End of First Year at VMI

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by easter2, May 5, 2012.

  1. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    My DS is studying hard for finals and is counting down the days before summer break...I chatted with him last night and asked him his thoughts as he nears the end of his first year at VMI. He made it through Hell Week, being a Rat and all that goes with it, joined a club sports team and grades are decent; he did not get the AROTC Side-Load Scholarship as we were hoping (we're paying out of state tuition too :eek: ) nor did he get Corporal, Cadre duties or something to do with the Rat Challenge he was interviewing for. When asked if he had any regrets, he said no, he would do it all over again; when asked if he had any doubts about going back (since he didn't get the 'moving up' aspects he was vying for) he stated no. He wants to go back, even as an 'ordinary Joe Private'. I re-assured him that anyone going to VMI will never be an "ordinary Joe"...
    So I thought I would share...it was not an easy year but apparently worth it and not something that wouldn't be done over.

    Now we wait for FAFSA results!
     
  2. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    Please extend my congratulations to your son. Our daughter had some of the same experiences at TAMU and had the same reaction - wants to go back.
     
  3. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Ours has the same mind set, although not vying for rank. He still is afraid to add anything extra to the academic load. Like you said.. nothing ordinary about an ordinary VMI cadet. He also is not on scholarship and opted to change his major out of EE into Chem now.. His grades are fine this semester, he just dislikes DC Circuits and Digital Logic. Can't see going through 4 years of education to do something you don't like, and he gave it an honest go and decided it isn't for him. Now it's a short trip to Lex to spend 4 days in a cabin(this is replacing our family vacation) before Summer session starts.. 2 classes at VMI this summer and 2 here at home to transfer credits and he "should" be able to graduate on time.. we are also waiting for FASFA results. I called this week because it's later than usual to hear from them about financial aid. I wanted to make sure DS got everything in as well.. He did..(guilty of being a helicopter parent to a degree). They said they were running a little behind and award letters should be on post view in a week or two.. They were just finishing up the incoming Rats.
     
  4. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    Thanks for the FAFSA update! I keep asking DS, and am sure he is tired of me asking, if he has heard anything so far as it seemed late..I'll quit asking (for now) :shake:
     
  5. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    Congrats to all! I am pleased for you all that your cadets are finding their way and proud of their choice. As we all know, VMI is indeed a very special place and worth their efforts.
    I hadn't seen any award information yet either, did think we should have by now so thanks for the update. larrys mom
     
  6. pennak

    pennak Member

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    My DS made it through thus far with above a 3.0 (he says that it will be 3.5 by the end of the term -- we'll see -- talk is cheap). He's definitely going back. But it has been tough. He didn't get rank, cadre or the side-load. And the opportunities for a Marine commission have gone down with the downsizing. A lot of reality checks here. I am lying low and letting him sort it out. VMI has instituted a special forces program as of next term and he has signed up for that and wants to do Marine aviation (there are slots there, I guess). Tons of prep work for all that with no guarantees. Should be an interesting summer. He is lot tougher, stronger, probably a little smarter but a lot less cocky these days, I imagine. :smile:
     
  7. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Glad to hear that yours is doing well academically... The academics have knocked the "cocky" out of mine more than anything.. Went from big fish in teeny weeny pool to "Mom I figured out there are a lot of people out there a lot smarter than me". That's what happens when they go from "top dog" in HS which took no effort really to an average student among the Corps. Last week he said "I studied for 12 hours total for a DC circuits test and still got a C".. He has never worked so hard and struggled so much in all his life to just get by. I keep reminding him that we were told over and over again that everyone struggles with some aspect of life there, and as long as he doesn't give up he is gaining in the struggle.
    Waiting to see how he handles Physics as Calc 3 next year:eek:,, Have to admit that makes me a bit nervous for him. It seems like the classes he breezed through in HS are the hardest for him and the subjects he disliked are the better grades..
     
