First year cadets are referred to as rats and live within the rat system which teaches unity, military conduct, self-control, respect for authority, cleanliness and VMI culture.
VMI provides various lines of support to new cadets during their first year. Academic support includes advising and various resource centers while first class mentors offer more social and morale support.
Graduating cadets say it over and over again. What they'll miss about VMI, what they'll miss about living for so long so close together in such Spartan quarters, is the people.