We all fall victim to the old-aged ethos of The Citadel of “Old Corps”, similar to an aspect of the “Good Old Days”. “Back in my day, it was like this…that…or the other.” This applies to a plethora of things, extending into corps life, mess hall procedures, classes, air-conditioning, etcetera. Having finished knob year and began as a sophomore, I can’t help but somewhat feel this aspect and see it grow in my classmates. I see their disgust and feel their resentment when they see a knob lack fear in their eyes, or when they turn and burn the stairs at no chance of punishment. The black garrison is tarnished and the white gloves dirty, stripped of their pristine condition. The tiger has lost it claws, with the threat of TACS and rulebooks being a larger fear to someone than a cadre member ever was:
“Why should I fear this cadre corporal? Hell, if I feel like it, I can just report him for close to anything and, with today’s system, it’ll turn into an Honor Violation and they’ll be kicked out faster than they can even comprehend what’s happening.”
In some ways, Knob Year was better than sophomore year. In others, no, of course not. Sure, I do not have to brace, pop off, or eat square, but at least I was protected by the book. Now, if I so much as blink at a knob who’s feelin’ a bit brave, I’ll be stripped of my rank, slapped with tours, and ostracized for being a “Haze Daddy.” Honestly, if that’s what it takes to train ‘22, fine. If pushing ‘22 to their limits so they can carry on our “bastion of antiquity” costs me my rank and my weekends, fine. I’m willing to make that sacrifice. You declaw the Corp of Cadets for the sake of a mirage and instead of preparing ‘22 for the real world, for the military, you make them feel, and reinforce the fact, that we are just in fact toy soldiers who march around with fake rifles and scream for no reason. The Cadet Creed says:
“ Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically tough, and morally straight, and I will shoulder more than my share of the task whatever it may be. Gallantly will I show the world that I am a well-trained cadet. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow. And under no circumstances will I ever bring discredit to The Citadel and the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.”
Are we really upholding this, Jenkins? Are we ensuring the world has well-trained cadets, are we setting the example, and are we really enforcing any aspects of morality or physicality? We do not apply pressure, so we will not produce diamonds. To make a diamond takes time and heat, both of which we are quickly running out of. We do not set an example, instead, we make each and every following class weaker and watch other schools rising to become the example that we are losing our grip on.
I will never say I had a “real knob year”, but I will say this; My cadre was not declawed and I am better for it. The pushing for mistakes, the constant pressure, it all improved me. We fail our cadet creed, we fail our alumni, and we fail ourselves. I ask you this, if we continue on this path, will their gold shine as bright as ours? Will we shine as bright as those before us in our graduation pictures? Will our ring weigh the same? You tell me.
-Anonymous Cadet Corporal