The end of summer is always brings a bittersweet feeling, especially for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. The new knob class of 2022 has started their journey to complete the longest fourth-class system in the nation (granted, it’s not as long as it used to be). Their summer came to a screeching halt as they flooded in from many states and a few other countries. On August 19th, 2018 the upper-class members of the Corps came back to The Citadel’s campus for “Reconstitution”: The return of the non-cadre upper-classes and the integration of the knobs into the rest of the Corps. This change challenges the class of 2022 to adapt and overcome many tribulations of being a cadet recruit among many unfamiliar faces.
Currently, there are multiple cadets who returned and found themselves without a barracks room. Some are now living in trailers over by the Wilson Field, and others in the clock tower rooms of Padgett Thomas Barracks. The surplus of knobs and returning upper-classes has surprised the administration, and their solution has even left some cadets “voluntold” to commute to campus every day from home. Considering some of the confusion and awkward turn of events (especially the general failure of the upper classes in letting the administration know they would return for the fall semester), morale seems to be relatively normal with everyone preparing to get back into “the swing of things” here at The Citadel.
“Seems” is the keyword, as well as there are certain cadets who are enduring more headache than others after the massive return. There is one cadet who currently is an involuntary commuter:
“Right now, I’m a senior private, I have to commute here and live 3 hours away. So, I was kind of forced to find an expensive apartment close by. I must wake up at 4:30 in the morning just to come to PT and classes. It makes me feel like my senior year is more difficult than it should be.” -Anonymous Senior Private
Typically, we would call this an “embracing of the suck” moment, but this is way beyond embracing the suck … This is the suck embracing you. In other words, this is ridiculous. This is only one of the unreasonable problems presented to the corps this year. The cadets are handling the adjustments as best as they can and are learning to adapt and adjust to the “changes” on campus.
The cadets living in the trailers near Wilson Field have an extra-long walk getting to formations in their home battalions on time. Although, looking from the outside in, one would never guess that there were cadets currently living in such conditions.
“The conditions that we’re living in now aren’t exactly bad, because we’re still on campus, and that’s helpful. I know that a lot of people who are in the trailer with me live out of state, and they would have nowhere else to go, or they would have to find ‘foster parents’. Also, the beds are pretty nice. The Half and Full presses are brand new, and are a lot more accommodating than the ones we have in the barracks. Some of the issues I do have are with getting to morning PT and formations, having to go all the way back to 2nd or even 5th Battalion, or carrying books to Duckett or Capers Hall.” -Anonymous Trailer Dweller
The cadets staying in the trailers claim that they have been told by administrators that they may end up staying in the trailers until 2nd semester. Perhaps a better solution could be having cadets sleep on the parade deck #goarmy #FTX. In all seriousness though, maybe offering online courses to the cadets that are far from Charleston is more feasible, instead of having them come to campus for PT, every class, and formations.
Reconstitution was a struggle, and the academic school year is only beginning to start along with endless SMIs. One can only try to remain hopeful that the administration will find a way to fix all the mess sooner than later. The Citadel is more than just a college in this aspect; the corps is a family, a very long extended and dysfunctional family, who sees each other every day for 9 months of the year. Knobs will brace, upper-classmen will embrace the suck, and the administration will always take the cake. This year will be a tough one, as always. Best of luck to everyone.
-Charles Carter M’21