Learning The Citadel Website

The Citadel

Each year about this time the stats for this blog go a bit nuts as anxious family and friends search for information on their Citadel knob, a first year cadet recruit at The Citadel. I am not a graduate of the school and cannot speak to what the 4th Class System is like from a cadet perspective. I can however tell you about what it is like to be a concerned parent.

On my personal Facebook page I will post the blog search terms of the day when something strikes me as particularly funny or unique. One term that makes me laugh is “Dorie Citadel,” especially since I was so anxious about the whole 4th Class System when my son was going through it in 2007. Some of the search terms make me wish I could reach out to the person searching for information to tell them it will be OK. My email address is in the About Dorie section if you would like to ask a questions to me directly.

This week, the first week knobs are on campus, I give new parent a few tips on navigating the school web site. For instance, everything they do is outlined on the Office of the Commandant page under the Operations and Training section, then click on Training Schedules. Just scroll down and look for the current week. This week the schedule is broken down by company. After this week you’ll know your knobs class schedule and will see the general schedule for the Corps of Cadets.

On the Facebook groups for parents, here is the link for the 2018 parent group, you can find previous posts and topics by entering a search term into the search window function. Look for the magnifying glass icon on the upper right side of a group page under the cover photo. Click on the icon and the search window appears. Enter your search term and press enter. Previous posts on that term will appear. A photo of the icon is on this page.

A caution about Facebook and social media for this first year, knobs want to keep a low profile. While as parents we are proud of the decision our son or daughter made in attending The Citadel, tagging them on public pages or using a hashtag to ID them as being a knob at The Citadel will raise the profile of a knob and therefore may bring more attention to a knob.

The Facebook group search window will appear when you click on the magnifying glass icon.
The Facebook group search window will appear when you click on the magnifying glass icon. to the right of the words Notification and Create Group.

A word of caution about the various YouTube videos out there. If you are struggling with not speaking to your student this first week, wait to view the videos. There are some really fun and inspiring videos, but there are also quite a few out there of the cadre yelling at the knobs. You will note in the recent ones that the TAC officers, staff who oversee the barracks, are seen observing the cadets. It is still hard to watch knowing your student will be the one getting yelled at this year. If you don’t mind seeing knobs get yelled at see this video of the knobs returning form the beach in 2011.

Each company determines when the knobs get their phone and computer privileges. Usually it is by the start of classes. Please know that knobs have no control over their time and cannot pick up the call or answer a text at will. This is hard on parents but really difficult for some girlfriends to understand. If a knob hangs up quickly it is because someone entered the room. Do not call them back. Wait for them to call you when they can.

Do send goodies to them each cadet has their own preference. My son preferred healthy food. Another Citadel Mom wrote a great blog post about care packages and how to save money on postage. You can read it here. You can order boxes through the US Post Office free online. The box #1096L is the largest small box that fits in their boxes. The box will fit in a flat rate envelope saving you postage. You can save money of postage by using the Click-N-Ship option.

Many parents ask when they can see their knob for the first time. This year August 31 is the day they will first be able to get off campus for the afternoon. If you can’t wait to see them until parents Weekend,  which is October 10 – 12, 2014, the best time to see them is on what is called an open weekend on the Yearly Planning Calendar. Open and Closed weekends don’t mean too much for knobs since they cannot have an overnight this first semester. On an Open weekend there are no mandatory Saturday Morning Inspections (SMI) and upperclass cadets can request leave for the weekend. For knobs it means they can go off campus Friday night, Saturday from about 7:00 am – 11:30 pm and Sunday from after chapel or Ethics seminar (10:00am) until 7:00pm or so.

Each year the Corps of Cadets participate in a few special events. You can read about them on the website by clicking here. Parents Weekend is a big occasion for knobs. It is during a ceremony Saturday of Parents Weekend that they are promoted from cadet recruits to cadet privates. During the ceremony the cadre and knobs do a class set of pushups and the knobs receive the company letter which is worn on their uniform. For more information on Parents Weekend schedule watch the school web site and the Cadet Activities page. You can also read previous posts by putting “Parents Weekend” in the search window of this site.

