Preparing for The Citadel – Parent Edition

The knobs check in with the company’s 1st Sergeant and turn in their phones. Remember to turn them off so they won’t be dead when they are returned in a week.

Each year about this time in the Facebook group for new parents some parents post that they are really stressed about the preparation. I try to be as caring as  can be and encourage these parents to begin to let go of the process and encourage their student to do the prep work necessary.

Since tuition is now really high, especially for out of state students, I understand the need for families to monitor expenses and to be concerned with the purchases needed to report to The Citadel.

For many alumni who tell tales of their parents dumping them at the gates and driving off on matriculation day these parental concerns confuse them. Sending a student to The Citadel today is a major investment. Out of state tuition is over $40,000 a year. Most families must watch their expense and it is a team effort to meet the expenses.

With that background I offer a few tips for new parents:

The Citadel is a leadership college. That means in addition to their academic major they will be learning leadership skills. Parents need to learn to step back and let their student take charge of their process. This includes getting everything gathered to report on Matriculation Day. Once they report you will not have any control of how your student handles their training. Start practicing letting go now.

The new parent Facebook groups help with basic questions and support. Do not spend your time trying to get everything “just right.” Each cadet and family are different there is not one right way to get ready for Matriculation Day. The future knob must prepare physically and mentally for the big day. They need items on the Success Packet list and should break in their shoes. How those things come together with vary with each person.

Last year the father of a knob sent me a video clip from Finding Nemo. In the clip a small sea turtle, Squirt, gets thrown out of the current. Nemo’s dad, a clown fish named Marlin panics and tries to go after Squirt. Marlin is stopped by Squirt’s laid back dad, Crush, who says, “Kill the motor dude. Let us see what Squirt does flying solo.” As a parent be like Crush, not Marlin. Do not try to intervene with your knobs experience. You’ll be amazed at what they can do “flying solo.”

The staff and cadet cadre have a strong tradition of training young students and molding them into strong cadets. Allow the process to work. If at any time you have concerns or questions, contact the parent liaison, Capt. Taylor Skardon, parents@citadel.edu. or one of the three Ombudspersons.

Cadre members lead knobs from the Cadet Store back to their company. August 2015
Knobs in the class of 2019 study their Guidons.
A 2019 knob reports to his company on Matriculation Day.

Time Management and Cadets: A parents' perspective.

The Class of 2019 take the Cadet Oath http://www.citadel.edu/root/2015-oath-ceremony
The Class of 2019 take the Cadet Oath
A video of the ceremony

Since 2008 I’ve been supporting parents of cadets as a volunteer. First through The Citadel Family Association and since 2011 on my own through this blog and a few Facebook groups I started for new parents. In the past 7-8 years I’ve noticed a pattern emerge to the questions, problems and concerns that are raised by parents of first year cadets, or knobs as they are called.

The week after Matriculation Day the parents are aching for a glimpse of their son or daughter through photos posted on the school web site or related Facebook groups. This year I was on campus until Tuesday after Matriculation Day and managed to take quite a few photos.(see links below) A few academic offices and cadet activities in addition to the Citadel Photography Facebook page posted quite a few photos.

The next stage is right after the knobs get their phone and computer access. This stage is when various concerns come up with the parents, usually around food and sleep issues. Some knobs contact their parents requesting items they didn’t bring with them. Related questions revolve around how best to ship care packages.

We are entering the period of time, a week into classes when the academic concerns begin to surface. Some knobs struggle with time management and feel over whelmed. It can be very hard for parents to hear the stress in their son or daughter’s voice. The stress for many parents is the adjustment from being the person who helped their student through high school navigate their class schedule and assignments through conferences with teachers and counselors, to now empowering their cadet recruit to seek their own support by using their chain of command, their academic advisor, and the academic support office on campus.

