Winter Furlough Notes for Citadel Parents

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Luminaries light a path toward 2nd Battalion December 2 after the Candlelight Service in Summerall Chapel

Winter furlough begins today for cadets at The Citadel. A time to celebrate to be sure.

Some will be thrilled with the grades their cadet achieved this semester. Others will not have fared that well and you’ll most likely have questions. The notes and links below should answer most of your questions. The links below will also bring you to the pages to find contact information for the appropriate person or department to address your questions. While this advice is manly for first year families, parents of cadets in all years may find the links helpful

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll already know this next bit of information. As I mentioned in this post from 2012, the beginning of second semester is tough for all cadets, knobs to seniors. They’ve just spent close to a month at home visiting with family and friends. Coming back to cadet life, getting up early, PT in the cold dark days of winter, is a tough reality.

For parents of knobs, if your son or daughter hasn’t questions their decision to attend The Citadel before, January and February are the months you may field that call. If you do get “the call” remind them that they are stronger than they think they are, encourage them to talk to their classmates. Once they talk to their classmates and other friends in the Corps they will realize they are not alone. It’s still tough but they will get through it. Remind them that Recognition Day is not too far off, March 17, this year.

This experience is so common the cadets have a name for it, the PG version is F’d up February. It is also tough when their friends decide for a variety of reasons not to return.

If you are a family with a student who has decided to leave The Citadel, I wish you and your student the best in their next endeavors.

My best wishes to all The Citadel cadets and families this holiday season.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah-Chanukah, Happy New Year!!

summerall-chapel-at-christmas

 

 

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Citadel Parents: Let it Go!

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Family and friends outside the barracks. Matriculation Day 2015

Parents, you won’t want to hear this, but you’ll never get it all right. No knob ever does anything right. As parents you can only do your best to get what is on the lists and then as the song goes, “Let it Go!”

I have not been a knob. I have however watched each year as parents sweat over the Success Packet list and the Nice to Have List. I get it. I really do. You want to do what you can to make sure your son or daughter has what they need to succeed. The secret is, if you’ve done your job as a parent, regardless of whether they have the right plastic bins and other items, your son or daughter has the strength and confidence to handle what will come their way.

The Citadel is a leadership school. The students attend this school because they expect to be challenged. They know, or should know, they are expected to own their successes and learn from their failures. You’ve given them a firm foundation to launch into their adult years. It is your time to step back and let them take control of their life.

If you wonder if they should bring something, ask your student if they want it. If they don’t leave it at home. While the school does issue lists and some things are permitted like coffee maker, computer printer, some basic snacks, some knobs do not want to have them. It should be their decision, not your as to whether they bring them or not. Families with friends that are current cadets, you’ll get advice from those friends but remember they will speak from their experience. While uniformity is more of the norm the cadets do develop their own preferences of what to bring and how to do their tasks. For instance if you ask five people whether they should bring a printer you’ll get five different answers.

The 4th Class system will teach the knobs to pull together as a team. They will make their own decisions. They will face the consequences of their actions or inaction. You cannot do this for them and you should not try.

You can be their sounding board. Listen to them vent, but don’t get caught up in the ups and downs of knob life. Remind them of their strengths. Remind them that they are prepared to meet the challenge. You can remind them to think through the processes to solve their own problems. It is a tough year, but they, and you, will have plenty of support.

If you are the parent of a knob, join the Facebook group for 2020 parents and the Citadel Family Association Facebook group. Follow the school Facebook page and the Citadel Photography page.

Five Days and a Wake up until Matriculation Day. You’ve got this. Let Go and enjoy the ride.

If you haven’t already, see these links about Matriculation Day:

What to Expect on Matriculation Day

An interview with Capt. Geno Paluso

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that First Day

The Citadel: A Visual of the First Few Days

 

 

The Citadel: Parent Information for Starting the Year

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A member of the class of 2019 turns in his cell phone to the first sergeant on Matriculation Day 2015.

A few parents in the Facebook group for 2020 parents have joined this week. We are now at 497 members of the group. All members are 2020 parents along with five parents of grads who help answer questions.