The Cadet Activities office has a program where they will quietly deliver cookies to cadets for special occasions. You can read about it here. They also handle the order forms for the school newspaper The Brigadier, a good way fro families to keep up with the happenings on campus.

The football games are fun to attend. For tickets and information on all the athletic events visit the web site Citadel Sports. They also have a Facebook page, The Citadel Sports. The Citadel Brigadier Foundation is another good page to follow. The foundation raises funds to
support the athletic program and scholarships.

Professor Tiffany Silverman with Monuments Men author, Robert Edsel, and several cadets at the VIP reception before the lecture
Professor Tiffany Silverman with Monuments Men author, Robert Edsel, and several cadets at the VIP reception before the lecture

If you are more into the arts, you’ll be thrilled to learn about Fine Arts at The Citadel. A terrific program that last year brought in the author of the book Monuments Men to campus for a book signing and talk. The program is headed by Professor Tiffany Silverman and offers a variety of classes to cadets, including a Fine Arts minor.

I encourage each family to take time to learn about the school and what is available by exploring the web site. The A-Z Search option is a great tool and the People Search option is also very helpful. Both are located under the Info tab of the citadel.edu web site.

Survival Tips for Knob Parents

The Class of 2018 reports to 5th battalion. photo by David Hall
The Class of 2018 reports to 5th battalion.
photo by David Hall

Welcome to The Citadel parent family!
I am sure Matriculation Day was a mixed bag of emotions for you. The Citadel Family Association volunteers do a terrific job of helping ease what is usually a very stressful day for families. The real tough time for parents begins today.

I am not a graduate of The Citadel so I cannot speak to the cadet experience, but I can relate to how a parent feels when they send their student off to knob year. If you are a parent of a knob, please join the Facebook group I moderate, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018. I will not accept requests to join from extended family members or friends. It is very time consuming volunteer work to keep the parent groups going. I cannot extend an invitation to extra people. Please send me an email before you request to join to verify you are the parent of a knob send me their name and company. My email can be found in the “About Dorie” section of this blog site.

5th Battalion photo by David Hall
5th Battalion
photo by David Hall

This first week without contact from your knob is tough. Each year parents find some measure of comfort by visiting the various school Facebook groups to find photos and videos of the week. I’ll post a few links to helpful Facebook groups at the end of this entry.

A note about Facebook and social media this first year. Facebook groups can be a great way to connect with other parents. It can also cause trouble among parents and cadets when too much is shared to a group wall, or when parents think they should know everything that is going on every minute of every day.

Please limit your posts to general questions. If you have specific questions pertaining to your cadet you send private messages to a trusted friend or CFA volunteer. Do not post specifics about your knob or any cadet to a Facebook group or page.

Know that the groups were established to answer general questions, not to give a full accounting of everything a cadet will do each day. The Citadel is a leadership school. The knobs will learn to take control of their process and learn to navigate the 4th Class System. You can be an encouraging presence. You cannot do this for them.

Related to Facebook is the tagging of your knob in photos. It is best not to tag photos you see on public sites. When you tag your knob the photo is then visible to their friends and family and they begin to post comments. The comments will be visible to the public. Most knobs want to keep a low profile. If you see a photo of your knob, download it and repost to your own page for your family and friends to see.

If at any time you have a concern, I encourage you to address the appropriate department on campus. If the question pertains to something in the company or barracks contact the TAC officer for the company or battalion. A confidential resource on campus is the ombudsperson’s office. They will take your calls or emails an answer your questions confidentially. You can find their contact information and other resources on the web page named H.E.L.P.

On Monday night the school will have a live stream presentation of the Oath Ceremony. You can find the details linked to the home page of the school web site or click here.