As I pointed out in the blog entry, Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel, the essence of being a leadership school is empowering students to take control of their experience. They will learn through a series of trials and triumphs. The temptation for many parents to assist is great. But parents must remember their child is at a school that values taking responsibility for ones actions. The best thing for parents to do is be their sounding board, not to take on their worries and concerns. The four years at the school will be filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. The key for parents is not to get on the rollercoaster with their child. You can serve as an observer offering tips of how to proceed, but not doing it for them.

Several years ago a former ombudsperson on campus told me how he helped cadets who came to him for advice. He said he would ask the cadet, who in their chain of command did they feel they could talk to about the problem/situation. If they didn’t feel they could trust the advise from the chain of command what about the company TAC officer, then an academic advisor, academic support center, or professor and so forth. The cadets are taught the roles of each cadet officer. They also learn the steps to resolve a problem. The best thing a parent can do is walk them through the problem solving by asking the same type of questions.

As first year parents are learning they too are making adjustments to a new normal. It isn’t just their cadet recruit. The school also has resources available for parents if they have concerns. The offices are located on the Office of the Commandant page under the H.E.L.P. link. If a parent just needs to talk to a fellow parent, the Citadel Family Association has parent volunteers who serve as company and battalion representatives.

The first year is one of many adjustments and “learning experiences” for both the knobs and their parents, but support is available.

Links to my photo albums follow:

Matriculation Day 2015 photos

Matriculation 2015 Sunday photos and Meet the Bulldogs

Monday after Matriculation Day

Oath Ceremony Monday Night

End of Oath Ceremony

Photos by Stacy Carter Studios (much better quality then my snap shots!):

Photos from CSI, Matriculation Day and others

Count down for The Citadel Class of 2018

Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their pT clothes.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes.

We are less than two weeks away from Matriculation Day for The Citadel Class of 2018. I thought I’d post a few helpful Facebook groups new parents may want to join or follow as well as a few links to helpful web pages on the school site.

By now your soon-to-be knob should have read through the Success Packet and have the items listed on the required list. Please note that there is a big change to the instructions for knobs this year. On page 7 of the Success packet the labeling instructions for clothes is listed. In past years all labeling was done once the knobs arrived.

The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.
The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.

The Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List” is just suggested items to pack along too. The iron is a must. Some companies do not allow knobs to have full size ironing boards so to start off send along a travel size board. Cleaning supplies are also good to send along at the beginning and just a few school supplies to start with since each class has different requirements a notebook or two and pens, pencils and a stapler are a good idea to send too.

Charlie Company knobs report.
Charlie Company knobs report.

Regarding social media:If your son or daughter hasn’t already their privacy settings on social media should be set very high. They should not have any photos with them wearing Citadel clothing, or any branch of the military. They also should not post anything with a Citadel related hashtag unless they want the attention of all the cadets and alumni before they start.

Your family and friends, including girlfriends and boyfriends of knobs should be made aware they should not tag photos of your knob that appear on public pages. They should also understand that this year a knob will not be able to return calls or texts at will. Be patient and then be grateful for what ever communication you have.

Facebook groups for parents:

The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 This group is only for parents of knobs in the class of 2018 or parents of cadets transferring into the school. Please send a private message to me on Facebook to verify you are a parent of a knob. You can also send me an email to verify you are the parent of a member of the class of 2018

Citadel Alumni Grad/Dad Advice – For parents of all cadets with some staff and administration. This group established by Paul Tamburrino offers information for parents in a straight forward manner, no sugar-coating here.

Facebook pages to follow (all family members may follow these pages):

The Citadel

Citadel Photography

The Citadel Bookstore

Citadel Family Association (CFA)

The Citadel Sports

A knob gets special attention Sunday morning.

Once your knob gets involved with various activities and departments there are other groups to join as well. Each battalion has a group and many companies have Facebook groups for parents. I usually advise parents to join the groups the first year but wait until after knob year to post to groups with parents of all classes in them. I also advice all parents to use caution and not to post information particular to your cadet to any group page.

