"VMI: Parents of a Rat - Advice from an Alumni"
Let me start off by saying that you should be very proud of your son or daughter for picking the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) as his or her college of choice. In this day in time with many colleges to choose from and many not having the military discipline element that VMI does, his or her decision to pursue a VMI degree is to applauded.
But, make no mistake about it, your son or daughter is going to face challenges his or her first year like nothing they have ever faced before: rat line harassment, the rigors of military training and discipline and for more most, the academic challenge. Taken individually, VMI is not so hard but taken together, it can overwhelm anyone.
And all this leads me up to my advice to you:
If your son or daughter contacts you and says he or she just can not do it or does not want to do VMI anymore, tell them that you can not come right away to pick them up and if they feel the same way at the end of the week or whatever time period you think and they contact you, then you will come.
Visit as often as you can and get your son or daughter off post for a good meal. If you can not get there, perhaps a friend or relative? When a rat, simple pleasures mean a lot.
If possible, mail cookies of other food.
Encourage, encourage, encourage. No amount of encouragement is too much in the rat year.
VMI is a duality: military and academic. For a rat, it is easy to get lost on the military and slack on the academic. Remind your son and daughter to study, study, study.