Matriculation Day tips for the Parents of the Class of 2022

Class of 2021 knobs line up to “meet” the 1Sgt

NOTE: The Gathering Friday evening is at 5:30pm in the chapel. A previous schedule said it was at 5:00.

August 11, the Class of 2022 reports for Matriculation Day. The Parent page of The Citadel website has detailed information for families. I HIGHLY recommend you read the page and bookmark it for the weekend. Parents of incoming freshman knobs should take time and read all the links on the Freshman Parents page.

Citadel Family Association Blue Shirt volunteers help unload cars and carry items to the rooms.

The weather in Charleston in August is hot and very humid. Watch the weather forecast and prepare for the potential of rain. As of this writing (Saturday August 4) rain is in the forecast.

Since the cadets can no longer have plastic storage bins in their rooms we’ve been recommending that the knobs pack in disposable boxes and bags so they do not have to worry about storage of suitcases after their families have dropped them off. Since rain is likely, bring some large trash bags to protect the boxes from the rain Saturday morning. The Citadel Family Association “Blue Shirt Army” volunteers will help you unload your car and carry everything into the barracks. Since most knobs are housed on the 4th division (floor) of the barracks be sure to pack each container light enough for one person to carry each container.

A member of the Class of 2021 signs in at the 1Sgt table

 

A few more tips and reminders as  you prepare for Matriculation Day:

  • See this link for official information about Matriculation DayBy now the soon-to-be knobs, and their parents, should be checking the Matriculation Headquarters page each week for updates. Read EVERY link on the page and print out the schedule and traffic diagram in addition to the forms that must be turned in that morning.
    • If you will be in town the evening of August 11 make reservations for the 2022 parent BBQ HERE.
    • Put your knob’s name in the People Search window to find their mailing address.  Send letters to arrive the first week. Wait to send boxes until after the first week.  See this link for how to address mail to a cadet. DO NOT use nicknames.
    • Do attend “The Gathering” in the chapel Friday at 5:00 to hear about the various religious and fellowship groups on campus.
    • The knob should bring their wallet with state issued ID, like a driver’s license. It helps to have a little money, $20 or so with them in case they have an opportunity to buy snacks. Some years they have the chance to buy pizza as a fundraiser at the end of Challenge week.
    • The knob should wear a plain shirt (tucked in!), shorts, a belt if the shorts have belt loops, white ankle socks, and their athletic shoes. If they already have the white ankle socks and athletic shoes on they won’t have to search for them as soon as they have to change.
    • Drive to campus from your hotel the day before so you will know how to get to the Holliday Alumni Center. (See Traffic Diagram here and print it out for easy reference later) Getting lost Saturday morning can really add to the stress of the knob. (Ask me how I know)
    • Be sure you have a full tank of gas. You wait in your car in a long line Saturday morning. You won’t want to be the family that ran out of gas before you report.
    • They begin to process the line at 7:00am. The line begins to form before that time. It is best to report early and not wait until the last minute.
    • Say your real goodbye’s before you leave the hotel or your home. Once you arrive on campus things move quickly and the knob’s time will not be their own.
    • The knobs turn in their cell phones when they go into the barracks. They should be sure to have them fully charged and turn them off before they walk in. They won’t get them back for at least a week. Many knobs end up having to charge their phones before they can make their first call home.
    • Arrive on the early side. The line starts around 6:30am. Check-in begins at 7:00 am. It will be hot. Arriving early means it will be a chilly 85-90 versus 90-100.
    • Once you get to the barracks the Citadel Family Association volunteers will be there to help unload your car and let you know where to move your car. They have blue shirts on and all of them have been in your shoes.
    • Parents and family can go into the barracks, but you do not unpack your student.
    • Do take a photo behind closed doors, you’ll be glad you have that first day of knob year photo later. Do not make a fuss over your knob at all on campus that day.
    • Once the boxes are unloaded the knob reports in on their own. (With their FERPA form) Parents must wait with the boxes.
    • Once the knob comes out you’ll do what he or she tells you to do. How things happen from here can vary by company and each year the process is fine tuned based on the current cadet leadership.
    • Parents and family members SHOULD NOT approach the 1SGT table in the barracks in front of the company letter. Ask the CFA volunteers any question you’d like, but the uniformed cadets at the table are their to process the knobs.
    • All families must be out of the barracks by 10am. Many families leave earlier because their son or daughter is ready to start their process .
    • There is an information fair in the McAlister Fieldhouse. It is a great time to get your questions answered and meet people from various departments. The Fieldhouse is air-conditioned and there are restrooms, refreshments and water fountains.
    • The President, Commandant and the Citadel Family Association chair address parents after the information fair. It is a great place to visit to get information and cool off.