The Cadre lead the Class of 2016 from the mess hall to their first meeting. The first week this process is repeated over and again.
The Cadre lead the Class of 2016 from the mess hall to their first meeting. The first week this process is repeated over and again.

Tips for Matriculation Day:

Make a list of all items you have to bring. Include your knobs wallet and ID on the list. Each year someone leaves theirs at home

Print out the information on the Office of the Commandant Matriculation Day page, especially the schedule for the day, traffic diagram, and necessary forms to bring.

If you arrive ahead of time, make a dry run to the campus from your hotel so you will avoid wrong turns the morning of matriculation day.

Remember to say your good-byes at the hotel that morning. Once on campus things move pretty quickly. Do try to snap a few photos of your knob when they come out in their “knobbie” clothes. They are great photos to look at four years later.

Read through the link on the left hand side of this page titled Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first day for additional tips.

Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

Bravo knobs meet the cadre right after the sallyport gates are closed, Matriculation Day, 2010
Bravo knobs meet the cadre right after the sallyport gates are closed, Matriculation Day, 2010

How to Succeed at The Citadel (and in life)

The Citadel

This past weekend Naval Admiral William H. McRaven gave a very moving commencement address for his alma mater, University of Texas-Austin. I encourage you to read or listen to the entire speech. He uses stories from his Navy Seal training to underscore his message. His advice applies to everyone, not just members of the military.

While I am not as articulate as the Admiral, I am going to take his ten points and apply them to life as a cadet at The Citadel as best as I can. If you are a cadet or alum reading this, let me be clear. I did not go through the fourth class system and can never really know what your experience was like.

After six years of volunteering to support parents and their cadets and after listening to alumni, I have accumulated some observations about the cadets who succeed at The Citadel and now wear the ring.

I do encourage you to read or listen to Admiral McRaven’s full speech.

He summed up the ten points he made in his speech as follows:

Start each day with a task completed.

Find someone to help you through life.

Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up

To paraphrase the Admiral and put the challenges in perspective for a knob, I’ve added a few tips below.

If you want to wear the ring:

Start each day with a task completed

Adm. McRaven talked about making their bed each morning for inspection. Knobs at The Citadel tend to make their beds then sleep on top of them since it takes so long to make the bed properly. Try to come up with one task you do each day to help you feel you have accomplished something that day.

Find someone to help you through life

Knob year, like life in general, is much easier if you develop friendships with your peers. All the cliché sayings fit knob year, “No man is an island,” comes to mind. The sooner you begin to work with your fellow knobs, the better.

Respect everyone

Knobs are thrown together with a wide variety of people. For many it is the first time to leave their hometown. Your classmates will be very diverse. You each bring something to the table that will help the class. Look for what gift your fellow knob brings to the table.

Respecting everyone may be hard the first year, still practice respect each day. You will see examples of good leadership and poor leadership. You are in a college. The cadre are college students and learning too. At least respect that they went through knob year and were selected to be your leaders.

Know that life is not fair

This is a tough lesson for many the first year. No matter how shiny your brass is, or how well you shine your shoes, or how great your grades are, or how well you clean your room, you will not receive praise from the upperclass cadets. Find the inner strength to say to yourself, “I know I’ve done the best I can do.” and move forward. Your “Sugar Cookie” moment may come during inspection or after an event. Keep moving forward.

You will fail often

Knob year you cannot do anything right. You will be yelled at, you will miss a few goals either given to you or ones you set for yourself. You will be disappointed and feel discouraged. Keep going. You are stronger than you think you are.

Take some risks

This is a tough one to follow the first year when most knobs want to blend in. Taking risks can be as simple as offering support to a fellow knob, or as bold as volunteering for a duty you are not sure you can handle.

Step up when times are toughest

You will be pushed physically and mentally. These times will make you stronger if you let them. You will feel like quitting, everyone does. Remember why you selected this type of school. Pull on your inner strength to get you through.

