Beast advice from cadets/graduates?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by jake s, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. jake s

    jake s USMA Cadet

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    A few questions for you current cadets or recent grads: What is the most important thing you wish you knew before starting Beast? What is the greatest lesson you took away from Beast? If you could change one thing about your time at Beast, what would it be?

    I'm trying to leave these questions open-ended so those of you that have been through Beast can pass on your lessons learned. Thanks for your responses in advance :thumb:
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    What I wish I had known before I started: how shocking it can be to go from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond.

    Greatest lesson I about Beast: it ends. All tough times end.

    Thing I wish I could change: I wish I had worried less. I also wish they hadn't been allowed to starve us. But losing 27 pounds was good in some ways, too.

    I don't think I can tell you anything specifically. I went through in the days of BDUs and black boots and LBEs with meathooks. Cadets have it much better now, and I don't think that's a bad thing. I got there at the end of the Clinton era, and the Army had no money. After 10 years of war, equipment is much better. Training is smarter. The stuff we did probably isn't even taught now.
     
  3. abeastlybeast

    abeastlybeast USMA Class of 2015

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    I really hope I do not lose that much weight during Beast. I'm already slightly underweight as it is. I've been gradually gaining weight because it's weightlifting season, but should I strive to gain a ton before Beast? 27 lbs is extreme.
     
  4. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Let's not turn this into another thread with dozens of specific and personal questions. Jake started this thread for a purpose: to hear from those who have completed Beast. Questions about specifics can be PMed, please.
     
  5. abeastlybeast

    abeastlybeast USMA Class of 2015

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    Yes sir, PM'd.
     
  6. joiner2012

    joiner2012 New Member

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    1. Drink water. You don't want to heat cat.
    2. Don't ask stupid questions. If you think it might be dumb, chances are it is, especially during CBT
    3. DRINK WATER. Seriously, piss clear.
    4. Be able to run at least a 6:45 min/mile pace going in. It will make you life a lot easier. The runs aren't that hard..
    5. Be open-minded. Don't go in thinking because you heard advice from someone that you know exactly what is going on.

    SIde-Note: The meals during CBT got extended to 30 minutes. You have PLENTY of time to eat enough food. My new cadets gained an average of 10 pounds last summer
     
  7. USMA88Grad

    USMA88Grad New Member

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    Things I told my son

    A few things I told my son
    1. Get bugle notes and start learning
    2. Find a prep school grad early on and learn how to fold and make a bed
    3. Sleep on top of your bed. Not in it. Those sheets are for decoration only
    4. Be in shape. Don't be the guy that falls out on runs

    Biggest thing I learned was I was with some great folks and I thought by the end we could do anything. Remember. Cooperate and graduate isn't just a slogan. You will need each other for simple things like dressing your shirt to delivering mail and laundry.

    It's all just a game to train you up and indoctrinate you in cadet life. Don't take yelling seriously. It isn't personal.
     
  8. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    Awesome thread idea Jake. This is some of the exact things I was wondering about at this point. :thumb:
     
  9. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    -Take everything with a grain of salt...cadre are college kids too and like you, are not fond of getting up at 5:00am every morning
    -Have a positive attitude
    -Be prepared to run lots of hills
    -STAY OFF THE RADAR. Whatever you do, dont make a name for yourself
    -And do the right things, say the right things...we had kids get honor boards even before they were cadets/get hours even before the school year. How sad is that. Remember you are coming here to make yourself a better leader and officer...don't half-***/lie your way through things!
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    I've posted this in the past, but I'll repost now for the benefit of anyone who might find it the least bit beneficial. I penned this five years ago for two kids I knew who were going to Beast. One is aviator now and the other is an engineer currently deployed. I personally believe that my advice is directly responsible for none of their successes.

    I edited and updated it a bit. Take it all for what it's worth. They say free advice is worth every penny...



    You are about to embark upon the great crusade (apologies to 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, and it has served many graduates well.

    I've thought a lot about my experiences in Beast. (Ten years later, I still do.) 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 threshold from high school kid to cadet. As I reflect on it, though, I now think 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 bell rang and reality came out swinging. I discovered there was a multitude of things I was terrible at. From personal relationships to the first APFT, I was sucking wind in a lot of areas. For the life of me, I couldn't understand it. I was a three-sport athlete, at the top of my class, accepted very early via an LOA in August. I thought I was going to be the poster child for West Point. After two days, I felt more like the dumb kid who had to be seatbelted on the school bus than a potentially successful future officer.

