Am I ready for USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Michael R., Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Michael R.

    Michael R. Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    2
    I can blow the physical standards out of the water. I almost have the max for all of them. I work hard in academics as well. Although, I'm concerned I'm not ready. People complain about the USNA not having enough social life or parties. I'm not a party animal but I would enjoy having some parties and have a decent social scene. Is the USNA just academics/military? Is there relationships guys/girls? What rules/regulations are there? I want to join the Navy for sure. Please enlighten me.
     
  2. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    122
    Obviously your plebe year has a lot of restrictions. Expect only 12 hours of liberty a week: noon to midnight on Saturdays, and you'll be in summer whites or service dress blues (SDBs) out in town. For life on the Yard, your first year you won't be allowed to listen to music, watch movies/TV, or do a whole host of other things I've forgotten about since plebe year for me was like 7 years ago.
    You probably can't expect a "normal" college-style social life until 2/C year, when you're allowed to go out on Friday, wear civvies, and have a car. My senior year I was able to go out every night except for Monday or Wednesday, which was pretty great, but that was contingent on some performance stuff on my part.
    Mids are not allowed to have alcohol in their rooms ever, or have the door closed with someone of the opposite sex in their room. So on-campus parties aren't really a thing. There's firstie club on Tuesdays/Thursdays (maybe? or has that died out?) but that's it.
    Relationships happen. As a plebe you can't date a non-plebe (and as a non-plebe you can't date a plebe, but why would you want to), and you can't date inside your own company.

    This all sounds kind of miserable written down in one spot. Looking back on it (sitting in my apartment drinking a beer) it sounds pretty miserable. It's really not that bad, which I realize is not a ringing endorsement. Annapolis is a great town (expensive! But great!) and you're around a lot of great people. I've spent the majority of my time post-graduation around non-USNA grads and from talking to them I don't necessarily think I missed out on anything too awesome by going to USNA.
    But yes, if you're looking for a more traditional college experience USNA is not it. It's not for everyone.
     
    landlock likes this.
  3. Michael R.

    Michael R. Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    2
    So I'm able to leave campus on the weekends as Plebe? Why am I not allowed to listen to music? Is it for discipline? Does 2/C mean sophomore year?
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,095
    Likes Received:
    2,457
    You can leave campus on Satursday as a Plebe. Sometimes, but rarely on Sunday. They restrict a lot Plebe Year so you focus. It's part of the process. Sometimes they will grant media and movie privileges so you can listen to music or watch a movie. 2/C is a junior, it goes in reverse order. 4/C are freshman and 1/C are seniors.
     
  5. MammaMia

    MammaMia Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    97
    DS is a plebe now and I can tell you a bit about his experience. He's taking 18 hours - average load for plebes.

    On Friday nights his company has their written professional knowledge test (pro-know). This test covers a chapter of their pro-know book (between 10-30 pages of material) and is an important part of their military grade. Plebes are ranked by their results. On Saturdays they have town liberty between 12 PM and 11:59 PM, if there isn't a home football game (mandatory march over and attendance, but you can go to tailgates afterwards and they have some fun), they aren't restricted (grounded for various reasons like conduct offenses or being unsat(isfactory) in military performance) and they don't have watch duty. If you have watch at any point during the weekend, no Liberty that weekend. No alcohol is permitted for plebes at any point during the first year, even if they are of legal drinking age. Are there parties? There are company social events, brigade-wide events like Oktoberfest, dining out (formal dinners but very fun) in the spring. Honestly, there is so much to do - challenging academics, military obligations, physical fitness requirements, extracurriculars - that parties would only detract from focusing on performance the first year. You are in uniform at all times, even in your room (you can usually wear PE uniform for comfort in your room/company area at the end of the day). No civilian clothes until you're home on leave at Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a plebe, DS does not have a single item of civilian clothing at school.

    On Sundays they stay on the Yard unless it's a 3-day weekend, then they have town Liberty until 6 PM.

    DS listens to music and they all have access to media now, but there is still little wifi/reception (they are working on improving that) and many sites are blocked on the network.

    It's not anything like a typical first year in college. His sister, our DD, goes to a large "public Ivy" that is (in)famous for its Greek life and party scene, and she and her brother laugh at the contrast between their experiences. It loosens up youngster (3/C or sophomore) year (Sunday Liberty, more civilian clothes allowed on weekends), and by 2/C and firstie year, there is a lot of freedom and going out on weekends if that's your thing. But the academic and military and physical responsibilities continue all four years and take priority.

