Excited for KP!

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by hopefulacademyapplicant, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. hopefulacademyapplicant

    hopefulacademyapplicant Member

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    Hey everyone! I just got accepted to King's Point and I cannot fully describe how excited both my family and I are about this opportunity. I have been reading about everything I can in regards to KP life. I have a few questions:

    1. I hear the schooling itself is challenging but clearly it is not impossible. Is there any advice I can have as a future plebe on how to be the best m/n I can be during the year?

    2. What is Sea Year like? I have seen the video that USMMA has placed on YouTube. Is this an accurate portrayal? What do you do on an average day at sea? What are the projects like? Do you ever get time to sight see and interact with the different peoples and cultures? What do you do in your free time if free time is even available? What is there to do on a merchant vessel?

    3. How are the physical requirements of the academy? I understand that USNA and USMA are known for their brutal PT, but is it the same at KP? Can you elect to take weapons training and advanced martial arts training similar to USNA? I also have heard that there are Marine Ops and Navy Seal Preparation Courses. What are those like?

    Just a few questions from a very excited applicant and future Plebe. Hope everyone is well and receiving good news!

    Thanks! :biggrin:
     
  2. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    Congratulations! What state are you in? I ask because you should get in contact with your state or region Parent Association, ask if the PA can get in touch with a Plebe who would be willing to speak with you or email you regarding your questions. But for now, as a parent, I can say this. Don't stand out, keep your sense of humor (take your work seriously but not yourself), stay on top of your school work, which comes before anything else, get tutoring help for physics, chemistry and calc as soon as it doesn't make sense, and look at the big picture. Sea year is everything you've seen and more. If you've never received a grade below an A, you will. You won't be the first and you won't be the last. Keep your nose clean. Whatever you did to get into KP, you'll have to do more than that to stay. You CAN do it if you keep your focus, find the right attitude and learn from yours or others' mistakes. Good luck
     
  3. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 Member

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    Congratulations and welcome to the Kings Point family. I agree with everything Dramamama said, and I would add these comments.
    1) Regarding surviving plebe year and academics in particular, you have to be a team player. Help out your classmates whenever you can and never try to show anyone up. There will be a lot of times you will need their help as well. No one gets through Kings Point alone!
    2) Regarding sea year, everyone has a different experience depending on whether you are deck or engine, what kind of ship you are on, what route you are on, and who your captain/chief engineer is. You need to understand that this is not a vacation cruise. You will likely be just as busy as you were on campus. You will be a member of the crew and will be expected to pull your own weight. You will be given increasing responsibility as your time
    progresses. You will likely also have to take your turn standing watch. Your sea projects will be difficult and very time consuming. You will not get enough sleep. That being said, you will have an amazing time, you will learn more
    than you can imagine, and you will see the world. How much time you have
    ashore varies according to the ship's schedule, whether you have duties while
    the ship is loading/unloading, and what country you're in. My DS docked at
    about 22 different ports in 16 countries. Sometimes (particularly in the middle
    east) he was not allowed off the ship and other times he had a day or even two ashore. Be flexible and work hard and you will have some amazing experiences!
    3) Regarding PT, it is not that difficult as long as you show up in reasonably
    good shape. You will run during Indoc and become proficient at push-ups, but academics are a million times harder than PT. There is an active Marine Ops organization if you want to get involved. My DS decided he needed sleep more
    than he wanted to get involved because they do PT several times per week at 0dark30. He finds it more enjoyable to go for a run with friends around the neighborhoods of Great Neck. There is a firing range in the basement of the
    auditorium. You will do some close quarters combat and martial arts in PE, but I am not sure about any advanced stuff. Get involved in a sport to keep in shape and keep your sanity.
    Time management and constant sleep deprivation will be your biggest
    challenges at KP. Come with a good attitude and a good work ethic and you can make it. Best wishes!
     
  4. shutterbugC

    shutterbugC Member

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    The only other thing I can add to the above list is DETERMINATION and BALANCE. If you are determined to finish, you will find a way to finish by following the list above and balance your school, sport, studies and extra time.
     
  5. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    hopefulacademyapplicant,

    Congratulations! Welcome to the USMMA "family" and good luck in the journey you will embark upon starting in July. Also wow from your questions you are indeed excited and have a lot of them - totally understandable. Here's my thoughts and answers:

    1) The academics can indeed be challenging, especially if you have a few "holes" in either your high school math/science preparation or have no real study habits and finding yourself needing to develop them for the first time. You've probably read this here elsewhere but basically a trimester is little other than a 16 week semester crammed into 13 1/2 weeks. As noted above - don't be afraid to either offer or ask for help. Find study partners in your academic section who you don't mind working with (and vice versa) and who you don't mind being around - then as the saying used to go when I was there "cooperate & graduate." Bottom line re: time management at KP, 95% of the time, rule # 2 for PCs (Plebe Candidates) is: if you manage your time so you take care of your academics first and foremost then everything else works out and falls in line. It's easy to be confused about this as you exit Indoctrination and the Academic year starts since during Indoc, Plebe Candidates have nothing other than "The Regiment" to worry about and during the first week or two of a trimester things can and often do start out slowly, especially first trimester - that said loose sight of the above as rule number 2 for Plebe Cadidates and it will likely be at your own peril.