Face down the bullies

You will feel like you are dealing with bullies each day. Unlike sharks you shouldn’t punch the in the bully in the snout, but you should find a way to deal with them that maintains your integrity and shows your strength.

Lift up the downtrodden

All knobs feel like the downtrodden at some point. Build each other up. You’ll have enough people yelling at you. One day you’ll be feeling OK but a classmate may not. Soon the roles will reverse. Be there for each other. I don’t recommend breaking out in song in the middle of a difficult task, but who knows, maybe the cadre will laugh.

Never give up

Follow the advice above when you are struggling. Pull on the strength of your classmates, close friends and family. Push through when you feel like quitting.

Put your best effort forward, even after disappointments. Hold your head up high. In four short years you will wear the ring.

I invite graduates of The Citadel to add your lessons in the comments section below.

 

Welcome to The Citadel Class of 2018

waitingwithboxesEach year at about this time the search terms on my blog feature words all related to knob year and preparations for knob year. I’ve written welcome entries to new families for four years now. The tips and advice in each entry still stand. The links are posted below. I highly recommend you read each one. In this entry I will spend some time on recommendations for the various required items knobs MUST bring each year.

For the third year in a row I’ve posted a Facebook group for new parents. This year’s group. The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 has over 20 members so far. In addition to new parents, the group includes a few parents of graduates who volunteer their time to answer questions about this first year at The Citadel. If you have a student who will be in the Class of 2018 at The Citadel, please send me an email to request to join the group, dorie@dorielgriggs.com.

Each year the new parents seem to focus on a different aspect of required or Nice to Have Item on the official Success packet list or the Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List.” The parents of the class of 2016 asked a lot of questions about fine grade sand paper. The 2017 parents focused on the types of men’s underwear to purchase. It may sound silly even to those same parents now, but at the time these parents just wanted to make sure they sent their cadet off with everything they needed to succeed.

The most important items on the “Nice to have list” are the iron and travel size ironing board. Your cadet will iron, a lot. Spray starch is nice to have. Ask your cadet what they will want from the list. Shoe polish, rags, fine grade sand paper, a small plastic box with general medications, like ibuprofen and cough/cold medicine, band aids, Neosporin, and mole skin for their feet, are all good ideas to bring.

The list of required items changes very little from year to year. You MUST check the official list when it is posted for the Class of 2018. It will be linked on a Matriculation Day Headquarters link as well as to the Commandant’s Matriculation Day page on the school website. For this entry I will post what was on the list for the Class of 2017 with notes about the various items.

NOTE: The information below has been  updated since the first publication for the Class of 2018. 7/20/15

From pages 6 – 7 in the Fourth Class Success Packet for the Class of 2019: (Items in BOLD are my recommendations/comments)

CLOTHING/PERSONAL ITEMS

All cadets are required to furnish their own bed linen except for the bedspread and one blanket ,
which will be issued. Beds and mattresses are provided, but pillows are not. One plastic mattress
cover will be issued at cost to each cadet.
All cadets (male and female) must bring the following:
One pair [1] of conservative style pajamas (optional)

Many cadets wear their PT (physical training) clothes not pajamas. a bathrobe is issued to them.
Twelve [12] white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts

Double the amount of tee shirts (24) they should fit snuggly so as not to wrinkle under their uniform shirts.
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton underwear – at least 6 pair jockey shorts (male)

6 pairs of the “Tighty whitey” type men’s briefs are required. The 6 pair will be folded and kept in a drawer for inspections. Other type of underwear can be worn under uniforms. Many prefer the boxer briefs for under their uniform pants. The brands linked here are for example only. You can purchase whatever brand you prefer. DOUBLE the amount (24)
Twelve pairs [12] of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs

This is pretty straight forward for the female cadets.
One pair [1] of “long johns”

