To all of the Virginia Military Institute cadets both present and past — these are the things we all know to be true. You can try to explain VMI to outsiders, but at the end of the day, they just won't understand what our college life is like. And how it is so different from the typical college student. If you go to VMI, you know these seven things to be true.
1.) You Dread The Return
Whether it’s coming back from summer furlough, an enjoyable Thanksgiving break or a quick trip to JMU for the weekend, VMI has a unique way of making our stomach’s churn as we approach the castle like barracks. Yes, there always seems to be a pit deep in our stomach that lasts from the first view of house mountain all the way until we make it back to our room and then, poof, it dissipates as if we had never left. It doesn’t matter whether you are a rat or a first; each and every one of us has felt the shear anxiety of returning to The Mother I.
2.) You Are Rudely Awoken From Your Naps
While most college students take naps, at VMI it is both a rarity and a commonality to take a nap. You see, it’s very common to see people sleeping throughout the day in various, and rather unique places. However, the naps you see are rarely more than twenty minutes. We almost are at the point where we are drooling and then our door swings open and our inspector walks in the door. We are sitting at our desk taking detailed notes and then our notes on plant biodiversity turn into scribbles all down the page. Our minds begin playing a dream and suddenly we hear loud counting echoing into our rooms- “1, 2,3… one for F-Troop.”
3.) You See A Piece Of Paper On Your Desk And Get Instant Anxiety
There’s nothing worse than coming back from your class, walking in your door and spotting that white piece of paper just lying on your desk. “See me,” is written on it just to make your heart beat a little bit harder. Now instead of taking that useless nap, you have to throw on your Gray Blouse and make the walk to Com Staff’s Office, each step making you realize that instead of taking that trip to Tech, you will be making several trips in circles holding a rifle.
4.) A Weekend Is Actually Only 24 Hours, Or Less
Most college students finish their classes at 12 p.m. Friday afternoon, but not VMI cadets. We finish our classes, play dress up and walk across the parade deck, eagerly wait two hours for Tongs to deliver our food and then endure a painful 4-hour football game on Saturday afternoon before we are able to enjoy what’s left of our weekend. To most, it wouldn’t seem like it would be worth it to leave just for that short amount of time, but to us it is the only thing motivating us to make it through that week. Sure it may be 24 hours or less, but we can certainly say that we make the most of that time.
5.) The Only Partying You Do Involves A Lot Of Sweat And A Lot Of Yelling
Sweat parties, a long time tradition at VMI. Yes, these fifteen-minute workouts are both dreadful and exciting. While every other college student is gaining 15 pounds in alcohol, we are losing fifteen pounds of water weight. Whether they are thrown in Cocke Hall or in the Courtyard, at 5 a.m or 11:15 p.m., VMI by far throws the most unique parties.
6.) The Best Week Of The Semester Is Exam Week
For most, it’s the most stressful time of the year, but not on the hill. With a weeklong haydown, form-up, fall-out formations, no inspections, cheap pizza, unlimited study hours and Krispy Kreme deliveries, exam week is by far a fan favorite. Of course there is a little bit of panic about passing your exams, but at the end of the day, everyone can take it easy and focus solely on academics for once in that semester. Besides, exam week means that you are less than a week away from being away from school for a long while, so that in itself is motivation. Oh and did I mention Krispy Kreme deliveries?
7.) You Love Your Brother Rats More Than Anything
Sure, it’s hard going back to school; sure, it’s impossible to take a rejuvenating nap; sure, two-day weekends are basically unheard of, but no matter what, we have the absolute best group of people surrounding us all the time. The bond we make together is a bond that can never be broken and our BR's are our family. Each one of us has found at least one person here who has changed our lives for the better. And at the end of the day, no matter how tired we are or how hard our day was we all can look around and agree that we wouldn’t change it for anything.