Most Matriculation Day and Weekend information can be found on the school website and this blog, but to make it easier to find I’ll include a few links here:

The Matriculation Headquarters page has the essential information. Read every link and all hyper links on the pages.

The Commandant’s Matriculation Information page is linked on the Matriculation Headquarters page and also has essential information.

My previous blog post about Matriculation Weekend includes some tips for parents.

Saturday, August 13 at 5:30 there is a dinner planned for 2020 families. The Charleston Citadel Club is hosting the event and allowing us to use their registration system. Advance reservations are required, Register HERE. Just enter Parent of Student from the drop down menu when it asks for Company name. Members of The Citadel Foundation and The Citadel Alumni Association are also helping with the event.

The Citadel main web site has a page for parents which includes helpful information including this page titled What to expect on Matriculation Day.

Another important link on the parents page of the school web site is for all parents and cadets to review titled Important Conversations to have with incoming Freshman and Upper Class.

The Useful Links page on the parent’s page is also a good one to book mark.

On this blog site there is a page called Helpful Web Links to help you find the web pages parents use most often as well as helpful blog posts.

Book mark this entry for easy reference later. Enjoy the time you have left with your soon-to-be knob. You’ve got this.

Matriculation Weekend Tips

Screenshot_2016-07-13-19-37-46The Citadel,  Class of 2020 reports the morning of August 13. By now the soon-to-be knobs should be checking the Matriculation Headquarters page each week for updates. Just last week they posted the schedule for the weekend.

A few tips to prepare for weekend:

  • Be sure you have made hotel reservations.
  • Instructions for reporting.
  • Drive to campus from your hotel the day before so you will know how to get to the Holliday Alumni Center. (See Traffic Diagram here) Getting lost Saturday morning can really add to the stress of the knob. (Ask me how I know)
  • Be sure you have a full tank of gas. You wait in your car in a long line Saturday morning. You won’t want to be the family that ran out of gas before you report.
  • Say your real goodbye’s before you leave the hotel or your home. Once you arrive on campus things move quickly and the knobs time will not be their own.
  • The knobs turn in their cell phones when they go into the barracks. They should turn them off before they walk in. They won’t get them back for at least a week.
  • Arrive on the early side. The line starts around 6:30am. Check in begins at 7:00 am. It will be hot arriving early means it will be a chilly 85-90 versus 90-100.
  • Once you get to the barracks the Citadel Family Association volunteers will be there to help unload your car and let you know where to move your car. They have blue shirts on and all of them have been in your shoes.
  • Once the boxes are unloaded the knob reports in on their own. (With their FERPA form) Parents must wait with the boxes.
  • Once the knob comes out you’ll do what he or she tells you to do. How things happen from here can vary by company and each year the process is fine tuned based on the current cadet leadership.
  • All families must be out of the barracks by 10am. Many families leave earlier because their son or daughter is ready to start their process .
  • There is an information fair in the McAlister fieldhouse. It is a great time to get your questions answered and meet people from various departments. The fieldhouse is air-conditioned and there are restrooms, and water fountains.
  • The President, Commandant and the Citadel Family Association rep address parents after the information fair.

FAQ

  • Extended family members can come with you, but you should be aware there is a lot of standing and waiting around. Ask you son or daughter who they want to drop them off. One good option is to have everyone at the hotel and only a few go to campus that morning. No know wants to report with a huge entourage.
  • If you have young children, bring quiet toys, snacks and water.
  • If you have older family members or family with disabilities that make standing difficult, bring a folding chair.
  • The presentation should be over around 12-12:30
  • You can attend Sunday worship but you will not interact with your son or daughter. They are divided into groups for worship, Protestant, Catholic, Anglican, and Ethics seminar.
  • The oath ceremony takes place Monday evening. The school has live  streamed it in the past. If you are in town you can attend. You will not interact with your son or daughter.

NOTE: Parents of the Class of 2020, if you haven’t already, join the Facebook group, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020. Go to the page request to join, then email me to let me know you are the parent of a knob.

