Military & Maritime College Matriculation Day Coming fast

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by bruno, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    It's coming up fast. Citadel is 8/13; VMI is 8/20, Norwich is 8/21; Mass Maritime is 8/20; NY Maritime is 8/14 (and I'm not sure about Texas A&M or Va Tech). But in all cases it's rolling in fast in a very hot summer.

    you should all have received pretty detailed matriculation packages, with lists of items to bring and places to be. My advice:
    - Follow the checklist and bring the items they tell you to bring
    - Go do your PT, but don't kill yourself trying to cram 4 months - of PT into one week;
    - Don't use your last week to break in new shoes (unless you don't have any then be careful),
    - Don't go out and shave your head etc... They will do it for you if that is the plan. Just show up looking presentable.
    - Do take care of last minute stuff at home and enjoy your last few days with your family and home town buddies. The next time they see you, you will look different and think a little differently too!

    Mom & Dad: Don't sweat it. Be proud of them, be supportive but also don't give them a ready made waffle. IMHO- you need to make sure that they go wanting to be there, but then once they are, you should reinforce that they need to be there long enough to learn something about themselves and the school: ie... don't tell them "if you don't like it just call". Personally- they should be making a commitment to make it thru the rough times and then deciding whether that school is for them. It's 99.44% mental- so buck them up before they show up for matriculation. They can make it (and you can too).
    This is Corny but true anyway:
    BTW- if you are going to VMI- the Website changed a lot this week: here is the link to the matriculation information page: http://www.vmi.edu/content.aspx?id=7353


    So- good luck and HANG IN THERE.:thumb: I expect to see all of you thrilling your parents on parents weekend with stories while they are awestruck at how good looking you are in your uniform parading for them!:wink:
     
  2. pennak

    pennak Member

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    Great advice, Bruno. Thank you.
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    For those going to VMI- note this pre-reporting requirement that went online yesterday:
    http://www.vmi.edu//Content.aspx?id=10737418423
     
  4. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well- the "Knobs" and "Fish" and "Mugs" have reported and Rats, Rooks, & Youngie's are matriculating this weekend (Have I missed anybody? -probably have but it's unintentional) Good luck to all of you. couple last minute tips:

    Parents: - It's ok to cry a little after you let your eager young offspring off.
    Probably best not to do a lot of blubbering before you let them go though as it's just unsettling on what will be an unsettling day for your new Cadet. (And regardless of what they tell you- they are a little nervous underneath it all- don't add to it with your own sweats).
    - Don't hang around the Gate (at VMI at least it's a gate- not sure what the equivalent is at the others but you get the idea) when the new cadet's are "received" (for lack of a better term). You aren't going to see your Cadet and it won't make you feel better. You gotta cut the cord- the time to do it is when you kiss them goodbye.
    - Do write them some upbeat letters- getting mail is a great feeling when you are down and stressed- depending on the school they may not be able to get to email for a while- but they will all have a mail call of some kind after a few days at least. And whether Snail or email- it's a real boost to get a letter from home. Do make sure that you keep your phone handy. At all of these place to my knowledge they will be given an opportunity to call home sometime during the first week. Make sure that you coordinate which phone your cadet will call you on. It's a real drag for you and them if they call your home phone and family are off doing other stuff- because you can't call back.
    - Do plan on going to Parents Weekend. Make the time: shut down the store, take vacation, arrange for somebody to cover for you, etc... Your kid will have changed more than you can imagine, they will be proud and excited to show you just how. Don't expect them though to want to do all the special stuff set up for parents during that weekend. From my experience and observation: mostly they are gonna want to eat and sleep- so get your hotel room close enough to facilitate that if you can.