    FAQ

    • Your knob will find out their company the morning of Matriculation.
    • Legacy and Band Company knobs still must go through the check in process at the Holliday Alumni Center. It is how they keep track of who has reported.
    • Extended family members can come with you, but you should be aware there is a lot of standing and waiting around. Ask your son or daughter who they want to drop them off. One good option is to have everyone stay at the hotel and only a few go to campus that morning. No knob wants to call extra attention to themselves that day.
    • If you have young children, bring quiet toys, snacks and water.
    • If you have older family members or family with disabilities that make standing difficult, bring a folding chair.
    • The presentation in the Fieldhouse should be over by 11:45 the administration will be available to answer questions afterward.
    • You can attend Sunday worship (Christian students) at 9:00 am but you will not interact with your son or daughter. They are divided into groups for worship, Protestant, Catholic, Anglican.
    • The oath ceremony takes place Monday evening on Summerall Field. The school has live streamed it in the past. It is a short, less than 15 minute, ceremony. (See a previous years video here) Watch the school webpage and Facebook page for details. If you are in town you can attend. You will not interact with your son or daughter and may not be able to tell which knob is yours since they will be dressed alike and have no hair, or little hair in the case of the women knobs.
    • If you need to reach your knob’s company or battalion TAC officer after you leave the campus see this directory.
    • The Ombudsperson’s are a confidential resource for cadets, faculty staff and parents too.
    • The Parents resource page is very helpful throughout the year. Email parents@citadel.edu with your questions.

    NOTE: Parents of the Class of 2022, if you haven’t already, join the Facebook group, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2022. Go to the page request to join, then answer the 3 screening questions to let me know you are the parent of a knob. Email me with any questions. PLEASE note the group is for parents of knobs only. Please let your extended family members know they will not be approved to join the group.

    Once a knob checks in with the 1Sgt they are instructed to pick up their issued items

    Be sure you have made hotel reservations.

Previous posts about Matriculation Day:

The Citadel: A visual of the first view days

7 Days and Wake Up

Checking in at Holliday Alumni Center
Matriculation morning, 2015

We are one week away from the day Class of 2021 report to The Citadel on their Matriculation Day. Hopefully by now the incoming knobs have read the Matriculation Headquarters page, and completed the necessary tasks. Parents of the Class of 2021 should be aware of everything on the headquarters page, but should really read through everything on the Freshman Parent section of the school web site.

A mailing with helpful information for parents from the Citadel Family Association (CFA) will arrive in the mail soon. The CFA is made up of current parents who volunteer their time to support new families. Once your student learns their company you’ll have a company and battalion rep to support you. You can also find their contact information on the CFA web site.

Parents talk to the “Blue Shirt” volunteer as they wait with the boxes as their knob reports to the battalion.

I moderate a Facebook group called The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2021. We have a record number of parents in the group for this time of year. Membership is already over 630. The group is only for parents and guardians of knobs. Please let your extended family and friends know they cannot join the group, but they can follow the public pages the school runs to keep up with what is happening on campus.

This is the time of year I advise new parents to step away from the computer and spend time with their family. It can be a stressful time for many families, so much so that I end up writing a blog post about letting go each year around this time. I’ll add a few links at the end of this entry.

I do understand how scary it can feel to send a child to The Citadel, or any military college. The key to remember is your student has chosen this type of college experience. If this is what they really want to do they have the skills necessary to be successful.

Trust me, when my son went to The Citadel I was extremely nervous. What I learned that first year is that I didn’t have to understand why they do things the way they do. I was not a cadet my son was. He was the one that had to deal with the 4th Class system. To this day I can’t say I totally understand the “why” around much of the process, but I have come to appreciate the outcomes. The Citadel was exactly where my son, and most cadets who choose to take on the challenge, were supposed to be.

If you are a parent worried about this first year, you aren’t alone. A few words of advice. Try not to worry about things that haven’t even happened yet, because most of the things you worry about will never happen. If you feel you need to speak to someone on campus the Parent liaison is one place to start: parents@citadel.edu The company and battalion TAC officers and the Ombudspersons are also great resources for parents.

