R Day advice

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by nukepharm, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. nukepharm

    nukepharm Member

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    We are returning from R day and I thought while it was still fresh in my mind I might tell you some things I wish I had known.
    1. This was the most emotionally draining day I have had in a very long time. Be prepared for all sorts of emotions to come bubbling up in the days leading up to it as well. Your cadet may become withdrawn and grumpy as the nerves set in.

    2. Try to get there before the day prior, but not too early. We drove up Friday. That was perfect. Any earlier would have just made him more nervous than he already was.

    3. Bring cash! There are ATM's but some things such as the R day Buffet are cash only.

    4. Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes. It will be a hurry up and wait kind of day.

    5. Bring tissues and water. You will need both!

    6. Do what works best for you and your family that day. You can wander around campus, do some retail therapy, sit in the corner and cry, write your cadet his or her first letter and mail it from Ike Hall. We even took the shuttle back to the car and napped for 20 minutes which helped my 9 yr old tremendously. Just stay flexible and don't feel like you have to do exactly what others are doing.

    7. Understand that leaving the next day or whenever you leave is almost harder than the 60 second goodbye! Driving away from West Point was heart wrenching!

    Good luck and enjoy the ride!
     
  2. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    nukepharm: I concur with #1. I was surprised at how emotionally draining I found R-Day. We've dropped our son off at boarding school 2500 miles from home four times prior to this dropoff and never once did I cry or have any misgivings after those high-school partings. This was different. WP is not regular college. Military life is not life as usual. Not for one moment was I unaware that I was on a military base and not a college campus. I did not purchase any swag. I did not cry either, but I was sad in my soul when we left and the heaviness is still there. I don't know when or if it will every go away. The Army has my boy.

    VelveteenKid was a bit nervous but excited prior to R-day and really enjoyed meeting classmates at the reception Sunday afternoon. He felt he'd found his peeps. I'm waiting to hear how Velveteen(new)Cadet is reconciling the reality with the dream. I pray it's all he hoped it would be.
     
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  3. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    I was thinking about you @VelveteenR . I was so glad for the reception at the Thayer the day before Rday. My son was very active on the cadet FB page so he recognized many of the cadets right away from chatting on FB. I understood what you meant when you wrote 'he found his peeps.' When we took him to an Academy Day a few years ago (the first one of several that we eventually attended), we asked him for his impressions. His first comment was 'I felt like I was in a room full of people just like me.' Then we knew; he'd found his peeps.

    And I can't wait to hear about his experiences at Beast!
     
  4. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    I agree with Nukepharm - all are great tips. We walked a ton. Bring lots of water and be prepared to sit in the stands waiting for the parade for a long time. They had the main parents' briefing at 3:00. After it was over, they said to make sure we got to the stands early for the parade. This equated to most people going over there to grab their seats by 4:30 and the parade started at 6:30 p.m. I can only imagine how bad that wait in the stands would have been on a very hot, humid day. We were grateful for pleasant weather that was not too hot. It was a very long, emotional day. We had our 60 seconds to say goodbye to our kids. It's too bad they weren't selling Bloody Mary's for breakfast after we had to let them go; I could have used a drink then! LOL! I'm so glad that we knew ahead of time that we would not get to see them again after the parade. I felt so bad for the parents that weren't really aware of that, as they thought they were going to be able to meet their New Cadet one last time after the parade, take pictures with them in uniform, give one final hug, etc. I was so heartbroken to see how distraught they were when they realize that they couldn't. The closing of the mess hall doors after the cadets marched in at the end of parade was very effective symbolism that they were really gone, too. Tears streamed down my cheeks then, as well. Overall, I felt the day was fairly well orchestrated. My only wish would be for them to have the parent briefing at about 5:00 and then we could all head to the stands then.
     
  5. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    This is what the Graduation Day parade is like only you have to be there hours in advance and people will try to save rows of seats for their lazy, slow relatives who can't get out of the bed and hustle. :wink: Hot and humid is almost a given. A-Day in August will probably be hot, humid, with afternoon thunderstorms and there will be lots more people so you will have to get there earlier again.
     
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  6. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    I agree that there was too much time between the parent's briefing and the parade. Way too much. I sat there while my husband went in search of food and drinks so the divide and conquer method was how we dealt with the situation. Having a food kiosk near the parade grounds would have been a super idea - and a huge money maker for whoever ran that stand!

    I'm stunned that anyone actually thought they'd see their cadet one last time after they emphasized over and over again that we'd only have the 60 second goodbye. I don't think they could have made that any clearer. Those families will need to learn to take the time to read the info that comes out of West Point.
     
