My Ring Story: “Make an impact on the people around you”

Damirelys Perez

Damirelys Perez is a Psychology major. She was born in Pennsylvania and has lived in Japan and Germany. She is captain for the women’s rifle team and has been named to the Dean’s List and awarded Gold Stars multiple times throughout her cadet career. Additionally, she is the vice president of the Psychology Club and a member of Psi Chi, a national honors society in Psychology.

What makes the ring special to you?

It represents all the hard work and dedication I have put into this institution. I was doing all this to be a part of The Citadel and the alumni that have come before me. It also means that I am able to make my mark in the world and on the people around me. I am the first person in my family to go to college, so it is also a symbol of my journey as the first graduate. It is also a nice reminder of how much work and support my family have put into my success.

What do you hope your legacy will be when you graduate?

I want people to know me for my willingness to help and passion for connecting with others once I leave The Citadel. I want to be known for being a good person who others can trust and rely on, as well as always providing a helping hand. I think it is important for people to understand that, with or without rank in the Corps, you can make an impact on the people around you.

How has The Citadel impacted your character?

I have learned to take more initiative in taking on leadership roles I normally would back away from. Taking a jump to be in front of others and be comfortable making mistakes is a good skill The Citadel has taught me. I have learned not to view criticism in a negative way, but rather as a tool for self-improvement. I can now use criticism from others to make improvements on the skills I may not be the strongest in. 

Who has supported you and your journey while at The Citadel?

My mom and dad have been my main supporters over the years. Every time I was doubting my purpose and decision to come to The Citadel, they helped to reaffirm my choice and push me forward. Their encouragement to try new things and take chances has significantly helped my experience from knob year to now. I appreciate all their support and efforts to help me on this successful journey. 

What is one of the most unique moments that will stick with you once you leave The Citadel?

There are two moments that pop into my mind when thinking of unique moments.

The first was from my sophomore year during COVID, when the living assignments were rearranged to reduce infections. I had the opportunity to live in with other athletes in 1st Battalion and also socialize with my classmates. It was a challenge, but it made me get out of my comfort zone and put myself out there more.

The second is getting to be a co-author on one of my professors’ studies, which was an extremely rewarding experience. I will soon be able to present the findings from the study at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Conference, where graduates and passionate psychologists gather each year. To have my work, alongside a classmate and professor, presented at this scale means a lot to me after all the years of work I have put into setting myself up for this moment.

About The Citadel Class of 2023’s ring stories

Members of The Citadel Class of 2023 received their rings on Friday, Oct. 7. Before actually getting their rings, some seniors spoke about the event’s significance with Cadet Eric Wilson, the Regimental Public Affairs Officer for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. Wilson, who is from East Granby, Connecticut, is a Mechanical Engineering major. When he graduates, he will accept a commission to become an officer in the U.S. Air Force.