Any Words of Wisdom for Beast?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by lotrjedi13, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _

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    Hi everyone. R-Day is less than two weeks away! Does anyone - current cadet, alumni, or parent - have any words of wisdom and advice about Beast and beyond for the soon-to-be-New Cadets before they report? Speaking for myself, at least, it would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    Although I'm in the same boat as you, I've some from a prior-enlisted retired officer father of mine, from my sponsor rising Yuk, and from a recent WP Parents Club send-off I attended:

    See any guy with a patch on the right sleeve of his ACU's? Shut up and listen to any wisdom they have regarding military skills or getting through basic training. The same applies, though to a bit of a lesser extent, to any Prepsters, though they won't be immediately recognizable in ACUs.

    Don't fall out of a run.

    Don't complain.

    Don't show up for sick call unless you absolutely can't make it through.

    Even if you aren't doing well with something, or even struggling, continue to give it your all. The cadre will respect you for it.

    If you do well at something, such as a skill during some aspect of the military training, make sure you help out your squad-mates. They'll return the favor when you're struggling with something.

    Keep a positive attitude as much as possible. No one likes a downer. Goes with the "don't complain" aspect. Keep a sense of humor. Laugh at the mistakes you make (at the appropriate times, of course)

    Remember that it isn't personal. The upperclassmen aren't being tough just to be a$$holes (in general, at least :] ), they're doing it to further your development. That's why they'll make us memorize Schofield's.

    That being said, there will be bad squad leaders. Some people will be lucky enough to get them. But that's life. You'll likely get a bad boss in the future at some point, but you don't let that stop you. It isn't our place to comment on it. You deal with it, and continue to do the beat with what you've got.

    Don't look whoever's yelling at you right in the eye -- the movement will distract you. Focus instead betweentheir eyebrows, or their nose, or chin -- wherever is most natural with your height differences.

    Take everything one day at a time, or even a few hours at a time. Aim to make it to breakfast. Then lunch. Then dinner. Don't worry about making it to march-back, or even to the ice cream social.

    And, as my dad's been saying recently, when it gets tough, remember FIDO -- f@&! it, drive on. (Yeah, he's real eloquent)

    Anyway, that's my basic mindset for Beast.
     
  3. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Well, I debated whether I'd share this, but since you asked...what follows is something I wrote five years ago for several kids I knew who were Beast-bound. I believe it still applies.

    You are about to embark upon the great crusade. My apologies for plagiarizing GEN Eisenhower. So this is it. You're packing the bags, maybe running one more time, saying goodbye to friends and loved ones, and generally freaking out at the prospect of starting this new life. Good. It's part of the system.

    I've thought a lot about my experiences in Beast. I thought perhaps I could help you to some great degree - be the wise Grad whose littany of mistakes could somehow come in handy for you as you traverse the path from high school kid to young officer candidates. But I think now that Beast is something you own, and everyone's experience will be tailored to wear on them in the spots that need work.

    I was a very egotistical but very scared New Cadet. In my mind, I was one of the best. There was nothing I couldn't do. Then the Beast bell rang and reality came out swinging. I discovered there were a multitude of things I was terrible at. From personal relationships to the APFT. I was sucking hard in a lot of areas. And for the life of me, I couldn't understand it. Three sport athlete, top of my class, accepted early. I thought I was going to be the poster child for West Point. I felt more like the dumb kid who had to be seatbelted on the school bus than a successful future officer.

    You will fail too. You'll be told you're a screwup. Maybe your platoon leader will tell you your attitude sucks. Maybe the XO will give you some "special attention." Maybe all of that will happen to you, as it did for me. Take heart in knowing that it's a part of the system.

    Despite my obviously skewed views on life, West Point, and the world in general, I thought I would nevertheless boil down the essence of Beast survival into three tips:

    1. Never feel sorry for yourself. The number one killer of the mind in situations like that is self-pity. Ask anyone who's been to Ranger school. Self-pity leads to a whole nest of destructive thoughts. When you start to feel sorry for yourself, remember that 9 kids are working at Taco Bell this summer so you could have that slot. Remember that there are kids your age deployed for a 15-month tour. I advise you against these thoughts because self-pity was my forte.

    2. Never fail your squadmates and your roommate. If one of you is screwed up, everyone else needs to screw themselves up to match, provided you can't fix the screwup on the one guy first. Don't ever leave your buddies dangling. Servant leadership starts with the idea that you are the last man on the totem pole by choice. Listen to the differences in people. Your squad will be a mix of race, religion, and origin. Love them all like brothers, even the ubiquitous idiot.

    3. Never give in. Fight for every inch. Push yourself that much harder. Do everything you can to make your family and yourself proud. As Solzhenitsyn said, "the bitter doesn't last forever." It's true, so make it count.

    Don't let your old life get in the way of your new one. I went to WP with a girlfriend of four years, very much in love. She's married now, and not to me. I went as a selfish teenager, but I think I left as a generous adult. Don't fear the change. Embrace it.

    Endeavor to persevere, or "keep on keepin' on." You all have what it takes. And someday, you'll look back fondly...and laugh.
     