Packing for Knob Year at The Citadel: Unofficial tips

NOTE: This is an outdated post.

This blog site is up to date: https://cadetparentadvice.com/cadet-packing-list/

Always check with school officials for current requirements, especially about the approved shoes and boots.

3rd battalion knobs
Knobs line up in 3rd battalion to get their PT clothes. On Matriculation Day.

Each year in late May or early June the school posts their Matriculation Headquarters page. The incoming knob should read everything on this page, click every link and read everything on the linked pages. Knobs will soon learn that they, not their parents, are expected to know what is contained in these pages. Incoming knobs should check the page at least once a week for updates.

There are assignments due throughout the summer. The Office of the Commandant will update their Matriculation Information page soon too. (NOTE: As of this writing, 6/12/2016, the information is still from last academic year.)

The required list of items for knobs can be found on pages 6-7 of the Success Packet. Please note that cadets must be in uniform when in the area around the school. The knobs will learn the rules once they arrive. Knobs do not need any civilian clothes. You may bring comfortable clothes for them to wear in the hotel room when they are there. The first day they are given physical training clothes and their bathrobes along with a few other items.

The Citadel Family Association has a “Nice to Have List” posted to their website. Notes on those items are listed below the Success Packet list.

move in

Matriculation Day morning families pull up to the battalion and with the help of the Citadel Family Association volunteers unload the car.

I have copied the list for 2020 knobs below in Bold and added tips next to the official items. In general knobs are very hard on their clothes. A few tips you’ll hear from everyone is to get cheap sheets, but good socks. And break in the shoes before you arrive.

CLOTHING/PERSONAL ITEMS

All cadets are required to furnish their own bed linen except for the bedspread and one blanket , which will be issued. Beds and mattresses are provided, but pillows are not.

One plastic mattress cover will be issued at cost to each cadet.

All cadets (male and female) must bring the following:

One [1] pair of conservative style pajamas (optional) – Personal preference. many cadets sleep in their PT shorts and shirt.

Twelve [12] white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts – Purchase snug fitting t-shirts. Many families send along double the amount of t-shirts. In the first few weeks when laundry is slow and they are exercising in the hot Charleston weather having extra means they will have a fresh change of clothes available.

Twelve [12] pairs of white cotton underwear – briefs, or boxer briefs (male) – White boxer briefs or briefs are available at Walmart, Target and other stores. 6 will be folded for their inspection drawer and never worn. Bring extra.

Twelve [12] pairs of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs This is very straight forward. Wicking fabric is best since they do a lot of physical training throughout the year.

One [1] pair of “long johns” They wear this under their itchy wool uniforms later in the fall. Some don’t wear them at all.

Twelve [12] pairs of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. [Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and in some cases secondary infections.] Gold Toe makes a good think black crew length sock. Families have had luck finding cheaper thick black work socks at Wal-Mart.

Twelve [12] pairs of plain white cotton athletic ankle socks (Socks must be void of visible logos or color, and must cover the protruding ankle bone. Low cut quarter socks are permitted.) While they say cotton you can find socks made out of wicking fabric that will help cut down on blisters. For the first time in years ankle length socks are required, not crew length. Good, thick socks, are a good idea. (NOTE: They will need socks to wear with their boots and ACU uniform. If you bought crew length socks the cadets can wear them with their boots or send along a few pair of boot socks.)

One [1] bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece) They don’t wear them often but it is good to bring a swim suit. Lands End, Kohl’s, Target and others carry them for men. Women’s suits can be found in the competitive swim suit stores/brands

One [1] pair of shower shoes (black) 

Six [6] white, cotton towels – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target

Six [6] washcloths – Buy inexpensive towels at Wal-Mart or Target

One [1] standard sized pillow – Send along their favorite pillow

Four [4] white pillow cases – 

Four [4] white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed – Regular twin size flat sheets. Wal-Mart has them. Do not send expensive sheets. They make their beds for inspection and sleep on top of the made bed. Some sheets end up as banners.

