In the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to attend a couple of events for incoming cadets of The Citadel and their parents. I remember vividly all the events leading up to our son’s Matriculation Day in 2007. I also remember how I felt at that time . . . Totally bewildered by the whole process.
If you’ve read my blog posts before you know most of my advice for new cadets and their families can be found on the left side of this page. Today I am including a few of the top tips for both new cadets and their parents.
For the Class of 2016:
I am sure you are tired of hearing it, and you may even roll your eyes when your parents mention breaking in your shoes, but it really is the one thing you can do to make your life easier come August.
Enjoy the time you have with your family and friends. Cut your parents a break if they want you around a bit more in the next month.
Set your Facebook privacy settings really high. That is good advice for business people too.
For the Parents of the Class of 2016:
Take a deep breath. Your student has decided to attend The Citadel. It is a tough program, but if they decided to attend this school, they have it within themselves to succeed.
Start learning to let your student make the decisions about getting ready to report. It is good training for you. Once they enter the sallyport gates of their battalion you will have to defer to them when it comes to schedules to meet, where to meet, etc.
Make your hotel reservations early.many of the hotels have filled their blocks of discounted rooms for Citadel families already. There is a PGA golf tournament on Kiawah Island the same time as Matriculation Day. I am still compiling lists of properties with available rooms. The Marriott near campus is extending a $249 rate to Citadel families who use this link. Look for hotels in Mt. Pleasant or North Charleston for better rates in general. I’ve written in a previous post about the hotels who traditionally have offered a Citadel Family rate, but most of them are nearing capacity. They may have rooms but not at a discount.
The first week or two without your cadet is the toughest. The Citadel External Affairs office and the Citadel Cadet Activities office usually post photos and other information to their Facebook pages. Be sure to “Like” them.
When you are upset that you can’t call or get an email from your cadet, remember the scores of military parents who don’t hear from their soldiers for months when they are in boot camp. The ability for knobs to have cell phones first semester is still pretty new. Don’t expect a lot of sympathy from your friends who had cadets during the no cell phone time period.
When you are on campus for Matriculation Day the parent volunteers of The Citadel Family Association are there to help. Get their business card and lean on their experience this first year. It will be your turn to help next year.
Join the Facebook group for your cadet’s Battalion and/or Company. It is a great way to learn about the various big weekends and times of year. Many parents will post photos when they are on campus for parades too.
Remember The Citadel is a Leadership School. Your cadet will go through a tough process and you will be amazed at how he or she will grow as an adult in just one academic year.
To both the cadet recruits of 2016 and your parents, Hold on it’s going to be a wild ride!