I love watching some of my fellow VMI Keydets get into it with guys from Norwich. Both will swear up and down they have the bigger ring, until one side breaks down and asks what the pennyweight of the other guy's is, and they realize it's the same size.
VMI and Norwich can get up to 44 pennyweight. I don't know about any of the other schools.
Mine's a 36. I was all about the 44, but when I went to order it, I realized how ridiculous the 44 was on my hand. I've got pics of me next to the guys with 44s, and with the size of my hand, you can't even tell my ring is smaller (due to proportions). The 36 is my 44.
VMI has different sizes to choose from (44, 40, 36, 28 and 7... but normally 7 pennyweight is reserved for dates and VMI Moms), but men and women alike choose whatever size they want. I'm curious... does anyone know if Norwich and The Citadel have different sizes for women?
The reason I ask is that I have had USMA Alumnae from the first few co-ed classes look at my ring in awe, saying they had all wanted the same size as the men but they were not given the choice. On the other hand, I recently met a few cadets from USCGA, and one of the female cadets asked me, "Don't they have women's sizes?" I was really taken aback by that - almost didn't even know how to respond. I explained to her that I've only known two female cadets at VMI who got the size 28, and they were really tiny (one needed a height waiver to be admitted, standing at a whopping 4'11 3/4"). In general, we want the same ring as the men because we endure the same BS they do. She explained to me that if they didn't have women's sizes, very few of the females at USCGA would get the ring. I was astounded, but apparently their Ring Dance isn't emphasized nearly as much as it is at other military schools.
In the end, it's just a piece of jewelry. It will always mean more to you and your classmates than to anyone else. Wear it with pride, but don't be a jackass... it doesn't make us any better than those who chose to attend a regular civilian college. But it does mean that society will expect more from us, because that ring will forever tie us to our schools.
Jackie M. Briski
VMI Class of 2009