    If you are a varsity athlete, you will travel with the team regularly, which is a way to get off the Yard and have a change of scenery. It's a huge perk for plebes.

    It's a very rewarding place, and the friendships you build are as fun and as close, if not closer, than friendships developed at civilian schools - but the first year is very hard, and while things ease up as you gain seniority, it's nothing like going to a civilian school. If you know that going in, you're much better prepared to face the lack of freedom and constant accountability for yourself and your shipmates.

    Hope this helps.
     
    mb1395 and landlock like this.
  6. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    270
    A great reason to visit USNA is to get a chance to talk with current mids and ask them about their experiences. Part of the regimentation is to prepare you for life in the military once you graduate. What you are/are not allowed to do will vary by company so don't assume the experience of every company will be the same.

    Participation in varsity athletes is a whole topic of its own and you can search back on older threads for those discussions. In addition to all else you are expected to do, many find that participation in varsity athletics to be too much of a time drain.
     
    MammaMia likes this.
  7. majstlo

    majstlo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2015
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    23
    FSAs, The Citadel and VMI are not for couch potatoes or party animals, if you are worried about a social life your first year maybe you are pursuing the wrong school. Your privileges will gradually increase but the focus is on academics and military training so just understand what you are getting yourself into, many do not.
     
    MammaMia likes this.
  8. Vtmom

    Vtmom Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    21
    My plebe was never a party kid. But he does say its hard to see social media and know what your friends are doing and you can't. Keep in mind this is only temporary, the long term gain is so much better than the short term "fun" you may miss out on. There are a lot of restrictions I think, even all 4 years. You will never be like a regular college student. But there are moments, and as you gain seniority, the restrictions lighten up. You just need to keep the big picture in mind and not dwell on the things you "can't do". As my plebe said the other day "I love it here. I mean, it sucks and everything. But I can't picture myself anywhere else.". I will take that as extremely positive!
     
    MammaMia likes this.
  9. Sydney C.

    Sydney C. Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    281
    • "Some parties & a decent social life".....that's in the eye of the beholder but the short answer is: Minimal
    • "Just academics & military".....it's NOT college and the short answer is: Mostly
    • "Relationships "....assume you mean something beyond friendship and camaraderie but the short answer is: Some
    • "Rules & Regs"...you can look this up on Google...and when you be prepared to read for awhile...but the short answer is: Lots
    • "Join the Navy"....this is not exactly like joining the Navy...but short answer is: Very Different.
     
    Dial the gate likes this.
  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,868
    Likes Received:
    237
    I think the first big party for Plebes (and probably the last for a while) is Fourth of July. With fireworks, hotdogs, band and hamburgers on the field. Make good use of it because it is probably the last party you will see for a long time. Detailers will be ready for you the next day. Then you get I-Day and fifteen or twenty minutes then Christmas. Then your parents will have to rent a truck to bring all your gear home at the end of Plebe year. Second year you can select gear for each season and store some of it at home if your parents have a big closet or basement area. I could not believe all the stuff I had to stuff in a SUV and roof carrier at the end of Plebe year. Parents be prepared! Brother in Law is VMI and I agree if you think you might be a couch potato or party animal none of these schools are for you. Think hard and best of luck. When they throw that cover in the air and you get to pin the boards/bars on their shoulders they forget about the parties they missed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
  11. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    595
    I wouldn't call Plebe Summer Fourth of July meal/celebration a party. It's more like you just get breathing room and a chance to socialize.
     
    MammaMia likes this.
  12. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,095
    Likes Received:
    2,457
    I remember a 3 mile run and other 'fun' activities prior to our hot dogs. We got about an hour to socialize. It was the first time any of us really talked to one another. We then sat in formation and ooh and awwwed on command at fireworks. The next day we got throttled at PEP. So yeah... Fun party!
     
    MammaMia likes this.
  13. Michael R.

