Typical Day for a Rat
What to expect your first year at VMI:
Initially, Rats are awakened by their Cadre. After classes begin, they learn to wake up in time to get properly dressed, to roll up their “hay” (mattress) and to be off the fourth stoop of barracks by 6:40 a.m. (0640). They then go to their dykes’ (1st Class mentors') rooms to do some chores before Breakfast Roll Call (BRC).
At BRC and all other formations, squad corporals (3rd Class cadets) inspect Rats for personal appearance. After breakfast and time for cleaning the room for inspection, classes begin. Cadets must be on time and prepared for class. While Rats do not walk the Rat Line outside barracks, the class system still imposes some restrictions on them.
During the day and at night, accountability checks are made in barracks by cadets or Institute officials. Some of these checks are administered as part of the Honor System. Cadets are assumed to be in an authorized area at specific times; if not, they are honor-bound to report their violation and accept the penalty.
After the completion of academic duties (CAD), the Corps reports to either military or athletic duty. All cadets participate in some activity at this time.
After the evening meal, or Supper Roll Call (SRC), cadets must be in an approved study area such as rooms in barracks, the library, or one of the academic buildings. Rats may study side by side with upper class cadets, as the Rat Line hierarchy gives way to the demands of academics during study time. Taps (lights out), the end of the duty day, is at 11:30 p.m. (2330) Sunday through Thursday. Taps on Friday night is midnight (2400) and Saturday night is 1 a.m. (0100).
Following various Saturday morning activities, most of the Corps is free of any military or academic duty for the weekend. On Sunday mornings, cadets are encouraged to attend services at one of the local churches or in the Cadet Chapel, where VMI’s full-time chaplain holds a non-denominational service. The chaplain’s office sponsors the VMI Religious Activities Committee and a number of religiously oriented activities. The chaplain is also available for counseling.
Rats are generally confined to Post throughout the fall semester. There is little time for recreation or leisure due to the academic and Rat Line demands.