schools like Virginia Military Institute
or the VTCC
subset of Virginia Tech
, first-year (or first-semester) members of the cadet
body, lowest-ranking in the military hierarchy of students.
Rats are treated in a way that walks the fine line between discipline and hazing, in an effort to instill uniformity and obedience to orders, as well as creating a bond between fellow rats (VMI calls this the Rat Line). Rats may be subject to treatment like:
- no locks on their doors
- severe restrictions on entertainment (television, music, Web sites)
- the lack of a first name (throughout your rat time, you may be simply known as Rat Smith)
The superior cadets directly responsible for the indoctrination
of rats are the cadre
, usually sophomores. Contrast this with the dyke
, an upperclassman
cadet who serves as a sort of mentor
and refuge from rathood's troubles.
The one joy of being a rat is the knowledge that it will be over eventually. Then, of course, the former rat turns around and inflicts the same punishment on newer generations.