After Plebe Year

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by momgrif, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. momgrif

    momgrif New Member

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    My son received his letter of appointment. He went to STEM and NASS and loved being at the Naval Academy. As his mother, I think he would thrive there and that it is a good fit. He plans to visit in March to make his final decisions regarding where he will go.

    However, he is talking to two people he knows from his high school that are in their Plebe year. They are discouraging him, telling him what a hard time they are having....

    What I want to know is what is college life at the Naval Academy like after Plebe Year? Is there any fun? Are they allowed to go off campus on weekends? Do you make the best friends of your life? What is study abroad like? As Naval Academy students, are they invited off campus for outside events to represent the Academy? We need to be able to tell my son about the priveleges of this great place!
     
  2. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    As to "fun" I'll leave it to others beyond saying "YES!" Off campus? "YES!" Best friends? "Yes!" Invited to off-campus activities? "YES!" (Especially every summer.)

    His pals might be struggling, especially right now. It's called "the dark ages" on the Yard, from now to spring break. It's a slow time with some potential drudgery, especially for Plebes just "welcomed" back from Xmas break from there loving, lovable fellow Mids. Tell him to take that counsel with a full shaker of salt.

    More seriously, remember this ...

    USNA has, along with the other SAs, the HIGHEST retention rate of students in the world. 86% of all Plebes graduate. AND remember ... they ALL do so in 4, not 5,6, or 7 football seasons! So as for the very best opportunity to obtain a BS degree in 4 years, astronomically better than any other institution. Happiness is a function of the Mid or student, not the institution.

    While none has ever been developed to my knowledge, I'm betting that Mids are among the happiest, most fun-loving bunch of boys and girls on the planet! Especially when they are throwing those white hats into the air in Memorial Stadium upon being awarded ... a diploma, a commission, a guaranteed great job, and a ring that symbolizes more than a few "fun" times, among other things.
     
  3. subvet

    subvet Member

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    I would have replied but WP covered it completely. BTW WP I hink Saturday is your day again. :)
     
  4. subvet

    subvet Member

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    Sent youa PM.
     
  5. Kram1

    Kram1 Member

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    A service academy...any service academy is a GREAT place to be FROM! Understand?

    WP said it about as perfectly as can be said. Well done, Sir!
     
  6. billyb

    billyb Member

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    That is an old joke that those at the academy tell all of their friends and especially potential newbies. Have you son ask them, since they hate it so much, when they are quitting. I am sure the answer will be crickets. He needs to block out the noise and move forward.
     
  7. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    DS is in his second year at Annapolis and is enjoying the experience more. He has more free time, although it seems to be spent studying or working out, and doesn’t have to put up with some of the silly stuff they make Plebes do. They still don't get weekends off unless they have an overnight but it seems like he has a lot more overnights then last year – I think good football team performance and being on the Superintendent’s List have something to do with that. He's made some good friends and although it's early on I'd wouldn’t be surprised if these turn into lifelong relationships. I think he is looking forward to next year when he signs his contract, has weekends off and can have a car (although no place to park it nearby). The Academy is not what he would describe as “fun” but there really isn’t any other place he rather be except maybe training at Coronado or Virginia Beach :smile:
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Concur with everything being said. This time Plebe Year is tough. They had a few weeks off, they are back at the dark ages, school is hard, it seems Plebe Year will never end, they saw all the fun their friends were having at other schools. Every Plebe goes through it. Also, not sure about now, but when I was there they course load increased second semester slightly from first semester. This creates more studying and increased time management.

    The following three years are much better! Each year has its own "uniqueness" at USNA. Trust me there is plenty of fun to be had. It is just different than other schools. The life long relationships are amazing from USNA. These are the friends that I am closest to even if we do not talk on the phone for months or see each other for years due to duty stations, etc. We are there when we need each other and we magically appear without being asked when needed.

    And yes there are study abroad programs and events to represent USNA at. Local chapters of Alumni Associations, parents groups, etc always are looking for local Mids to talk to prospects and represent them. USNA volunteer groups are always looking for Mids to represent USNA at all kinds of volunteer activities. Any club, team, etc a Mid joins they will be representing USNA and have lots of chances to interact with the outside world.
     
  9. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

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    Time for an true-life anecdote, I think.

    My son is VOST (Varsity Offshore Sailing Team) and raced Marion/Bermuda in 2011 and Newport/Bermuda 2012, spending a few days in Bermuda both years. Not too shabby!

    Got to meet H. Ross Perot and the Governor General of Bermuda last year.
     
  10. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Sounds like FUN! Of a lifetime!!! GO NAVY!:thumb:

    And let's be ever-mindful, Brooks could not bear being freed from the good times in Shawshank! :confused::eek::rolleyes:
     
  11. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Agree with Hoops! I "warn" all of my candidates about the "dark ages." Plebe Summer is not the worst part of your USNA experience -- January and February of plebe year are -- by far!