If you find you are nervous and obsessing over the parent’s Facebook page each day, walk away from the page for a while. Most likely by now your student has what they need to report on the 12th. Once you have read the Matriculation Headquarters , the Freshman Parent information page and the Citadel Family Association page you are set for next week. Read my previous post with matriculation day tips next week before you get to Charleston for a review.

I have walked your path as have scores of other families. We understand your fears, but also know how great the rewards are for those who stay and wear The Ring.

If you will be in Charleston the night of August 12, sign up for the 2021 Family BBQ dinner. It is a great way to meet other families.

On a personal note. . . this year our youngest is a college freshman. She moved into her dorm at Columbus State University yesterday. It was a completely different experience from her older brother’s matriculation day in 2007. We are slowly adjusting to our new normal as empty nesters while still missing our girl.

Blog posts about my son’s knob year and what I learned:

The Making of a Military Mom

Mom Readies for Son’s Military College

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

How The Citadel “Ya-Yas” Came to Be

Learning Leadership and Ethics at The Citadel

A few tips about knob year for parents:

Knob Year Notes for Parents

Posts about letting go:

Uniformity, Lists, and Letting Go

Citadel Parents: Let it Go!

Transitions and Letting Go

Matriculation Day: The Hardest Part for Parents is Letting Go

Preparing for Knob Year – Parents Edition

Advantages of being the Parent of a Citadel Cadet

Our family Matriculation Day morning at the hotel, 2007
Taylor, Chelle, and Nelson (Bravo, 11) May 2017

 

 

Parents Weekend, 2007
Chelle in her new dorm room. August 3, 2017

Matriculation Information for The Citadel, Class of 2019

Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On matriculation Day.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On matriculation Day.

The Matriculation Headquarters page of the citadel.edu website is updated for the class of 2019, with more updates to come throughout the summer. For the soon-to-be knobs and their parents it is a time of mixed emotions. If you are both feeling a mixture anxious and excited you are in good company.

It is very important for the entering knob to read through everything posted. There are some deadlines that you will have to keep up with throughout the summer. The first deadline is June 10. Your registration information must be in on that date. The other assignments are due at various times as posted. Keep visiting the Matriculation Headquarters page and the Commandant’s Matriculation Information page for updates throughout the summer.

Take some time to read through the Success Packet. The list of required, and optional items, is in this document on pages 6 – 7. The packet includes details about other rules. Take time to absorb all the information. Also visit the Citadel Family Association page for the “Nice to Have List

Last year I wrote a post about transitions. Parents you may want to review that entry. The toughest part of knob year for many parents is the transition you must make. The Citadel is a leadership school. Your student will need to navigate the 4th class system on their own. Parents move to a support role. Moving out of the decision-making role is tough for many parents.

The next two months the rising knob should be working out daily. If they arrive able to meet or exceed the physical training (PT) requirements it will help with their transition. The PT requirements are very important. Each year some knobs report in poor physical shape. That just makes the transition for them harder.

Breaking in the black leather Oxfords is another thing that should be started as soon as possible. Wear the shoes often throughout the summer. Blistered feet is a major cause of problems for knobs in the first month.

Parents of the Class of 2019 are invited to join the Facebook page for parents (please email me to verify you are a parent of a knob. See the “About Dorie” section here for my email). The entering knobs should keep a low profile on social media. It is a good idea for everyone, but especially for knobs, to set the security settings on Facebook and other social media to Friends only. To keep a low profile do not use hashtags related to The Citadel on posts to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other medium. The goal is to blend in and not call attention to yourself. If your profile lists that you are a cadet when you . haven’t even started knob year, you are inviting unwanted attention from cadets and alumni.

Many alumni chapters host cadet send off events. The Atlanta Citadel Club has a very nice dinner planned for June 18. If you are not sure if your area has an event, contact the admissions office at The Citadel. They can let you know if an event is planned for your area. The Georgia Citadel Parents Group has an orientation for parents scheduled June 14 at the Dekalb Library in Decatur. Margaret Landry is the chair this year. If you’d like her contact information just let me know.

It is an exciting time. Do yourself a favor and study up!

Visit the following sites for tips on getting ready and for reporting on Matriculation Day:

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that First Day

Knob Year Notes for Parents