Your Cadets first year is filled with activities, challenges, emotions, and growth. They no longer have the freedom to set their own schedule, eat when they want to, stay up as late as they wish, or go out during the weekend to catch a movie. However, your Cadets are forming bonds that will last a lifetime. They have the opportunity to do things that will never be available to their friends attending college elsewhere. And they are building the foundations to become Officers in the United States Air Force!
So what can you expect, as parents, during the C4C Year?
- Your Cadet will be busy! They will not be available for phone calls, text messages, video chatting, or visits as often as you would like. While some of their duties may seem trivial, they are all expected to be completed properly and your cadet will spend much time doing things over and over again.
- Your cadet will be doing great one moment and have doubts the next! This is not uncommon. As Parents always remember that you can reach out the the Parents Club if you have questions or concerns. Our families have been through almost any challenge you can imagine. Encourage your Cadet and remind them to speak to their Sophomore Coach, Teachers, Academic Adviser, etc at the first moment that they feel they are falling behind. The Academy wants every Cadet to graduate and become Officers. There are many programs in place that can assist your Cadet.
- Traditions that may not make sense to you! Just enjoy learning about them. It may not make sense to you why a bunch of young men and young women have a ‘Hall Brawl’, or try to drag their commander out into the first snowfall of the year, but they will enjoy it and have lots of stories to tell.
- Moments of Pride! If you have the opportunity to attend Acceptance or Parents Weekend, you will enjoy so much pride when you see your Cadet in their dress blues. And if your Cadet is able to visit home during Thanksgiving or Christmas, they are required to wear their dress blues when they are out in public. You will be amazed at the number of people thanking them for their service. Carry your tissues.
- The need for sleep! Any time the cadets can get off the Hill during the year, they will tend to sleep a lot! This is very common and just go with it. They are up very early and have duties until late at night so down time is a gift.
- Their organization at the Academy will NOT equate to organization at home! When they come home to visit, their rooms will still be a mess. None of us understand this, so in this case do not ask the Parents Club for help or solutions!
- Even more stress as Recognition approaches. After your Cadet goes through Recognition, they are recognized as Upper Classmen and will start to take over the responsibilities of the C3C (sophomores). Recognition itself is a period of tremendous physical challenges, testing, and mental discipline. Many cadets consider this the toughest part of their USAFA Career.
- Relief! As you see that your Cadets are passing their classes, getting plenty to eat, meeting the physical challenges, having fun, understanding what is expected, and are looking forward to their summer programs, you will begin to relax a bit and further enjoy celebrating their success.
- They are not yours for the Summer! Each summer period consists of three blocks of approximately three week time periods. During the summer between their C4C and C3C years, they will be allowed one period of leave. Most Cadets use this leave to come home for their first extended period since they when through In Processing. It is not the norm, but is also not unusual for Cadets to use this period to retake classes if they are having issues academically. During the other two blocks, the will most likely be involved in Survival Training and Airmanship, although this changes from time to time.
As the year progresses for your Cadet, they will get more privileges. They will find more opportunities to talk with you. They will figure out ways to get off the base to see a movie! They will enjoy a meal at Chipotle, Five Guys, or Chick-fil-A. It won’t happen right away, but it does happen.
Then you move on to C3C year……………………