Advice to Plebes

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by singaporemom, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    It's almost here....I-day.
    As you fly through the last few weeks of school, you're feet will not touch the ground. You are on top of the world and you deserve to be. You did it! You made it to Annapolis! Congratulations!!! You are young, strong, intelligent.

    Besides getting ready for the physical demands of the summer, get your mind in the right place. I will stress that the healthier you are, and the more physically fit you are, the easier it is to stay present during Plebe Summer.

    From reading through this forum, listening to other parents, and talking to my son and other midshipmen, many Plebes are just plain homesick. In addition the sudden withdrawal from the 'grid' is difficult for many. no media, no news, no music, no phone, no texting.

    It's not an easy thing to adjust to, so you might want to factor this into your prep for the summer. Also, speak with your family, friends, and girlfriend/boyfriend about what you will be able to do and not do. in other words, let them know that you have no control over your phone calls and letters. You will have 3 scheduled phone calls, but that is never a guarantee. If you want your family/friends to write and send care packages often, or not so often, communicate that to them. I think the expectations should be expressed.

    During Plebe summer your time is not your own. Every sunset is a moment closer to your goal....closing your eyes as you lay down on your rack! My DS put thumbtacks on the bulletin board at the end of every day...which was funny, since i had done the same thing at home!

    There will be alot of highs and more than your share of lows. Figure out a way to keep track of the highs, and learn from the lows. A sheet of paper on your bulletin board listing positives from the days' activities may help remind you that good things are in deed happening. or, just remind yourself of a positive event before you fall asleep. just remember that you will get through it.

    Once the Academic year starts, you are still a plebe, but life doesn's feel as difficult. Take advantage of everything that interests you and you will meet more people, make more contacts and make the Academy YOUR Academy. Investigate the clubs, the sports, anything that interests you. It might take all year, but you will eventually find your niche. As you find activities that you enjoy, you will feel less isolated. This year my Plebe DS explored several clubs and sports. He went backpacking, attended the USAFA game, plays frisbee on and off campus, and meets with a few cultural clubs that he found interesting. Every time I talk with him I am amazed at all the opportunities he has to learn something new, meet amazing people, and yes, have fun.

    When it comes time to pick a major (spring) open your eyes to everything the Academy has to offer. My DS changed his mind about a dozen times before he settled on a plan. he seemed to have a good relationship with his advisor and also talked to alot of upperclass midshipmen about their choices and career plans.

    Academically, some of you may find a class or two difficult. At the first sign of this, seek out help. from what i understand, the teachers are there to help. Your midshipmen are there to help. My DS has been tutoring others in Math and seeks out help from others in his company when he hits a snag along the way in other courses. Do not think that you are alone, or that it shows weakness to ask for help. It shows strength to recognize a weakness and do whatever you can do to improve yourself.

    I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that underneath all of the hardship of being a Plebe, there is room for fun, personal growth, and amazing opportunities.

    GOOD LUCK!!!
     
  2. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    Great advice! I second it!
     
  3. Bean

    Bean Member

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    I have definitely tried communicating that I would appreciate my friends/family writing to me throughout Plebe Summer but so far most of my friends hold the belief that "you chose this, you deal with it" and my sister appears to be the only one who is planning on writing at all. I have been told a hundred different ways that I need to have some escape from the academy and I need a support system at home, it worries me that no one seems interested.

    When did your son get paired with an advisor?
     
  4. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    To be honest, my family didn't write me often over plebe summer and none of my friends did. I got a couple letters (and two very unhelpful care packages), but it wasn't that big of a deal for me. I wasn't homesick at all. My parents took the path of "you're an adult now, and this was your decision to go, and we love you but its your show now." They weren't super thrilled that I was choosing to go to the Academy. Many of my friends here (and myself to a much lesser degree) are proof that you can be here, and excel here, without a huge support network at home. It's helpful, but by no means necessary.

    It's up to you: different things work for different people. I was fine with being more distant from my family because it helped me keep my head in the game, other kids in my platoon loved hearing from their family. If you think hearing from your family would be a big morale boost, then stress that to them. You will have your own fun and triumphant experiences over plebe summer. It may "only be six weeks," but your goal should be to excel and put out every day, not making it to the rack at 2200. Your success is dependent on your attitude, not how many letters your get.

    Also: You meet with your ac advisor towards the end of plebe summer to iron out any preferences you have (whether you want to take a critical language, etc) that are available with your schedule. Your ac advisor plebe year has nothing to do with your major, they're specific to plebes and deal only with plebe year scheduling. Once you pick your major you get assigned a new ac advisor in your major. So, for example, I've had three academic advisors: Plebe year, in my major, and then again when I entered a different program in my major.
     
  5. usnamomx3

    usnamomx3 Member

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    Plebe Summer and Plebe Year may seem like it just goes on forever but remember to keep your sense of humor and know that you are not the first person to go through being a plebe nor will you be the last. The upperclass midshipman who is on your case at the moment was once in your shoes and if he/she can make it, so can you!

    At the end of each letter and phone call I made to my mid sons during plebe summer and year, I told them "They can't kill you and they can't stop the clock".
     
  6. CandidateElias15

    CandidateElias15 USNA '15 Appointee

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    Bean, me too. Just know there'll be some other Plebe in Bancroft that'll be with you.
    Make do with what you have, and your squadmates will always come through for you. Mine did at NASS, and, half of them knew right away that they will never come back to USNA. Everyone there (minus the detailers) will be with you. No worries with a support system.
     
  7. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

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    Bean and CandidateElias15...Don't forget to participate in the Sponsor program! You will get info about it soon and will need to fill out an online questionnaire about your hobbies and such. The Sponsor is designed to be your "home away from home". You will meet your sponsor family near the end of Plebe Summer.
     
  8. Bean

    Bean Member

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    My dad actually had a coworker who lives in Annapolis, she requested to be my Sponsor but... I don't know. My dad isn't thrilled... more for her sake than mine.
    I worry too much, I just don't want to end up halfway across the country with no one to call on except kids who are all in the same situation.
    That's interesting about the academic advisors, I'll still manage to stress all summer about my schedule the next year.
     
  9. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Bean, you will have a huge support system, including the coworker if it works out. If it doesn't. request a new sponsor. In addition you have an entire company of midshipman of all ages that are there for you. You also have everyone on this forum that is here to support you. I'm sure all will respond to a PM or phone call if needed. Also, the chaplains at USNA are a valuable resource.

    Cultivate the relationship with your sister, you both may be surprised by the growth you will have through letter writing.

    Each family and each Plebe have different needs. the trick is to find the balance. And yes, your goal should be to excel every minute of the day during Plebe summer, but sometimes you goal may be to just get through that one day.

    It is great to hear from current, past and future Plebes regarding this experience. It helps those arriving this summer to have a realistic view of what's ahead of them.

    Best of luck to all of you.
     

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