Cadets-to-be get just a hint of what’s in store at
By Harry Levins,
Most of the 18-year-olds who’ll soon head off to college have questions about what they’re getting into. But some of those freshmen- in-waiting have extra anxiety as well as questions. And small wonder.
They’ll set off this month for West Point They’ll show up June 30 for “R-Day” - Reception Day, when they will leave behind their civilian lives, and their civilian hair cuts, too.
At most campuses, the hazing
of freshmen has faded away. Likewise,
In one way, the transition
from civilian teenager to
Even so, last weekend, the
As the parents conducted business in a motel dining room, the young people moved to a side room. There, the five cadets - four men, one woman, all in summer uniforms of white short-sleeved shirts and gray pants - sat on one side of a ring of chain, with the 10 newcomers across the way.
The cadets opened the session to questions by saying, “This is your last chance to ask anything without consequences.”
At that, one of tile young men in civilian clothes asked hesitantly: “You guys have really shiny shoes. How shiny should mine be when I show up?”
The cadets responded with a unanimous laugh, the gallows humor of Those Who Have Already Been Through It. Then they responded, “Don’t shine ‘em that day. You’ll just get hollered at You’ll spend a lot of time shining shoes.”
No Napster. No napping.
Indeed, at many points, the cadets’ advice seemed to echo Scripture: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Except the cadets phrased it a bit differently. As one put it, “Live out the rest of your summer. Do everything you can. Party hard. R-Day was the worst day of my life.”
Among the nuggets of advice:
Sitting in briefly was a
“The next four years are going to be a pain in the butt for you. If I had $1 for every time somebody said, ‘I hate this place,’ I could pay back the $250,000 that the government spent on me. But do you know what? It’s worth it. It’s a life- changing experience.”