    Rule number 1 is basically as others indicate: While a Plebe Candidate, to the extent practicable - fly below the radar. You can't nor should you totally bury your own personality, and most midshipmen have strong personalities, but the truth is, there will be plenty of opportunities and time during your four years at USMMA to display your gifts and personality in spades - Plebe year prior to recognition, is really "not that time."

    2) Not sure which of the many YouTube videos on sea year you're specifically referring to, but Sea Year is indeed for most KP graduates, the highlight of their experience at KP. It's a "work hard/play hard time"; and you get a great chance to see a lot of the world and to do it not as a tourist but as someone who is actually a working part of the countries you are visiting economic "engine." As such you'll gain a perspective, that, IMO is far more valuable then say going abroad for a semester as a "normal college student." Of course there are some negatives to the "work hard" part too - as in occasionally that might constrict your ability to sight see, etc - for example if you are on a container ship in China, in many ports your time actually alongside the dock might be barely 8-10 hours before the ship departs for the next port, etc. That said, I believe if you are "a good cadet" who works hard when you are needed, most Captains, Chief Engineers and crews, try to repay you by enabling you to enjoy and take maximum advantage of the experience; as long as when there is work to be done and you are needed "you deliver the goods." I know this is generic but the specific answers to your specific questions varies from ship to ship and crew to crew - also never forget to make some time to actually work on your "dreaded sea project" - failing to do so has tripped up more than one otherwise stellar midshipmen - there are just some things you can't complete in your sea project in that last week before you have to report back to USMMA for your next trimester.

    3) In reply I'll ask - what kind of shape are you currently in? If you are a varsity athlete and basically stay in shape, while there may be one or two particular things that are hard for you initially, you'll likely do just fin both through Indoctrination and Plebe year. If you're not an athlete and/or are a smoker then i'd recommend you work on getting in better shape and running more before indoctrination starts. Summers on Long Island can be hot and "muggy" and the Indoc regimen has a fair amount of running, etc. Also it's always a good idea to try and stay in shape during your Sea Year - there are PRT's you need to pass upon your return to campus and the remedial classes, while not ridiculous do usually require you to participate in morning workouts before breakfast and given that the ability to sleep until normal reveille is a cherished "class rate" nobody likes to basically loose that privilege so they can do extra PT. Marine Ops is available and there may be some sort of Navy Seal prep courses, there's also other options, etc available and all that is best explained by current midshipmen (both those that participate in those options and those that do not) - additionally during you Plebe Year these things are all presented and made available to you as applicable. As far as your specific question relative to comparisons with what's available and offered at either USMA or USNA - my view is for those items that are useful, USMMA has all that stuff, only lots, way betterer - but hey that's just one old graduate's view:wink:

    Best of luck!
     
  6. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    Sea Year

    I'm assuming that the You Tube video you saw was the Kings Point Diversity video filmed in Guam. DS was assigned to the same ship you saw in the video during his first sea term. I think it's a good video - since this particular ship spends a fair amount of time in port you do have a lot of shore opportunities. DS was able to get his scuba certification while on this ship. However, as Jasperdog said not all ships have this same port time available. DS just shipped out for his second sea term on a ro-ro that spends about 8-10 hours in any given port. I somehow doubt he'll have much of a chance to sightsee - he's already been told there will be no port time in some of their ports. However, he loves being at sea and is really happy to be back out there for another sea term.:thumb:
     
  7. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    During my sea year, I had some time to see the sights at various ports. You are right about Ro/Ros in that they are not the best kind of ship for spending time in port.

    Remember, time in port is when a ship isn't making money. I did work of a few break bulk ships where we did get a few days in most ports. I found that as long as work was done, the engineers would give time away from the ship to the cadets. A couple also gave me a few bucks, too.

    It doesn't hurt to volunteer for some nasty kind of work and use that as a negotiating point for shore time, either. I remember being anchored up a river in Borneo, where there was limited shore access; and again in Hong Kong and we were loading on to lighters at both places and were there for three or four days. This particular ship was not fitted with superheater soot blowers, so once each voyage each of them would have to be scraped by hand. Not a very nice job in any way at all.

    It just so happened that both of these visits happened over a weekend, and most ships do not require cadets to do day work on weekends. I don't really know in this case if I had an option to sit out the nasty work, but I did it gladly and with a good attitude. It certainly worked to get some time away from the ship later in Manila and Singapore; places where we had three and four day stops alongside.
     