Twelve [12] white handkerchiefs – Plain white washable handkerchiefs can be found at Wal-Mart and Target

Toilet articles – They do not need a shower caddy. They should bring their own soap, shampoo, shaving needs.

One [1] pair of good running shoes in a subdued color such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim) Bring shoes that fit the best in subdued colors. Some cadets bring two pair of running shoes and use them for all activities.

Three [3] pairs of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with physical training uniform – Compression/bike shorts without design or logos on the legs

One [1] pair of military style boots, sand colored with deep lug soles – boots must be sand colored with a plain toe. Boots made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized. Also, boots containing Marine Corps emblems are not authorized. The Cadet Store at The Citadel sells Bates brand boots, but large sizes may not be readily available. In addition to the Bates boots, some find the Nike and others brand fit well. They must be sand colored.

One [1] clear plastic storage container for under the bed. It must be sized 32″L x 11″H x 18″W. Note: Do not search for a container meeting these precise specifications. Instead, look for something smaller than 32″ x 11″ x 18″. The underbed box must be 32″ or shorter to fit under the bunk. Two must fit so do get something smaller than the sizes listed. A solid subdued colored lid is fine. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Container Store Bed Bath and Beyond all carry containers.

One [1] overnight bag (or another clear plastic storage container) for additional items that will be kept on top of the full press is authorized. This bag or container 24″L x 12″H x 18″W. Most knobs bring the second clear bin. the 66 quart size usually meets the criteria. Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, The Container Store Bed Bath and Beyond all carry containers.

Two [2] pairs of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that fail to meet these criteria. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized.

The school prefers that knobs wear the Bates plain toe black oxford made of polishable leather. Thorogood also makes a plain toe oxford. Some cadets like the Florsheim Lexington style plain tow black oxford. The Bostonian Kinnon style IS NOT approved because it has stitching on the heal. ***See the last few pages of the Success packet for expanded descriptions of the shoes and boots.***

Please ensure shoes and boots are “broken in” prior to arrival to avoid foot problems. Boots and shoes are available at The Citadel Cadet Store. Summer store hours are Monday-Wednesday 0700 to 1700 and Thursday 0700 to 1630. Call (843) 953-5166 to check on item availability. Boots and shoes must meet specifications. See the Cadet Store letter for details.

Additional items for female cadets:

Five [5] white, beige, or skin-colored regular bras

Five [5] white or beige sports bras

Labeling clothes: As a time saving measure, though not mandatory, it would be helpful to write your last name and first two initials in your clothing using a permanent marker. The location of the name should be inconspicuous when the garment is worn (e.g., bottom of each sock, rear waistband of underwear, and the front shirt tail of t-shirts). Household linens such as towels, sheets, and pillow cases should not be labeled. The Cadet Laundry will affix a permanent label to these items.

The following items may be brought with the new cadet or obtained later:

One [1] desk reading lamp

One [1] picture with frame – no larger than 8”x 10” Most knobs wait until after parents Weekend to bring a Frame

One [1] radio/stereo/CD player – Speakers must be no larger 12″x24″. It’s a good idea to wait until Parents Weekend to send speakers

One [1] oscillating fan – Box or floor fans on a stand are not authorized.

Computer and printer – See the Computer Recommendations page for more information. Some cadets prefer to print off  papers in the computer labs or the library. Ask your son or daughter what they would like to do.

Alarm clock – They will not have their phones the first week. an Alarm clock would be helpful.

The Citadel does not furnish bedding. Cadets shipping their belongings to the college must bring with them two sheets, one pillowcase, and pillow for use until they can access their belongings.

LUGGAGE Trunks and suitcases can not be stored in cadet rooms. Only one overnight bag for overnight travel may be kept in the room. All other luggage is stored at the central warehouse at the risk of the cadet. Luggage may be shipped to The Citadel in advance of your reporting date. It should be clearly marked with the cadet’s name and addressed to Central Supply, The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC, 29409.

Class of 2019

Knobs line up to march to lunch after the battalion gates close. Note the PT shorts, shirts and caps, crew length socks and athletic shoes. They wear a clear plastic bag around their neck that will hold the Guidon and other items.

