It is that time of year again. High school graduations begin and preparation for the next class of cadets at The Citadel are beginning to prepare. Each year at this time I see an increase in the number of visits to my blog, especially the entires that deal with knob year.
There is a Facebook group for the parents of the class of 2017 to help them understand the ins and outs of preparing their student to matriculate in August. The group is made up of new parents and parents of graduates. The questions always revolve around the best computers to buy and where to find items from the Success Packet of required items. Most of the answers to these questions can be found on this blog and also on the school website, but I think parents like to hear directly from other parents who have been there.
If you are a new parent there is one bit of advice I’d like you to hear. The Citadel is a leadership school. Your student will learn to take control of their experience there. It is important for you to learn to let them make their decisions. That begins with preparation for Matriculation Day. Please read the entry The Citadel: Year One a No Fly Zone for Hovering Parents.
They need most everything on the required list, but even on that list there is room for personal preference, like whether they want pajamas, desk lamp, etc. Ask your future cadet what they want and what they don’t want to bring. The Citadel Family Association “Nice to Have List” is a suggestion of items to bring. Ask what your cadet wants to bring from that list. If they get to school and decide they do want something it is available on campus or at a nearby store, or you can mail it. You want them to be prepared but it should also be a growing experience for them to begin to make their own decisions.
Even as I write this I know some readers will say, but they HAVE to HAVE so and so with them. I have learned over the years that there is no universal cadet experience. Some cadets like home-baked goods in their care packages, some only want healthy foods. Some want coffee pots some do not. One parents will say you NEED to send a particular item, while another will tell you their cadet never used it.
My advice for new parents? Take this opportunity to begin to let go of your control and allow your student the opportunity to begin to make their own decisions. You’ll be amazed at how much they mature this first year.
Previous entries about knob year: