It’s that time of year, when many parents of 18 year olds are loading up their cars and moving their children into college dorms for the first time. This is actually a picture of our daughter’s car, packed to the gills, everything but the kitchen sink, filled with the essentials to begin her senior year.
This is a picture of our oldest son’s belongings to begin his freshmen year. His simple packing includes two boxes and a suitcase. He is taking the road less traveled to an institution that reveres honor, duty and respect, The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.
While at many colleges and universities, the student can request his or hers roommate, here at El Cid you get what you are given. For whatever stars were aligned when the placements were made, Adam was so lucky to have an old friend be assigned to his same company. It is said that during this first year, the cadets will form true, lifelong friendships. We had just finished the Gathering, a service held in the Summerall Chapel on campus, where the families and cadets sang and prayed for this new adventure. It was a blessing to pray beside him one last time until Thanksgiving. It was a good time the two guys to joke around and prepare for the next day.
We arrived to Matriculation Day at 7:00 am to a snake of cars winding their way to the gate where the cadets received their company assignments. We then drove to the side of First Battalion, called Murray Barracks, where Adam’s company is located. We were greeted by an army of blue shirted parent volunteers. These moms and dads of upperclassmen helped us unload our car, get us oriented, answered questions, and offered comfort and support to the uncertainty some of us were feeling.
A few minutes later, Adam came out slightly panicked because he had the wrong type of socks on. We bought 15 pairs of “no show” white socks. Oops! It was suppose to be white crew length. A new “brother” of the corps let him borrow a pair.
We helped him carry his stuff to his room. It was whispered to me that us girls should not carry anything heavier than a pillow. Okie dokie! Adam carried, not rolled, his large suitcase. You don’t need to give the upperclassmen any reason to rag you.
Families left that day with mixed emotions. We all want to know what they are doing, but the cadets have no phone or Internet for ten days.TEN DAYS!!! Ugh! I want to know everything! Luckily for us, The Citadel has been posting pictures of their activities. See here? They are having loads of fun memorizing The Guidon while waiting in line for supplies. Looks like they visited the barber too!
The cadet lifestyle provides a structured environment that supports growth and development of each student’s intellect, discipline, physical fitness, and moral and ethical values.
The SC Corps of Cadets is a unique institution that isn’t for everyone. Out of the 2,958 applicants, 781 reported on Matriculation Day and as of the fourth day 32 knobs have dropped out. For those who graduate, honor, duty and respect are theirs.