Long underwear top and bottom in a thin material and solid color are used for under their heavy wool uniforms in the late fall early winter. You can send these at the Thanksgiving break.
Twelve pairs [12] of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. Thick cotton socks are best. the Gold toe brand is good, but other makes are fine too. Some prefer the more expensive military socks to keep from developing blisters. Double the number of pairs of socks (24)
[Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and
in some cases secondary infections.]
Twelve pairs [12] of white, cotton athletic socks

Thick white CREW LENGTH socks are needed for knobs. The Gold Toe brand is good but others are as well. Look for high cotton content and no logos. Watch for sales at your favorite stores.
One [1] bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece)

Mostly black or blue. Minimal piping/stitching is OK. Lands End usually carries them, but you can find them at other stores or on Amazon. Sample of the men’s suit. Women’s suits at Lands End or Speedo or Tyr brands are pretty easy to find in a range of sizes.

One pair [1] of shower shoes [black]

Six [6] white, cotton towels

Double the amount of towels. Purchase in expensive towels form a store like Walmart or Target. They end up using their towels to clean. Do not spend a lot of money on good towels.

Six [6] washcloths

Double the amount of towels and buy inexpensive towels. Walmart has 18 for $4.00

One [1] standard sized pillow
Four [4] white pillow cases

Buy inexpensive pillow cases.

Four [4] white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed

Be sure to buy very inexpensive FLAT, not fitted sheets. They also use these to make banners. Most cadets make their bed then sleep on top of the made bed. DO NOT buy expensive sheets.

Twelve [12] white handkerchiefs

You can find these in Walmart or Target stores.

Toilet articles

What ever shaving and person care items your cadet uses. Include bar soap or liquid body wash. they do not need a a carrying bag.

One pair [1] of good cross training shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color
such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Buy the brand that fits your cadet best. Be sure they are broken in prior to Matriculation Day.

One pair [1] of good running shoes (non-marking soles) in a subdued color such
as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim.)

Many cadets have the same she for cross training and running. Buy what fits best.

Three pairs [3] of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with
physical training uniform

Compression type shorts that are optional under PT clothes

One pair [1] of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must
be and colored with a plain or capped toe
Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material
are not authorized [The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but
large sizes may not be readily available. Be sure boots are “broken in” prior to
arrival to prevent foot problems.]  Bates Brand, M-8 Desert Assault boots, 8″Height Other brands are available. You can order them online. Some sporting goods sell them at a good price. I use Google to find good prices.

One [1] clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized no larger than 32″L x 11″H x 18″W. Note: Do not search for a container meeting these precise specifications. Instead, look for something smaller than 32″ x 11″ x 18″. 

One [1] overnight bag (or another clear plastic storage container) for additional items that will be kept on top of the full press is authorized. This bag or container may not exceed 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. 

Containers: Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the Container Store carry containers that will meet the specifications.

Two pairs [2] of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that do not meet this criteria. Be sure all shoes are “broken in” prior to arrival to prevent foot problems.

Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 4:30. Call (843) 953-5166 to check on item availability.
Boots and shoes must meet specifications. See the Cadet Store letter for details.

Additional items for female cadets:

Five [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras
Five [5] white or beige sports bras
Five pairs [5] of neutral, black, or skin colored pantyhose

One pair of black, military style, leather or corfam, pumps with closed toe and
closed heel with a ½ to 1.5 inch heel. Shoes are not to have straps or
any kind of buckle or decorative styling.

I am told the female knobs to not really need the stockings and pumps the first year.

One black, leather or flat black vinyl military style handbag, no larger than 8 ½ by
11 inches, with or without shoulder strap. Suede handbags are not
authorized. Handbag may have a handle or shoulder strap with a buckle.
Handbag may not have any decorative styling.

The Citadel does not furnish bedding, cadets shipping their belongings to the college must
bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and their pillow for use until they can access their
belongings.

The following items may be brought with the new cadet or obtained later:

One desk reading lamp
One picture with frame – no larger than 8”x10”

Most knobs do not keep a photo on their desk

One radio/stereo/CD player/tape recorder/player – speakers must be no larger
than 12”x 24”

It is best to wait to have a device like this until after Parents Weekend.