    You, too, will fail. 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 you'll lose your rifle card 5 minutes after they give it to you, and your Tac Officer will find it. 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, and that you are not the first person to make whatever mistake you might have made. If you doubt that, tell yourself that I probably made that mistake, too, and you'll most likely be right.

    Despite my potentially 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, as I see it. Remember, of course, that in those days the uniforms were green, the boots were black, the rifles were long, and everything was as hard as it ever could have been and the Corps has become leaps and bounds easier since the day I left (or that is how each grad views the institution in his or her own mind :smile:)...

    1. Never feel truly sorry for yourself. The number one killer of the mind in situations like that is self-pity. Ask anyone who's been to Ranger or SERE or a SOF assessment. Self-pity leads to a whole nest of destructive thoughts that you as a young man or woman of recognized potential have no business wasting your time on. When you do 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 12-month tour. Most of all, remember that you were chosen for a reason. You have demonstrated the ability to succeed. So shut out the bad thoughts, wipe away the tears, and go succeed. 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 screwup. The role of the screwup changes from day to day, and more than once that screwup will be you. You'll want your squadmates to grab you by the hand and pull you along when you need it. You had best be there for them when they need it, too.

    3. Never give in. Fight for every inch, because you are fighting for yourself and all the good things your country will ask of you. Push yourself that much harder. Do everything you can to make your family and yourself proud. As Solzhenitsyn tells us, "the bitter doesn't last forever." It's true, so make it count. You only get one life.

    Speaking of which, 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'm married now, and not to her. I went as a selfish teenager, but I think I left as a decently generous adult. Don't fear the change. Embrace it. Worry about what you can change, forget about what you can't. (If you succeed at that, please tell me how.)

    In the words of Chief Dan George: "Endeavor to persevere." In the words of my good friend Paul Pena, "keep on keepin' on." You all have what it takes. Someday, a decade later, you'll go to a Founder's Day dinner so that you can simply look back fondly with others who've shared the experience...and laugh.
     
  11. RLTW

    RLTW Member

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    Cool!

    Cool! Thanks for posting, scoutpilot :thumb:
     
  12. jake s

    jake s USMA Cadet

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    Scoutpilot's post is in the spirit of why I started this thread. Cadets/grads, please keep it coming! Your responses are fantastic so far.
     
  13. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    1. It's all a game. Play by the rules, keep a sense of humor, and help your battle buddies reach the end. Reach out to them when they need it and they'll be there for you- and you will need them at some point.

    2. Most of your cadre just finished their yuk year. They are stumbling their way through the summer as well. Keep that in mind.

    3. Run on hills...USMA will teach you what goes up does not always come down. There are harder ways to get back to point A.

    4. Come prepared with some fun movie trivia and such to entertain your cadre at meal times. If you're entertaining, then they're in a better mood, and you get to eat more.

    5. Practice eating with smaller bites. Honestly, if you can already eat a normal meal by taking smaller bites when you get here life will be a lot more pleasant.

    6. Remind your parents to write to you. Even if you never get homesick or anything like that (I'm one of those kids who never remembers to call home and gets yelled at for it), there is no worse feeling then finally getting to go check mail and finding an empty box.

    7. You will find something about CBT that you simply cannot do without a little motivation or help, whether it is physical, mental, or emotional. Do not be too proud to turn to your battle buddy and and ask for help. A great deal of CBT is about learning to work with others and not having to be the head hauncho all the time. Teamwork, got it? There's no LT New Cadet.
     
  14. hopkins2010

    hopkins2010 Member

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    1. I wish I'd known that none of Beast is meant to be impossible or unduly challenging. Don't stress it, and try to enjoy as much of it as possible.
    2. Every experience is cadre/company dependent. My first detail was generally relaxed. My second, less so.
    3. Take everything the cadre does with a grain of salt. I feel especially strongly about this point considering my interactions with the Yuks about to take leadership details this summer.
    4. It's only 6 weeks. Didn't feel like this at the time, but Beast is quite short.
    5. Value the connections you build with your squad. Some of my beast squad mates are among my best friends at the Academy.
    6. Do not sham out of stuff. It happens more than you would think, and it does not go unnoticed.
     

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