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  7. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    It was a great day...thoroughly wonderful. Yes emotional, but we were brave and enjoyed meeting parents from around the country. No one in our party cried at Ike ...a couple of proud tears at the parade, but that's all. I don't understand parents who are totally unprepared for what happens on Rday. There is so much info given out from WP. Maybe these same people will not know to come early for Aday and we'll not have to fight for seats! ;)
     
  8. ArmyDad28

    ArmyDad28 Member

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    Bookreader, there was a Food Truck just behind the bleacers! Cold drinks and good food selection. Definitely helped pass the 2 hours waiting for the parade. And agree, we were all told multiple times that we would have no contact following the parade, so not sure how folks got confused on that one. It was a great day, we were blessed with great weather...and compared to our NC's, I'm sure our day was a lot more pleasant!
     
  9. whitewolf

    whitewolf Member

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    To those who think people were confused about no contact. . . there may have been a few but I honestly think most of the folks out there are probably as bright as the new cadets they produced! They were just hoping to defeat the odds and see their new cadet one last time before leaving! I know, I was one of the chumps standing in a throng outside the cadet area watching the new cadets get yelled at. After all, those were somebody's new cadets out there, maybe I'll get to see mine!! (didn't have bins tho', so don't think I could have picked her out even if she was there! lol)
     
  10. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Navy gets to give a final hug, so I think some were actually expecting that. It's amazing some of the things some parents have said, so I would not be surprised at all if many expected to see them again. Many go into this totally uninformed.
     
  11. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    I definitely met some parents who were uniformed about everything surrounding the process. I suppose if their new cadet didn't give them any information to look at, and they are not on the internet looking things up, then I guess that would explain it. I can't imagine being that disengaged, but then again, every family is different.
     
  12. VelveteenR

    VelveteenR Just gathering dust in the nursery...

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    We knew we'd have no contact after those 60 seconds but were fortunate enough to snap a pic of him walking across the street with his group (pre-haircut, thank heaven) as we were ambling around. I sent him that photo in a letter last week as I know he was not aware we were so close, and we knew better than to attempt communication. He had a rather intense look on his face, but he was carrying that ruck with ease. I still feel bad that we couldn't pick him out of his company at the oath ceremony. We're relying on him to recognize us at A-Day so we don't try to hug the wrong cadet. Ha!

    mom3boys: I sat next to you at the briefing. ;)
     
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  13. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    We're relying on him to recognize us at A-Day so we don't try to hug the wrong cadet. Ha!

    I love that there are name tapes on their ACUs. Makes finding Waldo so much easier. :)
     
  14. DadOfSwags

    DadOfSwags Proud USMA2016 Dad

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    Trust me. At least once in the next 12 months you will print out a picture from somewhere online (WPAOG, Some parent's Flickr feed) and hang it on your frudge, convinced that the shaved head is your son, only to find out later it's not. Every parent has a story like that. LOL.
     
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  15. nukepharm

    nukepharm Member

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    Dad of Swags, I already did this! Proudly posted a picture to face book of another shaved head new cadet...not mine! lol
     
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  16. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 Parent

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    Soon enough, they'll all feel like yours. :)
     
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  17. FlyBoy1993

    FlyBoy1993 Member

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    yeah, it's Ok to hug any of them...so to speak.

    Your cadet will be able to let you know their platoon/ company for A-Day so you will know the general area to look.
     
  18. Copenhagen

    Copenhagen Member

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    A question about R-Day...
    My kid's Grandfather would like to attend R-Day. But, he is in his 80s and is not able to walk long distances. Reading about all the walking, parking off-site, busses, etc, I am not sure if he would make it through the day. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
     
  19. bookreader

    bookreader Member

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    ^^ You will have to decide what compromises you are willing to make. R day involved a lot of walking and standing. The campus is hilly and not very easy to traverse. So, if he comes, there will be trade offs and some sacrifices made.

    What we did last year was the grandparents drove up later in the day, parked in the handicap lot (luckily there was a spot for them as it's not a large area) and walked over to the field where the cadets march to. For this portion, there are (hard) benches for everyone to sit on. Then they walked back to their cars and that was enough for them. This allowed us to be with our son (we had to arrive very early as he was in the first group to report) and also meet with other parents and WP staff. We would not have been able to do as many things had we had the grandparents with us all day.
     
  20. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    The place is not very friendly for the aged. Not many restrooms and places to eat. If its hot, they will be miserable. I think A-Day may be better. Once your cadet candidate leaves after your 90 secs thats it. You won't see them again. You may spot them at the parade later in the day but there isn't much interaction. I would Attend R-Day, then you'll get a feel of how the area is laid out. Then decide if he can take it.

    Food is only available at Grant Hall and will be crowded to down right packed. There is a McDonalds out side the gate and thats the only fast food place other than the little foodie places in Highland Falls

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     

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