Computer and printer

For the school computer recommendations see this link.  If your cadet uses a MAC there is an Apple store in Charleston.

Alarm clock
Oscillating fan ONLY – box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized

Not needed in all barracks.

LUGGAGE

If you pack in card board boxes and trash bags there is no need to use the storage facility.

Trunks and suitcases can not be stored in cadet rooms. Only one overnight bag for overnight
travel may be kept in the room. All other luggage is stored at the central warehouse at the risk of
the cadet.

Luggage may be shipped to The Citadel in advance of your reporting date. It should be clearly
marked with the cadet’s name and addressed to Central Supply, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street,
Charleston, SC, 29409.

Previous entries about knob year preparations:

The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

A Letter to The Citadel Class of 2015

Knob Year Notes for Parents

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first Day

Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.
Knobs pick up their new PT clothes (AKA Knobbie clothes). Note the cadet in the navy blue to the right.

A Few Tips for Parents of the Class of 2017

 

Caitlyn Lees, 2012 grad, sits at he sign in table with a cadet on Matriculation Day.
Caitlyn Lees, 2012 grad, sits at he sign in table with a cadet on Matriculation Day.

Congratulations!  The journey has started.

The Citadel is definitely different from other non-military colleges. There are a  few tips for new parents to help your cadet recruit, or knob, and you this next year.

Two Citadel Family Association volunteers at 1st Battalion.
Two Citadel Family Association volunteers at 1st Battalion.

The Citadel is a Leadership school. That means now that your knob has reported it is up to them to navigate the system. parents should not call the school and make requests like special leave, talk to their professors like you did with high school teachers. Being a “Helicopter Parent” will not help your knob.

Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their pT clothes.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their pT clothes.

The school does a great job of posting updates to various social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and YouTube. They will also post photos you can browse through and purchase. The goal of every knob is to be invisible, or a “Ghost knob.” If you see your knob in a photo of the site, share it on your own Facebook page but Do Not post any comments to the page. Set all your privacy settings to Friends only. That includes your photos too.

If you have friends who are the parents of upperclass cadets don’t post questions specific to their walls. Send a private message instead.

Email the Citadel Family Association Company and/or the Battalion rep for you knobs company or battalion. They can be a great resource for traditions specific to your knobs company.

Do Not have your knob as your profile pic or cover photo.

You will not hear from your knob until next week. When you talk to them do remind them this is a military COLLEGE. If they don’t pass their classes they won’t stay in school, no matter how shiny their shoes and brass looks. Knobs tend to try to do everything and skip sleep. That is not a sustainable plan. School work must be a priority. Sleep is necessary. Fit the polishing in where they can. Budget 20 – 30 minutes a night. Your role as parents should be to encourage them to get these priorities straight right away. The knob has to be the one to implement the plan.

The sooner a knob learns to pull together with their classmates the better.

Charlie Company knobs report.
Charlie Company knobs report.

Do not listen to rumors. Go to a primary source for clarification. If it didn’t happen to your cadet or to you don’t repeat a story you’ve heard. I covered some of this advice in a previous post about the Rumor Mill after rumors began to fly last fall.

Learn the school website. I’ve added the most frequently accessed pages to an entry called Helpful Web Links. Bookmark the entry for future use.

Do send encouraging letters and small boxes of goodies.

The Cadet Activities website is a great resource and they will post photos too.

Use your time this week learning how to read the training schedules. If you’d like to see the training modules they will be shown check out the Training page on the Office of the Commandant page under Operations and Training.

Join the Facebook groups for parents, but do not post to the ones with cadets in them. The group for 2017 parents only has new parents and a few parents of graduates who volunteer their time to answer questions. To join the group email me and let me know your knobs name and company. My email address is in the About section of the group page. See the entry on Facebook groups or direct links to other groups.

The Commandant of Cadets, Col. Mercado oversees the morning activities.
The Commandant of Cadets, Col. Mercado oversees the morning activities.

To tide you over as you wait to see more photos from the school See these albums of photos I took this weekend.

Saturday photos

Sunday Chapel

Sunday after chapel

Make plans to attend Parents Weekend. Hotels book quickly. See this entry for information of Parents Weekend.

 

A few other photos from Sunday Morning.

Chapel

Personal attentionKnobs line up

 

The Hospitality Committee

The Citadel: A Few Words about Christmas Break and Second Semester

Bravo Company, 2007
Facebook photo

The Citadel cadets are making their way back to campus today for the final push toward their winter furlough. I went through some old emails today and found one I had sent to the parents in Georgia when my son was a senior. A couple of paragraphs from that letter about the furlough and returning second semester still apply today. . .

“It will be hard for them to leave home to report back to school after a week at home, but Christmas Furlough will only be a few weeks off.  In the few weeks leading up to the Christmas Furlough the cadets have other traditions like decorating the Barracks, “borrowing” the trees from other companies (cadets don’t steal) and singing Christmas Carols. See this link for a Christmas Carol video.

And just a heads up about second semester. . . After a month at home it is very hard, even for the most dedicated knob, to return to The Citadel.  It is cold, dark, and they just had several weeks of comforts at home.  If your cadet calls home and seems particularly down and questions their choice of school, this is totally normal.  Encourage them to remember why they decided to attend this school and encourage them to do their best.  It won’t be long before the weather gets better and they are that much closer to the biggest day in the life of a cadet, Recognition Day.”

Video: Putting up the Charlie Company Christmas tree

Christmas on campus in photos: Christmas decorations

A Note to Knob Parents About Thanksgiving

Can you believe you have made it this far in the semester? By now your vocabulary should include quite a few new terms specific to The Citadel. You should have a level of comfort with your new normal as parents of a cadet.

In the next week your knob will experience their first Thanksgiving dinner Citadel style. The cadets will gather in the mess hall for a family style Thanksgiving dinner. The highlights of the night are the hats made for upperclass cadets by their mentees. Juniors are given hats made of a sheet of poster board and resemble a stove-pipe decorated with the upperclass cadet in mind. The seniors hats can be very elaborate. My sons senior year his mentee made a hat that looked like a tank in honor of his news of being in the Armor branch of the Army. Knobs wear an Indian style head-dress with one construction paper feather and the sophomores wear a similar head-dress with two feathers. Watch for the photos. Each company has a few other traditions that evening. The stories and photos are a lot of fun to hear when they get home.

The tank hat had a working gun in the front that shot out fireworks.

Speaking of home. . . usually parents of knobs are very anxious to have their son or daughter home for a whole week. The knobs are anxious to be home too. Just remember they will also be looking forward to seeing their friends from home. The experience varies for each cadet. Many enjoy seeing their friends, but begin to see just how different their college experience is from their friends. Some feel very different and can’t relate as well to friends who went right to work or are attending a non-military school.

While they have to keep their rooms at The Citadel in decent order those organizational skills don’t always transfer home with them. Don’t be surprised if their room at home looks like a small bomb exploded.

This can also be a time when they begin to question their choice of school, if they haven’t yet. If this happens with your cadet remind them they are almost done with the first semester and they can make it to the Christmas break. Some cadets decide that after first semester they do not want to continue at a military school for the rest of their college career. Others are more determined than ever to stick it out to prove to themselves they can make it. You know your child better than anyone and will have to decide how to proceed if they bring up the subject of changing schools.

If you need help with transportation post a notice to one of the many parent groups on Facebook. You can also call the Cadet Activities office to see if they can help with ride share requests.

Above all else, enjoy your time together. You’ve all accomplished quite a bit in a few short months.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Note to Knob Parents About Thanksgiving

Can you believe you have made it this far in the semester? By now your vocabulary should include quite a few new terms specific to The Citadel. You should have a level of comfort with your new normal as parents of a cadet.

