Excited for November Break - BUT Let the Dark Ages Begin

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by VRSCDX, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. VRSCDX

    VRSCDX Member

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    Just heard that the academic class schedules were given to the Plebes very recently. Let the gnashing of teeth begin as the dark ages are upon us all (plebes and parents alike). I'm looking forward to the November break but keeping one eye open and focused on the dark ages.

    Makes me wonder about all the chatter earlier this year about Physics and Calc II being the Plebe Killers. You know stuff like this one Physics professor failed 2/3rds of his class. I do dare to revive this conversation, since I find it better to face the storm prepared rather than to be reacting to the storm as it hits.

    Any thoughts on what the plebes can do to get ready for the dark ages? I know they are on their own, but they do rely on parents for encouragement from time to time. I do not think I'd like to be the plebe scheduled for Physics with the Prof who fails 67% of his class. Was this just a rumor? Its just hard for me to believe only 33% of our nation's brightest young people can pass any single class. That seems like a statistic more befitting of NAVY SEAL School.
     
  2. jamzmom

    jamzmom Founding Member

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    Send twizzlers & cookies then listen, not advise over the phone. The "YOU'RE NOT HERE & GOING THRU THIS BLEEPING ****" will get regurgitated on you real fast & in a hurry. Wipe it off & carry on as you are OSG (official support group). KP is not fair at times with grading nor easy at best to those doing it or to those looking in. Put on your hard hats in some cases especially for that lovely Christmas break then followed up by the ever more lovely dark ages. Its dark when they get up & dark when they go to bed with no rest in between. Plebe year is pretty nasty.

    The statistics can throw you if you read too much into them. All depends on the certain Midn & how much moxy they have to make it through. Tell them to stick it out no matter what & no they cannot come home. Works sometimes, sometimes not. They love to love/hate KP life. I know one thing, they have every right to be proud of what they are becoming so keep positive in every way as OSG. My advice is worth the free paid for it. :biggrin: I hope others will add to the conversation.
     
  3. Dave'sMom

    Dave'sMom Member

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    Ditto to Jamzmom. I have sent a care package every week since plebe year and limit my input to "I sure love those stars you are earning". That's the extent of my involvement in his education. He can and will do it. I can and will deal with the separation. He is my youngest and boy it's been hard. There is always lots of complaining and it's all part of the experience. NO, it's not always fair or make sense, but they are being prepared for life aboard ship and to be ready for anything. My son did fine (actually more than fine):thumb: in Calc and Physics. He said "Mom it's a joke". Now, I believe that as much as I believe "that prof fails everyone" and all kinds of other comments. Understand sometimes it comes from the group-think and the love/hate relationship that they have with KP. Believe me, KP is impacting the rest of their lives for the better. My husband is a grad and I know how much it means. As moms we just need to be the ones sending cookies and love.
     
  4. KPMum2012

    KPMum2012 Parent

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    Ah, the Dark Ages. There is an upside to having our daughter be at sea for the holidays the next 2 years. She will miss the Dark Ages! My sanity might survive this roller coaster after all.

    Be prepared for what appear to be completely irrational mood swings. I think it was Jamzmom who said that one minute you have your dear child on the phone and the next thing you know they have turned into the "spawn of satan.":eek: I know we went through a period of about 3 weeks where our daughter and I did not speak. Nothing I could say was right and she was just too stressed. She needed the space.

    Winter tri is rough because they hit the really tough classes. But the rhythm of the term is completely broken up. It drove DD nuts that every time they got back into the routine, they had another interruption - Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day, Inauguration. . . . . . You get the picture.

    So if I were to do it over again, I would never admit that I knew something before she told me.:redface: (I was accused of "stalking" her for following things on the boards.) Do NOT take anything say personally! If you suddenly find yourself talking to something out of a horror movie instead of your dear mid, just end the conversation calmly and hang up. Next time they call they may be on top of the world. They are on an even more extreme roller coaster than we are.