    Yes, things get better. There is more freedom and less of the plebe "stuff" that consumes so much time and energy (rates, chow calls, mandatory fun (aka spirit activities), delivering laundry, standing lots of watch, etc.). And summers are terrific -- while every summer cruise isn't exceptional, I think most mids look back on their summers as highlights of their time at USNA. I know I do.

    That said, USNA NEVER becomes ROTC. Unless things have (or will) dramatically change, you will never be able to wander off the Yard any time you choose or even any night you choose. You have to graduate in 4 yrs so the course load is VERY intense and you need to spend a lot of time studying. You wear uniforms almost all of the time. You must attend class. You must stand watch (of some sort). You must keep your room clean. You have parades. You have to pass the fitness test. And on and on.

    Those who really want to be at a SA push through the Dark Ages and, by spring break, are singing a different tune. The world looks sunny and bright; Herdon is in sight; summer plans are set . . . life is much better -- if not great.:smile:
     
  12. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    USNA1985, +1.

    I would have your son talk to a few MIDN (other than plebes) at CVW, particularly ones from each class and ask them about their experiences throughout their years. I'm sure your DS will see a common theme....that plebe year presented some types of hurdles, that it might have been challenging at times, embarrassing at others, and fun at a few points -- but that it did not discourage them. Are there tough times? Of course, it is built that way. VADM Stockdale, MOH recipient, attributed his POW time in "Hanoi Hilton" (Vietnam) to his plebe summer experience (though, I think he probably implied his plebe year, too). Part of all the SA's plebe year experience is adversity -- some deal well with it, some don't, but most push through it and learn how to "deal with it." I can tell you it is great to look back at plebe year, especially when one is in tough/stressful times, and realize how "easy" those hard times were.
     
  13. momgrif

    momgrif New Member

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    Thank you for the posts. This site is very helpful.
     
  14. 20usna16

    20usna16 Member

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    I'm a plebe right now, and I know that the feedback we give other people is resoundingly negative. From the outside looking in though, upperclass life seems like it is sooooooo much better.
     
  15. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    2016 --

    Why the negativity? I'm actually curious, not being snide/disparaging.

    I'm sure you and your classmates had a pretty good idea of what to expect. And those of us who've been through it know this is a tough time of year for reasons we've stated on this board.

    But with that said, what has you and your classmates "down?" It might help others going through the process to understand the challenges plebes face . . . and, of course, nearly all overcome by Sea Trials/Herndon.:thumb:
     
  16. 20usna16

    20usna16 Member

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    I think it just varies by company on just how bad your Plebe Year will be. I am a lot less negative this semester already because it has gotten a lot easier/ I have gotten used to it. At least in my case the negativity came from me idealizing USNA so much in my head for what it would be every other year except plebe year. I strongly advise CVW in addition to Summer Seminar because NASS is the sales pitch whereas CVW shows you what's actually going on during plebe year. If you still love the academy after CVW which should be the case I would think, then I feel like you definitely know what you are getting in to 95%. At the end of the day though, under all the negativity, I definitely wouldn't trade this for anything. :smile:
     
  17. subvet

    subvet Member

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    Speaking of Herndon...do they still actually climb it? I know or DD's class did grease and all but heard no more.
     
  18. balloonattack911

    balloonattack911 Member

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    usna1985-

    In regards to your questions about the negativity, it's hard to explain where exactly it breeds from, but it is certainly prevalent. For my English class, we all had to write a paper on how the academy has changed in our eyes compared to how we pictured it before coming here. After turning in the paper, someone asked the teacher (a Marine Corps Captain) if he had ever had a paper where the author said their opinions had improved... and he responded with a no.

    From what I've seen, the 3 major reasons people are disappointed with the academy are because 1) not everybody is as smart as they expected 2) not everybody is as physically fit/tough as they expected or 3) they find the rules rather excessive, and find it hard to think of good reasons why they should go through all this crap when they could do ROTC or OCS.

    From what I've seen though, us Plebes generally admit that we are biased because we are currently in the crappy part of the process, and tell the kids here for the CVW that it's really not that bad -- you just have to focus on what the future has in store.

    And to subvet-- yes we still climb Herndon, with grease.
     
  19. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Thanks for the replies to my question. Interesting perspectives. It is somewhat sad that no one's view improved.

    For you plebes, hang in there. As "miserable" as you may be at times, years from now, you will remember much, much more of the good than the bad . . . at least I hope you will.
     
  20. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    I have a question:

    I have a question:

    DS had two interviews for USNA. One with his BGO and one with a field admissions officer who came to our house. Both went to USNA. One forever ago and one recently. The BOTH warned (!!!!) DS that he would not like plebe year but this is a four year program and would like it in the end by graduation. They both extracted a promise from him that he would try to find the humor in plebe year and not quit plebe year.

    My question is, (not counting physical shape) is there anything that current plebes would recommend to incoming plebes that would make it so they aren't so "disappointed with the academy"? or is that inherently part of the process and in a way beneficial as well?
     

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