Prospect: Unwritten Rules of an Overnight

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by goldfarb1, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. goldfarb1

    goldfarb1 Candidate

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    First, I am very suprised that there is really nothing on this site about going on an overnight, other than what to pack or what to wear. I got back last night from an overnight at Norwich and it was an amazing experience. If you are thinking of doing a campus tour, don't. Do an overnight. You will gain so much more from it. A campus tour is going to show you the buildings and the history. How is that supposed to give you insight on whether or not to go? An overnight will you give insight into everything...classes, culture, etc.
    So for those considering an SMC and are not 100% sure, go on an overnight, you will get a much better impression if its the right fit.

    My experience is just from Norwich, I haven't visited any others. So this may or may not be true at The Citadel or VMI, for example. You will arrive on campus, and meet the student you will be shadowing. Make sure you tell the counselor's what branch of ROTC you are interested so they match you up with that individual. I was met by an Army ROTC rook. Now first thing I noticed was this. You will most likely be staying with freshmen, understand that they are the lowest of the low there. So if you go and they start talking to you "disrespectfully," understand that its because this is the first time there is someone below them. You will be refered to as "prospect" (this is at Norwich again, may be different at other schools, but I'm sure its something similar). Once you earn their respect, if you earn it...they will call you by your name.

    As far as what to wear, wear normal clothes. Don't wear a suit, they'll think that your an arrogant prick. Wear a polo, and jeans/kahkis. Don't wear skater shoes, all black, etc. Don't wear combat boots, yes I saw it. And definetly don't wear your JROTC uniform. I know I have seen admissions counselors on here say that it does not bother them, but don't wear it while shadowing your cadet. Why am I telling you this? Because if you are realistically thinking about attending an SMC, the person you shadow is likely to become your cadre. If you earn their respect, they will help you out a ton your first year. If you are that kid who wore their ROTC uniform, or expected them to salute to you...you will get more crap than you can handle.

    Now back on to the actual overnight. At Norwich its classes in the morning, activites in the afternoon. I got there in the afternoon, so I spent time in the barracks talking to the freshman there. You will be staying in their room. Its 3 to a room (plus you), so its a tight fit. Don't take up a ton of room, bring a sleeping bag and sleep on the floor. Ask as many questions as you want. They will give you a ton of insight, and tell you how it is. Remember they are only a years or two older than you, so you can talk to them like anyother person your age. If you did JROTC (I didn't, but this is what they told me about the other prospects), don't think you know more than they do. The military structure is their life, don't tell them about it thinking you know more.

    You will go to chow with them. The rooks were recognized early this year, so they had the privellage to eat normally and talk while at chow when I was there. You will eat with their platoon. This is neat, because you can pick up on the culture and the dynamics of the group. But there are certain things that the freshman can't do. For example they can't take certain stairs, etc. If they can't take the stairs, you shouldn't either. They'll respect you more.

    After chow the person I shadowed went back to the barracks to do HW. I went with two others in the platoon to the gym. If given the oppurtunity, do this. Its a lot of fun. I am much weaker compared to them...but they will be very encouraging while lifting, even if you're lifting half of what they are lifting. If the person you're shadowing stays in his room, while others are doing activites, try to go with the others to do activities. Plus if you earned the platoon's respect, they'll proabbly ask you if you want to go with them to wherever they are going.

    In the morning you will probably wake up at 0530 to go PT. Your guy/girl will give you the option of going or sleeping. Go. Its cool to do and see what they do. Marine ROTC does not let prospects PT with them, so if you signed up to shadow a Marine, you won't be able to PT with them (in which case PT with Army, MCW, etc) . After PT, you'll go back to your room, have a few minutes for hygeine, go to formation and then head off to chow. After that its off to classes.

    This is just to give you a quick insight into what you will be doing on an overnight. But my biggest point is this. Earn their respect. If you earn their respect your exeprience on the overnight will be awesome. And they'll remember you the following year when they become your cadre. Don't be one of those kids who looks down upon them, or thinks they are better. There was another prospect there who told them that Norwich was their 9th choice. Don't do this.
     