    As things get closer to recognition, they may actually get worse. But things do improve after recognition. That said, always be prepared to be supportive for their highs and lows. The personality swings don't go away. This year, our daughter was absolutely miserable and hated everything about KP for a while in September. It turns out she was sick for 3 weeks (annual plebe plague), while in fear failing differential equations and in the midst of Beat Retreat season in Band Co. By the beginning of October, she was cheerful, upbeat and looking forward to going to sea. I've found that when she gets nasty or negative, there is usually a reason that I just can't see.

    Remember how impressed you were when you saw your plebe at Parents Weekends? You won't recognize them after a full tri! OK, you will, but we actually had people over the summer standing right next our DD and asking me about how she was doing, not realizing that was her right there! This place turns out AMAZING young people.
     
  5. caroline

    caroline Member

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    When I was a plebe (back in the actual Dark Ages!!) a very wise 1st class man told me in mid-February that I just had "cabin fever". Maybe encourage your plebe to go for a walk, run, anything outside even though it will be bitter cold. It helped me get through the tough winter and hold out for Recognition.
     
  6. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Ditto pretty much everything said here by the others except one thing and then a couple of additional thoughts ...

    First though everyone's son and daughter is different as is what motivates them. I'm pretty comfortable in guessing in the case of most kids at KP though, they have pretty solid relationships with their folks, and as such you probably know how to push your kids buttons and vice sversa as well as what motivates, calms, and otherwise provides them constructive support. Apparently in jamzmon's case it was letting her child know they were supportive but it was indeed time to move on with life (e.g. "stick it out no matter what...") In our son's case he went to his first KP football game at age 4 when we lived on Long Island and by the time he was a Sophmore in HS didn't want to even talk about possibly going to KP because Dad pushed it too much, I backed off, he looked at it decided he probably did want to go and then decided to go. All the time after that, as well as presently, I ask if he wants to quit - he doesn't even when he's pissed, angry, etc - he's decided it's for him. When he's ranting the quickest way to get him to focus on exactly what's bothering him rather than the general "KPS" is for me to sa - "So you want to come home and transfer to a state school?" - Yes secretely I'd be crestfallen if he ever said yes but you know what now 1 1/2 years into it if he did there'd be a darn good reason. Not criticisizing anyone here just saying - when you are being nonjudgemental and supportive you probably know better than anyone else haw to do that with your kid.

    Additional thought 1, as been said here, always remember these "mood swings" which are normal for a hormonal male or female of this age are indeed likely greatly intensified by the fact that these kids are often tremendously over tired. However your child reacts to that, be aware and when they do suggest that unless they are likely to fail out because they need to study instead of sleep for the next couple of hours, that's probably the best possible use of their time. Yes I know they aren't suppossed to sleep, etc right now a lot of the time, that said, you'd be amazed at the places and measures Plebes go to to get some sleep at certain time pre-recognition. Once they rate that privlege they still occassionally can still benefit from this suggestion.

    Additional thought 2, as has already been mentioned there are times when nothing you say will be right, for me that's when the advised of offering general support - "We love you, what can we do to help" - followed by no real answer just more general bi&@#ing by DS, followed by as politely ending the call (often with the suggestion in his case: "you sound really negative like you and I can get when we are both over-tired, hope you can catch up on some sleep soon" - see item 1 about knowing your own child best.)

    It's also been pointed out before but often what really makes winter tri even harder (including the Calcs 2 and Physics "Plebe Killers") is all the interupptions and 3 and 4 day liberties and breaks. Keep that in mind when "scheduling" activities for when they do get a chance to come home and don't plan on breaks chock-a-block full of trips away from home, etc. Boring, family time where they see a few other friends home from "normal college" as well as catchup on sleep and spend some time studying, especially if they are struggling with anything academics-wise might well be a much better way to go - again just sayin'
     
  7. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    [
    Winter tri is rough because they hit the really tough classes. But the rhythm of the term is completely broken up. It drove DD nuts that every time they got back into the routine, they had another interruption - Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, MLK Day, Inauguration. . . . . . You get the picture.

