Sara Isaacson, the former UNC ROTC cadet who was told to repay $79,285.14 in federal scholarship money after she informed her commanding officer that she is a lesbian, said she is relieved that the wait is complete and she is ready to re-enroll after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed Tuesday.

“It was just a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, just the sense of relief that it was finally here and the sense of pride that I was part of the enormous group of people that worked for so many years to repeal the policy,” she said.

Isaacson plans to return as a student in the spring semester to finish her last ROTC course, ARMY 402 “Officership,” before commissioning in May.

“I hope I’ll be able to get right back in swing of things,” she said. “I will have been out almost two years by the time I actually get back in, so I’m sure I’m a little bit rusty on some of the things that used to be very natural to me.”

When she was forced to leave the ROTC program, Isaacson worked at Borders until it shut shop. She now is filling in for an employee on maternity leave at the Medical Foundation of North Carolina as major gifts coordinator.

She hasn’t stayed in touch with the current cadets, though she knows most of the seniors and juniors, and hopes she’ll be welcomed back in January.

“It wasn’t me quitting on my commitment to the military,” she said of her decision to come out. “That’s something I’ve always held on to and valued and wanted to fulfill. I just wanted to fulfill it with integrity.”