"VMI - Rats - Advice from an Alumni"

20 October 2011




Sure there are other, perhaps even many, "pieces" on the Internet offering you advice but today, for some reason, I feel compelled to offer the following:


- If you really can not deal with it all, apply to another college and transfer at the end of the rat year BUT DO NOT QUIT.

- You would not be at VMI because you have ever quite anything in your life. Once you quite something, the next time, quitting gets easier and then the next time, easier still. DO NOT QUIT.

- DO NOT LET THE BASTARDS GET YOU DOWN. Some upper classmen and yes, cadre, are just plain mean but you have met and dealt with mean people before and you will again.

- NOTHING, GOOD OR BAD LASTS FOREVER. When you think you can not go another minute, remember "it" will end soon, it always does.

- If you struggle because you are physically weak, no one in my class was physically weaker than I was. Yes, it was hard and because of my physical condition, I got a lot of extra cadre attention, but remember every day YOU GET STRONGER AND STRONGER. DO NOT QUIT.

- DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT VIOLATING THE HONOR CODE.  Have to leave because of too many demerits or bad grades, OK, that happens, but either of these are not in the same universe as being drummed out on an honor code violation. DO NOT LIE, CHEAT OR STEAL.

- STUDY EVERY CLASS SUBJECT EVERY NIGHT.  Most rats do not know how to study because they were smart enough to breeze through high school without learning good study skills. I AM TELLING YOU, STUDY EVERY SUBJECT EVERY NIGHT.


- TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT YOU ARE DOING, GOING THROUGH. Confidence is only built one way and that is by doing.

- If you are at VMI because of family tradition or your father or mother or some other person, MAKE VMI FOR YOU. Unless you are there for you, it will be easy to have thoughts of giving up. Make VMI yours.

- LEARN TO MULTITASK. You probably already have this skill but if not, learn how to read a book and shine your shoes at the same time or do some other military task at the same time you study.

And so, that is all I have. Nothing brilliant or all that insightful but I wanted you to know, that a small number of boys and girls have become confident, accomplished, men and women at VMI and there is no reason you can not be one of them. DO NOT QUIT.



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