  4. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    Just curious -- did you end up going to Ranger school, scoutpilot?

    I hear all kinds of stories from my dad... and since I'm ineligible for it, being female, he's decided to apply some of the traditions of Ranger school to Beast... So sometime during the summer, I get to open a box full of empty candy wrappers. I only hope the cadre at least can see the humor in it. :]
     
  5. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Nobody was cruel enough to send me that. :wink:
     
  6. armybratkl

    armybratkl Member

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    Ah, you're lucky then. Perhaps traditions have changed in the twenty or so years since he went through. Or perhaps he merely associates with a bunch of people with a sadistic sense of humor.

    I just have to figure out a good way to get him back. :wink:
     
  7. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Hypothetical situation: you're running, and you fall behind but do not stop running. You finish the run, but behind the general group. Is this okay, or is it considered falling out?
     
  8. BeatNavy

    BeatNavy USMA Cadet

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    Lol, I'm pretty sure if you "fall out" of the group, thats falling out.
     
  9. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    I get that; I just wanted to know if you fall behind but never quit during a run if it is as bad as not finishing.
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    You're sort of splitting hairs on that one. Continual effort is obviously good, but the Army is an institution of standards. You either meet them or you do not. "Almost" meeting the standard, at the end of the day, isn't viewed any more positively than completely failing to meet the standard.
     
  11. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Sounds fair. It was more a question of curiosity, because at the summer programs at the academies no one really kept together very well while running. Although, one funny instance at NASS was when 4 squads were running together, and an entire squad fell behind. My cadre's response: I like it; when they fall out at least they fall out together:shake:.
     
  12. BeatNavy

    BeatNavy USMA Cadet

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    11 days away!!!! :eek::biggrin::cool::eek3::wow::yikes::jump1:
     
  13. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    vampsoul - they will put you in running groups. You should not have to worry too much about falling out.
    On ruck marches - don't complain and don't fall out. You will make it.

    New Cadets come in all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of athletic ability/fitness. You will have a diagnostic APFT the first week of Beast. When you take it you will be exhausted and stressed. Most of you will not do well at all - don't let that deter you. By the end of Beast many will max it.

    Attitude is the most important thing. As long as you really try, give 100% and have a good attitude, you will make it through.

    A little advice for those who develop difficulties -
    Some New Cadets will seriously question if they belong. If you or your roommate or other squad mate goes through this - talk to someone!! Request a Chaplain visit or encourage your classmate to request a Chaplain visit. (yes, even if you are not religious) - for those who are more comfortable with counseling you can see a counselor.
    Contrary to 'popular belief' seeking a counselor or chaplain will not affect you negatively nor ruin your cadet career.
    If you get sick or injured - seek help! If your classmate is sick or injured, encourage him/her to seek help. Look after each other. Most medical situations can be treated easily before you need a trip to Keller. Lots of New Cadets end up on crutches - doesn't mean you will go home, most can complete.
    Mom's/Dad's if you see NC's on crutches in the photos posted - do NOT panic!

    Some companies will be hardass and some will be chill. Deal with it. Some NC's will LOVE Beast and some will HATE it. Most I have talked to find it a disturbing combination of the best 7 weeks of their life and the worst 7 weeks of their life.

    Remember they can't stop the clock and they can't kill you.
     
  14. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    They can yell and scream and get in your face, but they can't hit you.


    Well, not until SERE school anyway. :thumb:
     
  15. momoftwins

    momoftwins Founding Member

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    Remember why you're there. You wanted this so badly you couldn't wait for R-Day to arrive. As tough as it gets, keep remembering that feeling.

    Finish Beast. If you quit, you'll always wonder if you gave up too soon.

    Don't get caught up in negativity. That's a really bad habit. Stay as positive as possible.

    You may want to write yourself a letter or 2 (or more) and ask somebody to mail them to you at intervals during Beast. You can be your own cheerleader - just don't put your name on the return address. :rolleyes:

    Make sure all of your friends and relatives have your address. Let them know how much it will mean to you to hear from them. And let them know that you probably won't have time to reply.

    Make note of the leadership styles you see. Decide which members of the cadre you will want to use to model your own behavior.

    During the first week you'll be allowed to attend Chaplain's Time. Do it - even if you're not religious. You'll be very glad that you did. It's a short time to chill with no cadre around. You may also get some food.

    Find some fun. Some days you may have to look hard, but each day there will be something good that happens.

    You won't have your cell phone. Make sure you know the actual phone numbers of each of your parents' cell phones.

    Remember that lots of people here are pulling for you. So, on the day of the ice cream social (separating 1st and 2nd Details) hop on the Internet and let us know how you're doing.
     
  16. chriscross92

    chriscross92 Member

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    Great advice everyone, Thank you!

    a little off-topic question but it was touched upon briefly, does the APFT that you take during the first week count for anything at all?
     
  17. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _

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    Thank you to everyone for the advice! 6 days :eek:
     
  18. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I really like this suggestion! :thumb: Son leaves tomorrow so told him while I'm at work this afternoon I want him to write two to himself and seal them. Think those will mean more than all of them from mom and dad combined! Thanks for the idea!
     

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