"It was rough," said Grant, who recently retired from the college. "I think they were rougher on you then than they are now. Of course, every generation thinks that."
Grant was sitting in the chair of barber Alton Jarrard, who has been cutting hair in Dahlonega for more than 40 years.
Down the way, young freshman members of the cadet corps at the college were seeing their locks sheared off as one of the first steps in their orientation.
Most already wore their hair in a short style, so the haircut was just a good trim.
It wasn't always that way.
"Back when they wore their hair longer, I saw a few of them cry," Jarrard said.
The cadets came in groups of 10 for their shearing. While waiting on others to get their haircut, the new recruits, wearing T-shirts and shorts, sat on an outside wall reading a basic guide to cadet life. The booklet included information, such as the words to the Army song.
The young men and women reported Tuesday morning for a week of rigorous preparation for the life of a ROTC cadet. The experience is a miniature boot camp for the cadets, who are called FROGs, which stands for freshman orientation group.
The first day, which includes a little shouting that could be heard echoing through the campus, is an introduction to military life. Uniforms are issued, dorms are assigned and cadets are given a taste of standing, marching and following the commands of their officers.
Today, the cadets will give physical training a try. They will do sit-ups, push-ups and run two miles ... all before breakfast. That same schedule holds for the rest of the week.
Other events of the week include a trip to the training course at Pine Valley, which will include a bit of crawling around in the mud. Later in the week, the cadets will see how the pros do it during a visit to Camp Frank D. Merrill, the training grounds for the U.S. Army Rangers.
"It's supposed to be tough," said Tom Kruklis, a cadet master sergeant who graduated from Flowery Branch High School. "This is preparing them to be a cadet."
Kate Maine, a college spokeswoman said that while the military training is now optional, the college has a rich tradition with the military.
"The military tradition at North Georgia is very important and will be growing over the next few years," Maine said. "As one of the six senior military colleges in the United States, we have been given a directive from ROTC cadet command to increase the number of officers we are commissioning each year."
Currently, about 50 graduates of North Georgia are commissioned each year at the rank of second lieutenant. The military wants that number to double.
In addition to North Georgia, the senior military colleges in the U.S. are Norwich University, Texas A&M University, The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech.