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