  2. Devil5891

    Devil5891 Norwich Cadet

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    Just wondering, who did you shadow and what platoon was it
     
  3. Kernal D

    Kernal D Member

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    Golfarb1...Thank you for the great comments...I have shared them with our staff here in Admissions!
     
  4. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    Goldfarb,
    Excellent post. My son also gained a great deal by his overnight to Norwich last year. It really gave him insight into what was ahead of him. The corp of cadets is an unique college experience. The overnight is the best way to know what you are getting into. You write of how to "conduct" yourself in the overnight. Excellent. The conduct of a person is truly the most important thing at Norwich or anywhere else for that matter. It is the foundation of leadership, all else is secondary. The military is a very large organization with many opportunities. You will have triumphs and defeats along the way. Conduct yourself well in victories and defeats. Always "try" which is the Norwich motto where ever you are. I really think you will do well. My son is prospering in the Corp. He just made one of the Army clubs and is doing real well with the school work.

    PS Get yourself into the best possible physical shape in the months before you get to school.
     
  5. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    The day I arrived at VMI, one of the two young ladies I spent the night with during my senior year immediately recognized me. She and her roommates made fun of me more than they tormented me that year (haha), and then they became some of my closest friends throughout my cadetship. My First Class (senior) year would not have gone the way it did had it not been for the three years of mentorship these ladies provided me.

    When I was a Third Classman (sophomore), I remembered all of the new rats who had been my prospective cadets the year before.

    I work at a military high school now. When one of our seniors talked to me about VMI, I told our College Placement Officer that he really needed to go to an Open House. She informed me that he had attended an Open House last year when he was a junior. I didn't make the connection right away, but I realized a couple of weeks later that I totally remember him. He was the one who asked two questions that were so stupid, I specifically remember jumping in to answer them diplomatically before any of the other Keydets had a chance to respond. It wasn't hard, because everyone pretty much stared in amazement. Now... when I say "stupid questions," that Open House was over a year ago and I still remember what they were. He eagerly asked, "What's the hazing like? Do they beat you as a rat?", and then followed up in the same Q&A session with, "How are the girls over at Washington & Lee?" The fact that there really are stupid questions you can ask at Open House is not the point. The point is: I remember.

    SMCs are smaller than the Service Academies. The likelihood that you will be remembered by those who met you as a prospective cadet is considerably higher than it is for people who attend Summer Seminar at the SAs.

    Cadets are often very unforgiving people. Do not be surprised if your first impression haunts you for four years.

    Good luck,

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
    First Class PVT (Ret.)
     
  6. HMQ

    HMQ Member

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    VMI Open House

    Speaking of overnight visits - my husband and I were at VMI's open house last weekend with our son, who had the opportunity to stay in the Old Barracks with a member of this year's Rat Mass (am I using the correct term?:redface:) What an outstanding experience! The folks there really know how to do it right.

    Before we made the trip, I asked our son to read through this thread for all the helpful information. Thanks for all the great posts!

    And - bonus! - we attended a modern language information session (my son is interested in a minor in Arabic) and Professor Sunnen showed a photo of two cadets looking up at the camera as they appeared to be clinging by their fingernails to the edge of a cliff. One was a German military exchange student, and the other was RahVaMil - I felt as though we had come full circle!

    HMQ
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Was she looking excited or petrified? RahVaMil we want to hear the backstory on this picture:wink:

    HMQ- what was your sons take away? Did he feel like VMI was a good fit for him?
     
  8. HMQ

    HMQ Member

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    Our son's takeaway? It is an understatement to say that he only has eyes (and heart) for VMI. He has already received his appointment for this coming fall semester, and we thought it important for him to have the experience of the overnight before making his final decision. Husband and I are also impressed with the overall high quality of the program.