  8. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    or as the old saying goes.. 'if the ship ain't moving the cargo better be'..

    By the way cmakin, I saw your pictures on the Ships Nostalgia website.. The ones of the SS MONTANA brought back some memories for sure. I remember her coming into Honolulu Harbor in late 1978, right after States Lines went bankrupt. I was 2nd Mate with Matson on the HAWAIIAN PROGRESS at the time. It was sad seeing that company go away..:frown: Although their 'stick ships' being bought by U.S. Lines was some consolation.
     
  9. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Hey, I was onboard her then. Did you see me wave? And yeah, it was a sad time indeed.

    A most interesting voyage, to be sure. We were siezed by the agent in Manila just hours before our scheduled departure during the first week of December. Stayed there for a couple of weeks before we left. Not that I was complaining or anything. Crew allotment checks were bouncing left and right. Managed to get the lein swapped over to the COLORADO (that came into Manila while we were there) to gain our release. Needless to say, the rest of our voyage was changing daily while we were underway.

    That is one thing that Sea Year cadets may also want to be aware of. Voyages can change without any whim, rhyme or reason. I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas onboard the MONTANA. Prepared me very well for an adult life at sea.

    On a side note, all of the old COLORADO class stick ships are gone. Still a couple of CALIFORNIA class around, though.
     
  10. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    Yeah, I remember hearing all the stories about the liens and the bounced allotment checks when I went back to the MM&P hall after I got off the PROGRESS.. I had a friend and classmate from the schoolship that got off the IDAHO about 3 months before the company went bust. So he got all his money without a problem. He told me that those ships were a ‘rough ride’ and would basically ‘roll on a wet dishcloth’.. They were very uncomfortable to say the least. He said they put the rail under water in heavy weather on more than one occasion.:eek:
    I only sailed for States once. That was as 3rd Mate on the ILLINOIS, which was one of their Ro-Ro’s.
     
  11. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Yeah, the rolled. Particularly with seas on the stern quarter. They were fitted with a flume tank system that was out of use by the time I was onboard. But they were pretty fast and other than the rolling, very comfortable. I made trips on the Ro/Ro's, too. Once with States on the MAINE, and later with Lykes on the LIPSCOMB LYKES. Oh, and I enjoy your pictures, too. There just aren't enough of the US ships of that era out there.
     
  12. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    Ahhh.. the flumes tanks.. yeah, we had those on the Seamaster (AKA Seamonster) and the Pacesetter (AKA Pacemaker) class ships over at APL too. Believe it or not, I was also on a Keystone tanker that had a flume system as well. The flumes would increase the rolling period but didn't do anything to lessen the amplitude. Also a lot of times you couldn't fill them because it would reduce the GM margin to less than what was required.
    After States went away the Ro-Ro's, as you said, went over to Lykes Lines. The MAINE became the TYSON LYKES, the ARIZONA became the LIPSCOMB LYKES and the NEVADA became the CHARLES LYKES.. I don’t remember what happened to the ILLINOIS.. I think she went back to the government. I know you're an engineer, and you were just a cadet, but do you remember the infamous Captain Walter Day on the MAINE?

    [FONT=&quot]Glad you enjoyed my pics..and I might add, there aren't enough U.S. flag ships out there, no matter what their era. Are you following what’s going on over at Horizon Lines? I sure hope that mess gets straightened out or it could have a significant negative impact for at least the MM&P and MEBA...[/FONT]
     
  13. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    Yeah, I remember Capt. Day, but not too many details. Doug Morrison was the 1st on there and he kept me pretty busy down below, and out of harm's way. And yeah, the ILLINOIS went straight to the government instead of running with Lykes. I did a bunch of work on all of those ship when I was with ABS. It was interesting going back on the ones that I sailed on and look at some of the things that I made when I was a cadet and still see them in use.

    I seem to remember a purser on the MAINE who said he was Charlton Heston's cousin. I bet there aren't any cargo ships with pursers anymore, either.

    I rarely do any kind of work on US vessels these days so I am out of the loop as to what is going on over at Horizon. I don't even know the last time I set foot on a US flag vessel other than maybe the odd crew boat or supply boat. Most of my work these days is with the offshore business, but still do some marine work (even have an engine damage to attend tonight or tomorrow) but none US flag.
     
  14. hopefulacademyapplicant

    hopefulacademyapplicant Member

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    I would like to extend a thank you to everyone that posted advice on this thread. It was truly appreciated and made me realize that the only way I can truly get ALL the answers I need is either by experience first hand or through communication with a current midshipman. This thread was extremely helpful and I hope everyone has good luck and hope to see you on the big day!:thumb:
     

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