    About to be Matriculants:
    - Put your heart into it. There is nothing that will be demanded of you that is undoable. Thousands have preceded you. The secret to success is to just keep driving on, keep a sense of humor and perspective (and know when not to display that- your roommates will need the boost- your Cadre don't want to hear your comedy routine and you won't enjoy sharing it.) They won't kill you or eat you. Really. I promise.
    - Don't tell yourself that you have the option of quitting- at least not until your 4th class year is behind you. If you don't like it initially: DUH... you aren't supposed to like the 4th class system. But until you finish that 4th class year you are just a quitter. Once you have achieved that you will have a different perspective. If you still don't like it then- well you have proven to yourself and others that you can overcome the adversity and "they" didn't get the best of you. At that point if you choose to change- that's understandable and neither you nor anyone else will think less of you for it.
    - Remember - once classes start: you are going to College and all of that military stuff is a framework that you have to work within. But if you don't focus on your grades- you will be an ex-cadet, or will be digging out of a deep hole. Even the most Strac- gungho cadet needs to remember that the order of merit list that will govern your commissioning options is primarily weighted to your GPA. Classes and academics are your raison d'etre.

    Be smart. Be attentive and Be honorable.

    Good luck:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  5. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Bruno is correct ... I must learn from the Master Mod.

    I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry:redface: I will do my best:thumb:
     
  6. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    I still have no idea how she pulled it off, but my Mama didn't cry at all while we were on Post. She was pretty quiet that morning and through lunch, but I saw no tears. Apparently she held it all in and then cried quite a bit on the 8 hour drive back to Ohio.

    She was so brave for her baby girl turned rat-tie. :smile:
     
  7. MorganC

    MorganC Prospective

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    I report Saturday for Texas A&M!
     
  8. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    I know I will not make a spectacle by any means, but between missing him and the pride I know I will feel when he joins his Co. for the first time, it will not be an easy accomplishment. Kudos to your Mom.
     
  9. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    Good Luck Morgan...I hope the weather breaks for you. WOW!
     
  10. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Good luck to all of you!!! You will find that this will be one of the greatest challenges of your life. At times, you will face uncertainty. At other times, you will face true elation and pride to be a part of something wonderful. This is a big transition!!!

    Oh . . . and a message to those of you who will be entering into the plebe system in a few days (the above message was for the PARENTS!!). This will be a tough experience, but you've basically done everything you can to prepare for it at this point. You are ready. Actually, the harder part will come in a few months when the "routine" sets in, and things aren't as exciting on the military front because term-paper deadlines and final exams will be fast approaching.

    Do NOT forget that the most important aspects of any military college is academics, academics, and academics. It is easy to get wrapped up in the military side of things, but the one thing that will determine your greatest success in both the Corps and later in life will be your grades. Study hard. Very hard. And Good Luck!

    Couple of more thoughts to the parents: When you drop your cadet off at the school, you should arrive in hand with a pre-written letter to your cadet (don't tell him/her, though). As you drive away, stop by the mailbox or post office and mail the letter so he/she receives it the next day or so. There is something about a "letter from home" that is so very reassuring. Be sure to say how incredibly proud everyone is about what your cadet is doing and that it will be over soon. In my letters to my own son, I always concluded with "P.S. -- D.Q." (which stands for "Don't Quit"). Note also, though, that the cadre may require your son or daughter to read the letter aloud to the entire platoon, especially if the letter smells of perfume or has hearts on it! Also, you should expect at some point to receive a call (when call privileges are granted) that will sound down-right disgruntled. That's totally normal!!! But the next call you receive will be totally different and much more upbeat!
     
  11. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    This is an awesome idea! At VMI, the rats won't be able to check their mail until after Matriculation Week ends and classes are about to begin. Their Cadre will teach them which mailbox is theirs and how to open it. Actually, it's almost like trying to open your locker on the first day of school. (My mailbox was always a little tight, so I was the last rat standing there fiddling with it. My CPL came up and screamed, "WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM!? DO YOU NEED HELP!?" I didn't know what else to do, so I just said, "YES SIR!" He was absolutely disgusted, but I was vindicated when he couldn't get the door open, either, and had to ask our 1st Platoon Sgt for help.) There's a special surprise waiting inside, so they'll definitely stand there until they can get it open.

    Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. I still have almost all of the cards and letters my family sent over the years. They still serve to encourage me, because they remind me of everything I accomplished and how proud my family was. Making sure they get some mail right after Matriculation Week will really help them hang in there.

    As for phone calls, typically the rats are allowed to call home on Wednesday afternoon or evening, when they meet their academic advisors. There's a chance that this part of the training schedule has changed, so I would recommend asking a member of the Parents' Council to be sure. Then wait anxiously by your phone (or keep your cell in your pocket with the ringer volume turned all the way up!) so you don't miss the call. :smile:

    Good luck to everyone who starts the four-year journey this weekend, and to those whose journeys have already begun.

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
    First Class PVT (Ret.)
     
  12. sprog

    sprog Member

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    My mom didn't cry when I left JM Hall to form up with C Co. for the first time, but my dad was balling. That was a surprise....
     
  13. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    sprog, I recall my mother giving me a blank stare when I returned from the barber shop on reporting day.
     
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Long afterwards- my mom told me that my Dad was crying as they drove up I 81 after dropping me off. That was a surprise to me as Dad was a kind of stoic hardbitten naval aviator turned businessman who wasn't into mushy kind of displays. I understood better 33 years later when I dropped off my boy. I repeated the performance on our drive back. .:rolleyes:
     
  15. sprog

    sprog Member

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    *bawling.

    Oops.
     
  16. HMQ

    HMQ Member

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    Yes, good luck to all, parents, rats (or knobs, plebes, and others) and returning cadets! Some of the best advice our son received last year on matriculation day at VMI was to "keep your head down" and just focus on getting through the first few days, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other. As Bruno has said, mental fortitude is key. And parents, be proud and don't worry - your sons and daughters are following their dreams, and will feel a great sense of accomplishment before long!
     
  17. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Excellent advice. Also, it is very important to approach this with a "team-first" attitude -- do NOT be a lone wolf. If you finish making your bed early, help out your fellow cadet by helping them finish their's. Also, do NOT be a spot-light ranger (i.e., offering to help out your fellow plebes only when it will be seen). Teamwork is so critical to your success in the coming weeks and months.

    You will not get points for showing that you are better than everyone else. But you do get points for showing that you are a team-player and are willing to help out your buddy. The concept of teamwork is a critical lesson that your cadre will teach you. Trust me, there WILL come a time when you need your buddies to reciprocate and help you out.
     
  18. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I can't think of a single quote that will better summarize what is really going thru the heads of all of those excited Rats tonight:
    And tomorrow night it will be:
    Good luck to all of you - keep your head down, put your heart into it and before you know it - it will all be a distant memory to bore your kids and spouses with when you go back for your reunions!!:wink:
     
  19. bjkuds

    bjkuds Parent

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    As we walked around post before matriculation with our Rat every time we passed a Cadet in uniform they were very polite to us yet he would say "They aren't too happy to see me"... ..Yet a few Cadets that assisted us kept telling him "Relax while you can"...Bruno you were right..He said he wasn't nervous but he couldn't sit still,,the kid was really wound.... When we returned to the book store before leaving Post the "fun" was well underway for all of them. WOW. He used to accuse me of yelling at him if I used any inflection in my tone of voice. I always told him that "someday he would know what being yelled at was".:yllol:

    I must admit the entire Matriculation process was simple and thorough. Very organized and nothing left to wonder about except the details of DS's life about now.
     
  20. Bird85

    Bird85 Member

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    I have to say the march out was very impressive. All the kids had their game face on. I had to laugh as my DS is in H company and he was in the back row and the last Rat out the door.

    My wife cheered while I got a bit choked up. Not so much for my DS but for all the Rats who are beginning their journey. I felt very proud of all of them.

    Cool temperatures forecasted for Lexington. Hopefully it will temper the heat from the cadre! :hammer:
     

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