In the next week your knob will experience their first Thanksgiving dinner Citadel style. The cadets will gather in the mess hall for a family style Thanksgiving dinner. The highlights of the night are the hats made for upperclass cadets by their mentees. Juniors are given hats made of a sheet of poster board and resemble a stove-pipe decorated with the upperclass cadet in mind. The seniors hats can be very elaborate. My sons senior year his mentee made a hat that looked like a tank in honor of his news of being in the Armor branch of the Army. Knobs wear an Indian style head-dress with one construction paper feather and the sophomores wear a similar head-dress with two feathers. Watch for the photos. Each company has a few other traditions that evening. The stories and photos are a lot of fun to hear when they get home.

The tank hat had a working gun in the front that shot out fireworks.

Speaking of home. . . usually parents of knobs are very anxious to have their son or daughter home for a whole week. The knobs are anxious to be home too. Just remember they will also be looking forward to seeing their friends from home. The experience varies for each cadet. Many enjoy seeing their friends, but begin to see just how different their college experience is from their friends. Some feel very different and can’t relate as well to friends who went right to work or are attending a non-military school.

While they have to keep their rooms at The Citadel in decent order those organizational skills don’t always transfer home with them. Don’t be surprised if their room at home looks like a small bomb exploded.

This can also be a time when they begin to question their choice of school, if they haven’t yet. If this happens with your cadet remind them they are almost done with the first semester and they can make it to the Christmas break. Some cadets decide that after first semester they do not want to continue at a military school for the rest of their college career. Others are more determined than ever to stick it out to prove to themselves they can make it. You know your child better than anyone and will have to decide how to proceed if they bring up the subject of changing schools.

If you need help with transportation post a notice to one of the many parent groups on Facebook. You can also call the Cadet Activities office to see if they can help with ride share requests.

Above all else, enjoy your time together. You’ve all accomplished quite a bit in a few short months.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Few Notes Before the Weekend

Bravo knobs prepare for the promotion ceremony on Parent’s Weekend.
photo by Seth Ruff

The first week of training is almost over for the first year cadets, or Knobs, at The Citadel. It is a stressful time each year for the knobs and their families. Their phones should be returned sometime early next week. It is important to remember that the cadre in the company do have some leeway with the when exactly the phones are returned. The computers are the same way. Just wait until you get a call or email. Then be as positive as you can. Realize that some knobs will vent to family because they are the only ones to whom they can vent/complain.

By now the school Post Office has sent quite a few USPS boxes and labels to new families. Not everyone receives them. You can order your own online for free at USPS.com. We used the 1096L Priority box then put it in the Flat Rate envelope to save money on postage. It is a little larger than the small flat rate boxes.

Saturday afternoon the knobs will have a little fun when they attend the annual football team scrimmage. The knobs act as cheerleaders for the game.

The Cadet Activities office hosts an evening event Saturday that features a hypnotist. It is always fun to see the photos of the event. Be sure to bookmark the Cadet Activities web page and Facebook page for photos and important information. You can order cookies for your knobs birthday or other special occasion through their office. No knob wants to stand out in the group so remember not to make a big deal out of their birthday on campus.

Once classes get started a regular rhythm sets in to the week. It’s a busy rhythm, but it will become fairly routine.

I understand the Commandant told the new families on Matriculation Day that August 26 the knobs will get their first leave for 7 hours. While it may be tempting to rush to see them, it is the first time they have a chance to get off campus with their new friends and begin to bond as a class. You’ll have plenty of weekends to visit. Many local cadets bring friends home with them too.

A proud baby sister tries to point to her big brothers name on the Bravo Company board. Parent’s Weekend, 2008

Just a reminder to take time to learn the school website, especially the training schedules, photos and External Affairs pages. The Facebook pages for External Affairs, The Citadel Bookstore, and The Department of Cadet Activities will post information and photos throughout your cadets time at The Citadel.