A-Day Pointers from a Class of 2015 Dad

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Tail-Dragon, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Tail-Dragon

    Tail-Dragon Member

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    A-Day is an entirely different experience than R-Day, I highly recommend you attend if you can for two reasons. First, you will see your Cadet officially join the Corp of Cadets. Witnessing the entire Corp on the Plain is amazing; knowing your Cadet is among them is priceless. Secondly, your Cadet really needs you this weekend and I hope you keep this in mind when you attend.
    During CBT the Pre-Cadets are kept separated from the Corp, what interaction they have is with Cadre and they easily out number them. As they progress through Beast they forge very strong ties, learn they can handle just about anything and then top it off with the March Back. Old Grads march with them, the town of Highland Falls cheers them on, they are on top of the world - for a few brief moments.
    You will be picking them up after they have had one week with the entire Corp, they will have been re-organized into Academic Year Companies, they have learned they are outnumbered by upper-classman, they will have been smoked, inspected, drilled, smoked, inspected, drilled and smoked. So keep these points in mind as you plan your trip:
    It is likely your Cadet will wish to leave the Post as soon as possible after the parade. Think, “IMMEDIATELY!”
    They may very well have a buddy (or two or three) whose family couldn’t make it and they will want to bring them along. Take as many as you can, trust me someone else will be doing the same for your DD/DS in the months to come.
    Your Cadet will probably fall asleep just a few minutes away from USMA. Once you are at a hotel they will sleep on the first piece of furniture they fall on for several hours. Let’em sleep.
    When they wake up they will be very hungry but may not be big on the idea of going out to a restaurant, as they may run into an upper-classmen.
    They will probably need to pick up some school supplies before they return to USMA.
    Towards Sunday afternoon they will likely get antsy and request to return to USMA before you think they need to. They do not want to be late and they know they have lots to do before their first class.
    I would suggest you take a couple of good books to read, it’ll keep you busy while they sleep. Map out places to get school supplies and their favorite fast food, and most importantly, let’em know how proud you are of them. They have just gone from being at a high point in their young lives to being torn down again. Plebe year is looking very long to them at this point.
     
  2. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Excellent post, Tail-Dragon! Yes, A-Day is a "must attend". And don't schedule too many stressful family activities. Your New Cadet will just want to relax and watch Sponge-Bob Square Pants or something similar on TV. We stayed at the Residence Inn in Fishkill last year, because it let my DS spread out and it was quasi-homely.

    Finally, there is nothing more powerful than seeing your cadet stroll down the walkway after you haven't seen him/her for a long time. The pride you will have for him or her will boil over (at least it did for me). Have plenty of handkerchiefs at the ready for that emotional moment.
     
  3. Opallady

    Opallady New Member

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    Someone last year suggested that I ask our cadet if he would like us to do laundry for him while he slept Saturday afternoon. First he said, don't bother, but then, after his mind clicked over the idea for a few seconds, his face lit up and he said, "Boy, I do have a lot. That would be great."

    While he napped, we hauled the huge duffel bag to the closest laundrymat to our hotel and discovered for ourselves how dirty and smelly ACUs can be. We were not alone, but with many other families doing laundry for their plebe.

    Last note: I was seated in the bleachers at 7:30 A.M. while my husband parked the car. Great seats. By 8:30, folks were crushing in. I'm glad we got there early. Take something dry to sit one or carry something to wipe down the dew-covered metal.
     
  4. mmb5

    mmb5 Member

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    Not a "must" - but an "if you can"

    I second the advice given here. Treat them like newborns -- let them eat and sleep when they want to. Our cadet just wanted takeout in the hotel.

    We went to A-Day, and watching the Acceptance Ceremony on the Plain was moving -- and a long wait in hot weather with some impatient neighbors in the bleachers, and a long wait at the gates to clear security, etc.... We took along for Sunday a cadet whose parents couldn't stay, and let the two crash in our hotel room.

    If you can go, wonderful. If you can't, please don't feel guilty, and don't worry: your New Cadet will have many families who would welcome taking him or her out for the days. They have a lot going on in their heads, and they're tired. They don't want to socialize; they want to eat a non-Mess Hall meal and relax. Let them be.
     
  5. DadOfSwags

    DadOfSwags Proud USMA2016 Dad

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    Thank you Tail-Dragon and the rest of you for giving us plebe parents the suggestions above. Especially the points about laundry and school supplies, neither of which I had considered.

    During our one short phone call with our New Cadet DS on 'ice cream social' day last week, one of us (my wife or me, I can't recall) suggested to DS that wouldn't it be nice if we planned for a picnic down by the river after the A-Day ceremony. He said something like "Yeah, um, I plan to be heading out Washington Gate within 5 minutes of being dismissed." The need for mega-calories and mega-sleep -- to replace his depleted inventory of both -- seems to be the extent of whatever planning we need to do.

    One clarification to what Tail-Dragon posted above: In regards to the bolded text: We have been clearly instructed by USMA mailings that our DS can bring other cadet(s) with him when we joins us for A-Day, but he is limited to two (2) other cadets maximum. Logistically this seems like a reasonable limit for us and our hotel room if he ends up bringing a couple of squad/platoon/classmates along. But I guess the party bus is out. :biggrin:

    Thanks again all.
     

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