**One item not listed but that many cadets find helpful are shirts stays. They are elastic that attaches to the bottom of shirts and to the top of their socks to keep their shirts tucked and their socks up. There are several brands available.**

Parents of the Class of 2020, if you haven’t already, please join the Facebook group: The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2020. You will meet fellow parents and get up to date information and links to find photos and other information. You can also join the Facebook group for The Citadel Familiy Association (CFA).

Find Facebook groups for parents by regions of the country too. See this entry for a list.

Reporting to the 1st Sergeant on Matriculation Day morning:

 

Advantages of being the Parent of a Citadel Cadet

It is high school graduation time. Parents of graduates who will be attending The Citadel in the fall are turning their attention to the various lists of items their son  or daughter will need when they report to the school on Matriculation Day.

Citadel Ya Ya's and one friend 2010

A group of Citadel Moms. We call ourselves The Citadel Ya Ya’s. We met through The Citadel Family Association.

There are now close to 200 Class of 2020 parents in the Facebook group The Citadel Parents of the Class of 2020 right now and more requesting to join each day. (If you want to join please go to the page request to join then send me an email, dorie@dorielgriggs.com, letting me know you are the parent of an incoming knob. The group is only for new parents, not extended family.) The questions asked in the group at this time of year revolve around shoes, boots, socks, and other required items.

That will sound odd to parents and others who have no experience with a military school.

When a student attends a military school they are given a list of items to bring with them. Most of their clothes will be provided to them by the school since they wear uniforms every day, including the weekends. The cadets also have very strict rules about what they can and cannot have in their rooms.

This is a stressful time for many families. The process of sending a child to a military school can bring on a mixture of feelings. Some of these feelings are shared by all parents of college bound freshman. Some are unique to the parents of military college students.

I thought it would be helpful to the parents of The Citadel, Class of 2020 to include a list of advantages of being the parent of a cadet at The Citadel.

  • When retail stores begin their sales pitch to college students in the summer, touting their dorm room decorations and bedding, families of cadets at The Citadel can ignore the ads.
  • When other families have to caravan to get their student to college in order to bring all the things for their dorm, Citadel families can fit everyone, and the incoming knob’s required items, in the family car.
  • Unlike parents of other college students on move in day, you won’t have to decorate and unpack your cadet recruit’s things. On Matriculation Day, the day first year cadets report, families carry the things in, with the help of the Citadel Family Association volunteers, and your son or daughter will unpack after you leave. Parents do not stay and unpack and decorate the room. You can go into town and enjoy the many wonderful restaurants and toast your success as parents.
  • When other parents are worried about the decisions their college student is making with all their new found freedom, Citadel parents know exactly where their knob is by midnight each night of first semester, right in their barracks room.
  • The “freshman 15” usually refers to the weight college students gain when they are away at college. Thanks to the physical training Citadel knobs go through, they usually lose weight and gain muscle. Your knob will end the year in the best physical shape of their lives.
  • First year cadets really appreciate visits from family and friends. They love to get off campus to sleep, eat what they’d like, and take long hot showers. When your friends with college students complain that their student doesn’t want them around, you can brag about how happy your knob is to see you.
  • The first year knobs are not in control of their time. This means when families visit they end up waiting outside the barracks for their cadets. Life long friendships are made among families as they wait for their knob to exit the barracks.

Parents of the Class of 2020, there are plenty of other reasons to be proud and happy your child has chosen “the road less traveled,” for their college experience. Try to focus on the positives right now.

You’ve given them a firm foundation. Now sit back and watch them soar!

Photos clockwise from top left: Dorie with her son, daughter and a high school friend and fellow knob enjoying dinner out in Charleston in September knob year. Parents Weekend promotion ceremony. Cadet Lalli and his senior mentor, Carrying the guidon on Recognition Day, Graduation Day, Ring Ceremony, He wears the Ring.

The Citadel Class of 2020: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day check in

Matriculation morning the knobs and their families report to the Holliday Alumni center early to receive their company assignments.