    I've already put the dates on my calendar for Matriculation, New Market Oath and Parent's Weekend :thumb:

    HMQ
     
  9. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    My advice to you at this point would be make reservations for your hotel room in Lexington for Parents weekend sooner rather than later. It's not that big of a town and all of the Hotel rooms will fill up by mid summer for the October Parents weekend. The closer you are to the school the better off it will be for Parents weekend as your Rat will want mostly to do 3 things (in addition to seeing you of course):
    a. Eat (my advice for most food/ best value/ shortest lines at parents weekend is a German Restaurant - The Edelweiss) just south of Staunton about 20 minutes north of Lexington. There are a fair number of restaurants in Lexington- mostly chains- all of them will be packed with fairly long lines to get in. Be prepared:rolleyes: Generally you will wind up with at least one other Rat in tow whose parents didn't make it- cost of doing business - you'll enjoy it because you will then get to hear a lot more of the stories as they tell them to each other with you in the middle!
    b. Sleep for much of friday and saturday night. He'll have to be back by midnight so the closer you can be to VMI - the more time he has to nap in a decent bed while you tiptoe around him!
    c. Go to Walmart to stock up his "food" and "miscellaneous" boxes. Saturday night you will see the aisles loaded with Rats and parents stripping Walmart of Protein Drink powder; Gatorade mix; Beef Jerky; Granola and energy bars etc... as well as shampoo/ bandaids/ disinfectant/ room deodorizor (those rooms can really reek even though they are technically clean- go figure) etc....
     
  10. larry2013

    larry2013 Member

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    Bruno has terrific info and insight - my son is just completing his 4th year - one thing I have told those coming up behind me - if you can afford to - go to VMI the saturday before new market oath - if its like last year, that saturday has a home football game, your rat can sit with you after halftime and then get a couple hours to go out in your company - I didnt know this last year, but son was lucky enough to get scooped up by another rat's family and I just heard about the next day at the picnic lunch at new market.
    I can only echo Bruno's comments regarding parent weekend - they do eat and sleep - my son really most caredf about using the hotel room to sleep/nap on a bed, and talk on my phone to his girlfriend. Sunday was the day I thought they had the most time - after I had to give up the hotel room and his nap, that's when we went to Wal Mart!
    Enjoy your visits - I would also recommend STP if you can swing the $$, if I remember correctly, out of state cadets might have some scholarship available for it. The lectures for parents, the equipment and familiarity with the compound - are really invaluable - makes matriculation easier!
    larrys mom
     
  11. HMQ

    HMQ Member

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    Bruno and Larrys Mom - thanks for the great tips! You help make us feel welcomed into the VMI family!
     
  12. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    First, let me put a plug out there for my department. :smile: I majored in Modern Languages & Cultures (MC), and the faculty members within the department are truly amazing people. With the size of the Institute, your professors are going to know you regardless. But the MC Department is small. There are few MC majors (the curriculum is designed to work very well with a double major in History or International Studies & Political Science), so you really get to know your language professors.

    I'm teaching high school Spanish now and I feel like I'm really flying by the seat of my pants. The MC Department Head and my Academic Adviser have been wonderful mentors for me this year. I've been back to the Institute a couple of times since graduating. The first people I want to see are my rat-ties (the ones I mentored as part of VMI's Dyke System), but my second stop is almost always the 400-level of Scott Shipp Hall. Then I go to my other professors' offices to see if they are around.

    The #1 thing that prepared me for a career in education was the quality of instruction at VMI. It's not a big name research school, so the professors are there because they love teaching. On a daily basis, you interact personally with PhDs in the field of your choice. There's a huge difference between a professor and a true teacher. The VMI faculty is mainly comprised of teachers, who happen to have PhDs.

    That said... you can find the semi-famous picture here. :smile: It's a little hard to see through the clouds, but that's Machu Picchu below us. We were climbing Huayna Picchu, the huge mountain that towers behind the ruins in all the pictures.
     
  13. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    To further hijack this thread, since I think it will be applicable to any of the SMCs...

