Last suggestions or advice.

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by LongGreyLine Hopeful, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. LongGreyLine Hopeful

    LongGreyLine Hopeful Member

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    Leaving for the drive to "Lex Vegas" on Wednesday and would like to hear any last bit of advice or suggestions anyone would like to convey before Matriculating on the 22nd.


    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. sprog

    sprog Member

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    VMI Class of '99 here. I'm sure you've gathered all the advice you need, and I doubt there is much that anyone on an internet forum can say which is so profound as to make a marked difference in how your Ratline experience will be. That said, I'll give you something that my dad told me before I matriculated in August '95. It came from his days in the US Army during the Vietnam War, and although it isn't exactly applicable to a military college, it certainly will help through the first few days (possibly even weeks) of the Ratline. Simply, he said "Don't be first, don't be last, and don't volunteer for anything." It probably sounds counter-intuitive, as most young guys think they are on top of the world and want to stand out. You have four years there to stand out, and the LAST thing you want to do, is stand out in the wrong way.

    I was a distinguished graduate of VMI, was a ranker sophomore to senior year, and got a commission in the USAF upon graduation. The advice was priceless-really, the less upperclassmen who know your name rat year, the better.

    So here is my .02 worth of advice. My grades were crappiest during Rat Year, and luckily, they were awesome during my last three years. My biggest regret is not studying enough during the first year, as the classes are the easiest you will ever have. Utilize the teachers when you don't understand, and if you have to choose between memorizing something out of the Rat Bible for an irate cadre corporal/RDC member or studying for a Spanish test-SPANISH TEST WINS!!! The Spanish grade will follow you, getting your rear-end chewed off at an RDC meeting will not (it will, however, make for a good story at the reunion...so win/win:cool:)

    Best of luck-take nothing personally; decide before you go that, not only are you going to survive the Ratline, but, that you are going to walk the stage in 4 years with that giant ring on your finger. Rah VA Mil!!!
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    That's pretty good advice from SPROG and I would agree. What I've told my son and the kids I've recruited for VMI is that they are going to college- not enlisting. To be sure it's a military college but the operative word is college. Your principle responsibility is to graduate. So keep your priorities straight- and don't fall victim to the procrastination trap- you discover that there is always some time consuming requirement that you will have descend upon you that can't be avoided- so if you left something critical to do later- later often doesn't come with the free time you thought that you had. Prioritize- all of the ankle biters can be fit in around the key priorities which is getting your degree. Whether you are military bound after graduation or not- your future - your standing on an Army OML or your application to grad school or your resume all depend on your academic standing- So make sure you understand what you have to do and place the right priority on things.

    The Ratline is about team work. If you are the big dog but your room mates are left behind- you are not the winner. Success is when the Rats learn to work together as a solid team and get the whole team in line with the requirements. So be quiet, be competent, be a TEAM Player without drawing the other's attention to your support. And most of all BE HONEST. The honor code is a one shot, one kill world and you won't get a second chance. Don't fool around on the fringes of honesty and honor-it may have been ok in your preVMI life to shade the truth, to quibble or to lie without getting caught- it won't be in this life.

    Finally- it's all mental. Tens of thousands of VMI cadets before you have successfully negotiated the Rat line and the 3 years after that. The key to success was mostly that they wanted to do so. The biggest stud out there can fall by the wayside if he doesn't have the right picture in his head while the guy every one thought was "Casper Milquetoast" can surprise himself and every one else if he puts his heart in it and knows that it's all just one day at a time.
    Good luck- the Cadre are eagerly waiting for you:eek:
    You'll do fine!!
     
  4. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Always look for the humor, in every situation you encounter. Especially during the Ratline. Sometimes humor is hidden in the most unlikely of places. You can only find it if you are actively, intentionally seeking it out.

    Master the art and science of maintaining your sense of humor and you'll do well.
     
  5. LongGreyLine Hopeful

    LongGreyLine Hopeful Member

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    See you guys in 9 days or longer most likely.
     
  6. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Good luck with matriculation and the next few weeks. Remember they won't kill you and eat you!
    It'll be a little longer than that as you won't be allowed on social sites on the Internet till after the Ratline is over- we'll look for a post at Thanksgiving when you are on break!! I will be down there for the New Market "Swearing-In" ceremony so I will see you in the Rat mass somewhere (I'll know you- you'll be the bald one wearing the summer whites:shake:)
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    One last suggestion for any parents or friends in the crowd. If you have the ability to do so- the swearing-in ceremony on September 6th at the New Market Battlefield followed by the new Rats parade thru the town of New Market is really quite a memorable event to which Parents and friends are invited. It's not a substitute for going down on Parents weekend, but it is a nice chance to see your new Rat for a few hours, share a picnic lunch with them & reassure yourself that he/she is not being tortured and stoke your feelings of pride in young "sluggo" or "sluggette" . They will appreciate the visit if you can make it down for this event.
     
  8. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    The New Cadet Oath Ceremony at New Market is always an awesome day. It's the first time the rats march a parade, and it's right through the streets of New Market. I'll never forget when I realized halfway through the the people lining the streets were clapping for us...

    Anyway, I'll be driving down for it, too. I'm like 20 mins away, and while all the proud parents are looking for their rats, I'll be a proud Dyke looking for her little Cadre CPL. :smile: Come to think of it, I guess you'll be doing the same with your little Third-tie, Bruno! :biggrin:
     
  9. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Did you really get to see your parents for a few hours during the New Market parade? I remember maybe 30 minutes, and I was actually hoping that my folks would not come, as I thought it might depress me. They did come, and I was glad to see them, but it was for a very short time. On the bus back to the Institute, Cadre had us straining on the front three inches of the seats the whole time, and we were singing the VMI Spirit over and over again because one of my BRs didn't know it. No sleep for us-I still remember that.

    This is from 1995, so I imagine things are different now. We didn't take an oath, if I remember, just did the parade and the run up the "Field of Lost Shoes."

    Good Luck
     
  10. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    It's a lot more focused on education now. Most of the time rats aren't allowed to sleep on the bus (it depends on the company and whether or not the Cadre wants to sleep!), but they aren't allowed to strain them or make them squeeze rifles between their knees or any of that stuff. Normally it's just an hour and a half of required reading of the rat bible with no leaning or slouching.

    The first thing that happens is they rotate through three stations in three company groups. One group goes through the museum, another station is along the picket fence looking over the Field and the third group is in the Bushong House yard. By the time they've made it through each station, they've actually learned about the Battle of New Market at the significance it holds in our heritage. After that they file into the Bushong House yard (no idea how they're going to fit 500 rats in there this year!!!) by company, the General speaks, and then the rats raise their right hands and take the Cadet Oath. After that they charge the field (led by the members of their Dykes Class who left the Wednesday before to march the 84 mi), have lunch with their folks, and then march the parade through the streets of New Market.

    They ride back to VMI on the buses, but normally they're allowed to go out to supper with their families. They have to be back by like 8:30 or something, and then they can go out on Sunday, too. But Sunday night there's always something to remind them that their parents left again. :smile:
     

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