Woodall’s story: Uniform driven life

Beth Sewell

High school was nothing more than a closet full of uniforms for Louisville sophomore Jill Woodall. From plaid skirts to Girl scout sashes to swimsuits – Woodall has seen and worn it all.

The first uniform she put on each morning was typical of a Catholic school girl – plain skirt, collared shirt and the occassional maroon sweater. The uniform was dull, boring and painfully predictable, but after wearing them for four years Woodall said they weren’t that bad.

“They were ugly, but it was easier instead of picking out something to wear every day,” Woodall said. “And those skirts were like Teflon, you could ball them up at the bottom of your closet for three weeks and they still wouldn’t wrinkle!”

Her personality in high school often matched the uniform, she was quiet, nondescript and tried to blend into the background.

“I was really quiet in high school,” Woodall said. “I joined some activities but I was never a leader.”

She came out of her shell a little when she wore her second uniform of the day: a swimsuit.

As a member of her all-girl high school swim team, Woodall often had practices with the nearby all-boys school. This was a welcomed change of gender scenery.

“It was strange to go from being with just girls all day and all of the sudden have a guy swimming in the next lane with a speedo on, but I got used to it,” Woodall said.

After practice, Woodall frequently put on her third uniform for a meeting – a girl scout troop meeting.

She joined her first Brownie troop at age 8 and continued through Juniors and Seniors. Her last active year was her senior year at Assumption when she won the Girl scout Gold Award, the program’s highest award.

“Less than half of Girl scouts get the Gold Award,” Woodall said. “You have to do volunteer work and project and stuff. It’s a lot of work.”

Of all the uniforms Woodall wore, her blue girl scout uniform is the most missed. She is looking into joining Western’s coed troop.

It has been two years since Woodall has worn a uniform of any kind. The adjustment, she said, has felt good. She has also gotten used to the presence of males on campus and in classes. That too is something Woodall said she considers a good change.

“It was so weird seeing people here wearing totally different styles of clothing,” Woodall said. “And having boys in my class was weird to, but I don’t really think about it now.”

Blue jeans and boys weren’t the only changes Woodall had made, she realized her personality had changed as well. She was breaking her social boundaries by shrugging off her sheepish persona and letting her aggressive side show.

“I’m in SGA now and I would have never joined student government in high school,” Woodall said. “My parents think it’s great that I’m coming out of my shell.”

Woodall said she feels like she’s living more on the edge now that she has more freedom.

Someday, Woodall said, she might make a quilt out of all her uniforms so she can show to any future children. Until then, the uniforms will continue cluttering her closet.

“I keep them all in my closet at home,” Woodall said, “I just don’t know what to do with them now.”