    This is great advice for rat year. I remember passing out at the Holiday Inn Express in good ol' Lex Vegas for the weekend of the New Market Oath Ceremony and Parents' Weekend. Then we went to Wal-Mart to pick up all kinds of food and cleaning supplies. I don't remember where we went for supper, but your rat-tie will eat anything that doesn't come from Club Crozet (the mess hall is Crozet Hall). Your rat will be thrilled to just get off Post for a little while.

    After rat year, your cadet will want to get as far away from the Institute as possible. :thumb: For Parents' Weekend of Third Class year, my parents got a hotel in Staunton. It was a farther drive to and from the Institute, but it was out of county. I had to leave and return in uniform, but as soon as we got to the hotel I changed into civvies to go out to eat and to hit Wal-Mart down there. This helped diminish some of the Third Class Year Blues, so it was better for all of us. :cool:

    We did the same thing when my parents came out for Ring Figure, but I didn't spend as much time off Post that weekend due to the schedule of activities.

    Although the New Market Oath Ceremony is only two weeks after Matriculation Day, you will already notice some changes in your son or daughter. I remember being so glad to see my parents, but more than that, I was actually proud to see them, and so proud for them to see me. When we ate lunch at the Battlefield, it was the first time they had seen me in a VMI uniform other than the PT gear I wore on Matriculation Day.

    When your rat comes home for furlough, don't be surprised when the first 48 hours are spent in a comatose state. I was known to sleep for 14-18 hours at a time whenever I came home from VMI. It really freaked my poor mama out when I was a rat, but then she learned to just not schedule any doctor or dentist appointments within the first two days I was home. She would schedule all appointments for sometime after the first two days, and she would call or email to ask me if it was okay for her to make an appointment before noon.
     
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I thought that I would resurrect this one in part because it has some really good insights for those of you who are going to visit as prospective cadets next fall and it still has a pretty good sense of reality for those of you who are going to matriculate at an SMC this summer. A couple more thoughts if you are going matriculate at an SMC- any SMC whether it is VMI- Norwich - The Citadel -A&M etc...
    A. Don't join a Facebook group this summer and start talking about what a combination of George Patton and Rambo you are going to be. IF you are going to do that- just make sure that you paint a big bulls eye on your chest and your rack so that the rest of your room mates don't become "collateral damage" when every Third Class Corporal on the Cadre detail comes bashing in your door. The idea is to show up anonymously and do your job competently and without fan fare. Trust me it will be far superior to the alternative!
    B. Show up in good shape!!! If you are going to STP at VMI - you will have a month of directed PT to help you get in shape before matriculation- but don't sit around an rely on them to get you there-you CAN do a lot on your own and you will be glad for it come August. In particular- RUN NOW- RUN LOTS, Run Hard. Do lots of Pushups- The only equipment you need to do them is the ground so there really is no reason why you can't work on these every day! The VMI Phys Ed Dpt has put together a pretty good work out program to help you get in shape- http://www.vmi.edu/show.aspx?tid=37099&id=2414&ekmensel=8f9c37c3_229_0_2414_6
    C. Understand that you are entering an environment where you are going to be judged on what you do; how you do it and how you help your peers to succeed. If you are a team athlete you understand this- but you need to understand that you only win when the team wins; and you can cause the team to lose if you don't perform your part.

    D. Initially it's not supposed to be that much fun! It's supposed to be a challenge. It will be harder if you don't prepare but you can do it. None of these schools will shoot you; they won't boil you and eat you; and much of the stress is of your own making. You can do it and tens of thousands have done so before you. What ever you do- DO NOT go into this planning on bailing out if you don't like it. Instead- tell yourself that you have to make it through your 4th class year and then decide if it's worth coming back.

    E. Remember you are going to college. If you don't understand the right priority of things you will be a very physically fit college dropout- so prepare your head for college level course work taught in a demanding (yet oddly supportive environment)

    Congratulations on graduating from HS- Enjoy your summer; work now to get ready and get pumped for an achievable challenge that you will be proud of for the rest of your life.
     

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