-a-half hours of sleep. I was exhausted, so I took a quick nap. 

ENV 303 I had a class at 1:30, “Food and Agriculture” — it’s a new class, integrated with Campus Dining. We have a lecture, then a culinary lab where they prepare food for us and we talk about that. We talked about hunger and malnutrition and their importance in creating a sustainable agricultural system. 

Second workout I changed and went to the gym. I try to always work out twice a day: cardio in the morning, and lifting in the afternoon. I worked out for an hour, then went back to Whitman for dinner.

Edited and condensed by Anna Mazarakis ’16