Rat Sunday Max Horowitz, VMI '19

Every year, the academic year at the Virginia Military Institute begins with Hell Week, our first
introduction to VMI's system. It was easily one of the longest week thus far at VMI, perhaps of my life. At the end of the week, the Sunday before the classes is called Rat Sunday. We all filed into Jackson Memorial Hall, the chapel on VMI's campus, where we heard presentations by local religious groups and were given the option to go with them. This was the first time since we arrived at VMI that we were able to leave post. I was worried that day that there would be no place for me to go. As I heard them listing off available groups, I heard that there was an organization for Jewish students. I was very pleasantly surprised. After we were dismissed, I met with the group and we began our walk over to Hillel House. It was the first real and much needed break since I had arrived at VMI. We spent the morning at the house, drinking coffee from the E. Café and getting to know the other Rats as well as the Jewish upperclassmen who came to Hillel to spend the day with us. We all walked to Tong's Dynasty, a local Chinese restaurant, for a nice lunch. It also happened to be the first meal where no one was yelling at us since we had started at VMI; it was also definitely the tastiest. Not only was Hillel something that helped me keep going through the first week at VMI, it also has also always been a place that I can go to and gather motivation to keep going. I attend Shabbat at W&L Hillel house almost every week and it has been a great help to me. Both the people there, and the organization as a whole, give me a place to rest and relax and it's something to look forward to at the end of the week.