Across the country high school seniors are graduating. In the South the graduations have already begun. In the North June tends to be graduation month. That means families getting their students ready for Matriculation Day at The Citadel are turning their focus to getting things for their soon-to-be Knob.

The school will post an updated list of items the new students are required to have. (you can view the previous year’s information on page 6 of this document. it changes very little from year to year.) The Citadel Family Association also has a list of items that families have found helpful to have. It is called the “Nice to Have List.” You do not need everything on the Nice to Have List. Parents should ask their student what they would like from that list since they will be the ones to go through the 4th Class System.

I will pause here to give a word of advice to parents. Your student will be attending a leadership school. I’ve written previously about what I learned about what that means. The hardest, but most regarding lesson for parents of cadets is this, your student will have to be the one to navigate the rules and regulations of the school. You can help them get ready to report, but once they are on campus the students are the ones who must take control of their process. Your role will move from one of guiding and teaching your child, to the role of encourager and support person. You WILL NOT be able to navigate the system for them day to day.

Knob reports

Matriculation morning the knobs and their families report to the Holliday Alumni center early to receive their company assignments.

This first year is a rollercoaster of emotions for the knobs. My advice to parents is to avoid getting on that rollercoaster with your student. Obviously you will be concerned, but try to remember that the challenges your student will encounter are learning experiences for them. You will be the only one they can confide in and vent to this next year. Often times the knobs will vent to a parent, leaving the parent worried, while the knob moves on and never tells the parent they’ve resolved the issue.

In the next several months local alumni groups sponsor “Send Off events” for incoming knobs and their families. You can check with the Citadel Alumni Association to see if the club in your area will host an event. The Citadel Family Association also has area reps who are current parents who volunteer to help the new parents. you can find a list of the Area Reps here. The Atlanta Citadel Club has asked me to serve as the chair of the new Parent Committee. We will have a parent orientation meeting in June then the club will host a send off event August 4. Contact me if you’d like additional information. waitingwithboxes

There are three things an incoming knob can do NOW to prepare for the next year: (The office of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs also has a good list for incoming knobs. You can access the link HERE.)

  1. Make sure you can meet, or better yet, exceed the Physical Training requirements.
  2. Buy and wear your black plain toe Oxford shoes (MUST be Polishable leather) and your 8″ desert boots.  Now through May 28 you can get 35% off site wide when you use the promo code EXTRA35.
  3. Begin to memorize the Knob Knowledge in the Guidon. It is available online or in the bookstore. You’ll get a copy when you report.

Parents often wonder about company assignments and roommates. The majority of cadets will find out their company and roommate on Matriculation Day. The athletes who report in July will all stay in the same barracks then move to their regular company assignments in August when the Corps of Cadets report. Unlike other colleges cadets will change rooms through out the year. The moves can be for a variety of reasons.

If you live out of state and don’t want to ship the items to campus, you can order times from Bed, Bath and Beyond or Wal-Mart and pick them up from the stores in Charleston. If you choose this option you will have to arrive in town before Matriculation Day. If you ship items to campus it is a good idea to arrive Friday morning to retrieve them from the warehouse on campus. Contact the warehouse directly with any questions about shipping items in advance.

I know it is a very stressful time for parents who do not have a military background or do not have a history with The Citadel. I was in your place in 2007. Much of what happens seems really strange. As my son would tell me every time I would question something, “There is a reason behind everything we do.” It is the knobs challenge to learn these reasons. A parent needs to encourage and support them in the process.

If you are the parent of an incoming knob, please join the group for 2020 parents on Facebook to meet fellow parents and to have a safe place to ask questions. Go to the page and request to join, then end me an email to confirm you are the parent of an incoming knob. dorie@dorielgriggs.com

Previous posts about Knob Year

Matriculation Day: Getting Ready

Matriculation Day: Reporting in that first day

Preparing for Knob Year: Parents Edition

Knob Year Notes for Parents

The Citadel: Unofficial Tips for Families of Incoming Knobs

Hotels that Offer Discounts to Citadel Families

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