Starting this week and throughout the year you can see the schedule for the Corps of Cadets on the Office of the Commandant page. Once on the page click on Operations and Training, then Training Schedules , then look for the week you are interested in reading about. The schedule for this first week is titled, “August 16 – 24, 2014 (Company rotation schedule).” You will see the knobs are kept VERY busy in meetings all week.

Great Facebook pages to follow this year include:

The Citadel

Citadel Photography

The Citadel Bookstore

The Citadel Alumni Association

The Citadel Sports

The Citadel – Department of Cadet Activities

Count down for The Citadel Class of 2018

Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their pT clothes.
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes.

We are less than two weeks away from Matriculation Day for The Citadel Class of 2018. I thought I’d post a few helpful Facebook groups new parents may want to join or follow as well as a few links to helpful web pages on the school site.

By now your soon-to-be knob should have read through the Success Packet and have the items listed on the required list. Please note that there is a big change to the instructions for knobs this year. On page 7 of the Success packet the labeling instructions for clothes is listed. In past years all labeling was done once the knobs arrived.

The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.
The Class of 2014 reports in on Matriculation Day.

The Citadel Family AssociationNice to Have List” is just suggested items to pack along too. The iron is a must. Some companies do not allow knobs to have full size ironing boards so to start off send along a travel size board. Cleaning supplies are also good to send along at the beginning and just a few school supplies to start with since each class has different requirements a notebook or two and pens, pencils and a stapler are a good idea to send too.

Charlie Company knobs report.
Charlie Company knobs report.

Regarding social media:If your son or daughter hasn’t already their privacy settings on social media should be set very high. They should not have any photos with them wearing Citadel clothing, or any branch of the military. They also should not post anything with a Citadel related hashtag unless they want the attention of all the cadets and alumni before they start.

Your family and friends, including girlfriends and boyfriends of knobs should be made aware they should not tag photos of your knob that appear on public pages. They should also understand that this year a knob will not be able to return calls or texts at will. Be patient and then be grateful for what ever communication you have.

Facebook groups for parents:

The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018 This group is only for parents of knobs in the class of 2018 or parents of cadets transferring into the school. Please send a private message to me on Facebook to verify you are a parent of a knob. You can also send me an email to verify you are the parent of a member of the class of 2018

Citadel Alumni Grad/Dad Advice – For parents of all cadets with some staff and administration. This group established by Paul Tamburrino offers information for parents in a straight forward manner, no sugar-coating here.

Facebook pages to follow (all family members may follow these pages):

The Citadel

Citadel Photography

The Citadel Bookstore

Citadel Family Association (CFA)

The Citadel Sports

A knob gets special attention Sunday morning.

Once your knob gets involved with various activities and departments there are other groups to join as well. Each battalion has a group and many companies have Facebook groups for parents. I usually advise parents to join the groups the first year but wait until after knob year to post to groups with parents of all classes in them. I also advice all parents to use caution and not to post information particular to your cadet to any group page.

The Cadre lead the Class of 2016 from the mess hall to their first meeting. The first week this process is repeated over and again.
The Cadre lead the Class of 2016 from the mess hall to their first meeting. The first week this process is repeated over and again.

Tips for Matriculation Day:

Make a list of all items you have to bring. Include your knobs wallet and ID on the list. Each year someone leaves theirs at home

Print out the information on the Office of the Commandant Matriculation Day page, especially the schedule for the day, traffic diagram, and necessary forms to bring.

If you arrive ahead of time, make a dry run to the campus from your hotel so you will avoid wrong turns the morning of matriculation day.

Remember to say your good-byes at the hotel that morning. Once on campus things move pretty quickly. Do try to snap a few photos of your knob when they come out in their “knobbie” clothes. They are great photos to look at four years later.

Read through the link on the left hand side of this page titled Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first day for additional tips.

Take a deep breath. You’ve got this.

Bravo knobs meet the cadre right after the sallyport gates are closed, Matriculation Day, 2010
Bravo knobs meet the cadre right after the sallyport gates are closed, Matriculation Day, 2010