    Michael R. Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    2
    I just want to know, is everyone walking around miserably at USNA? That's what people make it out to be
     
  14. MammaMia

    MammaMia Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    97
    [QUOTE="]I just want to know, is everyone walking around miserably at USNA? That's what people make it out to be[/QUOTE]

    No - but it's not full of carefree souls the way civilian schools can be. DS said recently "I would be lying if I said that I felt completely happy all the time but most of those episodes last for just a portion of the day and by the end of the day I'm back to being happy. Things are hard but certainly not impossible. Thinking about spending seven more months this way is a bit overwhelming so I just try to take things as they come."

    There is always something else that needs doing, and there are not many minutes in the week where you're sitting around shooting the bull. But here's the thing - everyone is in the same boat. (No pun intended.) But there's great camaraderie and a huge sense of accomplishment at the end.
     
    landlock likes this.
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,370
    Likes Received:
    1,840
    I can't believe no one has yet provided a version of the classic: "USNA is a bad place to be, but a great place to be from."
    This is why candidate visit weekends are so important.
     
  16. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,095
    Likes Received:
    2,457
    I actually loved my time at USNA. Yes parts of it sucked, especially plebe summer. Plebe year was harder. The academics were great. I apppreciste the education I received much more now. The teachers challenge you and the education is extremely well rounded. The good moments far outweighed the bad moments. I learned a ton about myself and others. I made the greatest friends you could ever imagine. If ever needed I know those guys would show up at my door no questions asked if I needed them too. We have stood at each other's weddings, children's baptisms and with each other at funerals.
     
    JShawshank and MammaMia like this.
  17. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    595
    One of the goals of all SAs is to overcome adversity (it is primarily focused on plebe year, however, you can find some aspects of adversity during all four years). All SAs are deliberately set up to be challenging and stressful....MIDN/cadets have to balance many different competing requirements (juggle priorities)....they learn how to make decisions and the consequences of them (good or bad)....how to plan...deal with stress...etc. This isn't normal college (N*T College) nor a normal college environment. As NavyHoops and others articulated, there are stressful/down times and there are very good moments and opportunities. Part of the whole experience is to learn how to deal with the stressful/down times and enjoy the good times.
     
    MammaMia likes this.
  18. Full Steam

    Full Steam Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    18
    Yes and no. It depends on the person and on the situation.

    My plebe year, it started snowing on Veterans Day. There were still piles of snow around the parking lots in March. The football team wasn't great shakes then, so no exaltation over winning games. Academics took up a lot of time. (I'd been used to being able to have homework done before dinner, if not on the long bus ride home from school. That wasn't the case at USNA.)

    On the other hand, I ended up on a great sports team (Women's Crew) with peers who knew how to work really hard and also have fun and enjoy themselves. I saw a ton of great plays in the DC area on weekends. I hung out at my sponsors' house with another plebe and a couple upperclassmen (Sponsors are families in the area who bring mids home to their houses on the weekends. It's a nice way to relax, have a family meal, watch some TV or study while laying on a couch. I wish more civilian schools had a similar program.) I was in several extra curricular groups, including faith based groups. I still have friendships with the people I knew at USNA. There were pep rallies, company football games in the fresh fallen snow, silly games of hockey with brooms in the back shaft, company talent show nights, Halloween costume contests, etc. Even after losing football games, our company had fun tailgaters where we hung out at the stadium, grilling and generally enjoying ourselves.

    There were incredible opportunities for travel and training over the summers. I had two study tours to Germany (that were mostly paid for by endowments for international studies). I few in Navy training aircraft. I got underway on an LA class submarine. I got to spend a week in Quantico, learning about the Marine Corps. Awesome experiences that very few of my high school classmates had any exposure to.

    No, you aren't going to find beer pong in Bancroft or big frat style parties. That doesn't equate, or at least in my case didn't equate, to being miserable all of the time.

    On the other hand, time away from USNA is directly related to having satisfactory grades and to not being on restriction for conduct offenses. If you are failing a class, you aren't going to see much time away from the academy (A more recent grad would need to chime in with details. In my time, there were no weekend overnighters if you were unsat. I don't think you could sign up for a voluntary movement order [ex bus trip to The Citadel to watch football] if you were unsat.)

    If a significant party scene is what you are after in college, you may be right to look at other options. The exact situation at USNA regarding liberty, civilian clothes, weekends and other privileges and restrictions varies greatly from year to year. It is likely to always be more restrictive than what you will find at a civilian school. That doesn't have to equate to misery, but it is going to be very different than a civilian school.
     

Share This Page