  8. sprog

    sprog Member

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    EE means "Eventually English." :shake:
     
  9. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    Pennak, understand completely...your DS and mine are in similar situation....my DS went through the rigours trying for different aspects like moving up in rank, cadre, etc..in long run, at least from what he told me, is that he has been put in the too nice category...too nice to be in cadre, etc....so is resigned to be an 'ordinary Joe' which in my mind VMI has no one 'ordinary'. We are proud to have him returning back, on his own volition, as in his words no where else he would rather be
     
  10. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    VMI doesn't seem to 'give in' to cadets that are trying to achieve....my DS got told that he was 'too nice' to be on the Cadre or promote to Corporal...the alum that we worked with also stopped going back and forth...lessons that we may have learned through years, some of these kids learn through a year...
     
  11. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Kids who *want* to go to VMI are a breed apart. Those who make it through the Ratline and the first year without flunking out (or quitting) are exceptional in my book. We all have good reason to be proud. They are, of course, all different in their own way. Mine wasn't too nice for rank, he had too many demerits. :eek: Guess he should have learned to clearn up his room at home (not for lack of trying on my part). Oops. Everyone learns in their own way, I guess. :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  12. pennak

    pennak Member

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    My hat is off to your DS for academic rigor!! Those classes are intimidating, for sure. Good luck to him, it sounds like he is giving it is all. As you say, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
     
  13. pennak

    pennak Member

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    VMI is right: Giving it for effort ultimately means less effort. I love the fact that VMI doesn't give in.
     
  14. Goarmymom

    Goarmymom Member

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    I have read with great interest the posts on this thread, since my DS will be a rat in the fall. Does anyone have some good advice for him? He plans on doing AROTC, although he didn't receive a scholarship. He does plan on competing for a campus-based one, though - his goal is to commission. Thanks!
     
  15. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Is he attending STP?? Run..Run and run some more. Expect to fail and be overwhelmed at first. It seems to be by design that he will feel that way. I told DS that once he signed the book at Matriculation that he could beg till he was blue for us to come get him and he was on his own and wasn't quitting no matter what. He needs to get it in his head that quitting is not an option because it will "suck" and you as Mama need to be strong and full of encouragement when he calls the first time with the shaky voice and in that "dazed and confused state". He needs to develop an attitude of thinking in baby steps.. short term accomplishments.. Make it through Hell week.. Make it to New Market oath,, Make it to Parents Weekend.. Make it to Thanksgiving break etc.. with each milestone they become more confident and proud. A great book to read for you and DS that will give you a little insight to VMI. My son found it helpful. Stuart Husted is the author... It is called "The Hard Corps". We got it on Amazon. I hope this helps
     
  16. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Ditto. This is really good advice.
     
  17. Goarmymom

    Goarmymom Member

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    That is some great advice! He is running a lot and working out. I like the advice for the short term accomplishments and will definitely pass it on - and we'd better get that book quickly! He is going to STP, so there's not much time left. Right now DS does have the attitude of "never give up" but I know once reality hits, that attitude might be harder to keep intact, but I hope not. I am so excited for him, but I dread sending him off - he's my baby. :frown: But at least we're only 3 hours from VMI.
     
  18. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Where abouts? That could put you into Maryland where we are. Always nice to know for ride sharing...
     
  19. Goarmymom

    Goarmymom Member

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    We're in Northern Va - Loudoun County. Where in MD are you?
     
  20. easter2

    easter2 Member

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    Great advice everyone...it is quite a journey. First week, my DS called all happy that he had a bottle of water with him and he was in church...second week sobbing hysterically...a LOT is thrown at them and seems to be an almost constant barrage. They are told when to get up, what to do, when to have lights out, no contact for the most part with outside support systems...that is when they start relying on their Brother Rats. If your DS has a good Dyke, they sort of help by being a sounding board and positive reinforcement that they can get through this if VMI is actually for them.
    For most kids, getting through the Ratline and doing a full course load at the same time is brutal and with little respite. One of my main pieces of advice is for your DS to attend church and search out a host family. Most churches in the area are well aware and equipped to be a sanctuary on Sundays for Rats esp...having someone locally that acts as a family is a wonderful resource...I could go on but PM me if you ever have any questions or just need a shoulder...it is tough on the parents as well as the Rat
     

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