    Also. because of the way KP schedules classes many of these kids will be seeing their old high school friends for the first time soon. As they compare their experiences the stark contrasts between these schools will become very apparent. Keep in mind. when our kids see the "wrong side" of 3 A.M. it isn't because they went to a frat party. They may be left feeling as though they are missing out on a lot of fun. That is because they are indeed missing out on a lot of fun and right now the rewards for this sacrifice are too distant to be appreciated. It doesn't help when they are going back to KP and their buddies still have a week (or more) of Christmas vacation left. Believe me that can be a long, quiet, ride to the airport. My DS is not usually one to complain but, wow! Be prepared, think about the pep talk you are going to give them. You must be the calm, rational one. You are the "eye of the storm"
     
  8. KPMarineopsdad

    KPMarineopsdad Member

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    Maybe this will help it comes from an older post by an Air Force Academy cadet

    U. S. Air Force Academy Cadet: Why We Come Back To The Academy

    By: Joseph R. Tomczak , Special To The Evening Bulletin



    Why, after spending two weeks with our family would we return to one of the most demanding lifestyles in the country? After listening to our 'friends' who are home from State or Ivy League schools chock full of wisdom about how our war in Iraq is unjust and unworldly, why would we return?



    Winter Break

    So after our sunburns have faded and the memories of our winter break have been reduced to pictures we've pinned on our desk boards, and once again we've exchanged t-shirts and swim suits for flight suits and camouflage, there still remains the question that every cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has asked themselves at some point: Why did we come back? Why, after spending two weeks with our family would we return to one of the most demanding lifestyles in the country? After listening to our 'friends' who are home from State or Ivy League schools chock full of wisdom about how our war in Iraq is unjust and unworldly, why would we return? And after watching the news and reading the papers which only seem to condemn the military's every mistake and shadow every victory, why would we continue to think it is worth the sacrifice of a normal college life?

    Is it because the institution to which we belong is tuition-free?

    Anyone who claims this has forgotten that we will, by the time we graduate, repay the U.S. taxpayer many times over in blood, sweat, and tears. Is it because the schooling we are receiving is one of the best undergraduate educations in the country? While the quality of the education is second to none, anyone who provides this as a main reason has lost sight of the awesome responsibility that awaits those who are tough enough to graduate and become commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force.

    I come back to the Academy because I want to have the training necessary so that one day I'll have the incredible responsibility of leading the sons and daughters of America in combat. These men and women will never ask about my Academy grade point average, their only concern will be that I have the ability to lead them expertly - I will be humbled to earn their respect.

    I come back to the Academy because I want to be the commander who saves lives by negotiating with Arab leaders... in their own language. I come back to the Academy because, if called upon, I want to be the pilot who flies half way around the world with three mid-air refuelings to send a bomb from 30,000 feet into a basement housing the enemy... through a ventilation shaft two feet wide. For becoming an officer in today's modern Air Force is so much more than just command; it is being a diplomat, a strategist, a communicator, a moral compass, but always a warrior first.

    I come back to the Air Force Academy because right now the United States is fighting a global war that is an 'away game' in Iraq - taking the fight to the terrorists. And whether or not we think the terrorists were in Iraq before our invasion, they are unquestionably there now. And if there is any doubt as to whether this is a global war, just ask the people in Amman, in London, in Madrid, in Casablanca, in Riyadh, and in Bali. This war must remain an away game because we have seen what happens when it becomes a home game... I come back to the Academy because I want to be a part of that fight. I come back to the Academy because I don't want my vacationing family to board a bus in Paris that gets blown away by someone who thinks that it would be a good idea to convert the Western world to Islam. I come back to the Academy because I don't want the woman I love to be the one who dials her last frantic cell phone call while huddled in the back of an airliner with a hundred other people seconds away from slamming into the Capitol building. I come back to the Academy because during my freshman year of high school I sat in a geometry class and watched nineteen terrorists change the course of history live on television. For the first time, every class currently at a U.S. Service Academy made the decision to join after the 2001 terror attacks. Some have said that the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan only created more terrorists... I say that the attacks of September 11th, 2001 created an untold more number of American soldiers; I go to school with 4,000 of them. - And that's worth missing more than a few frat parties.

    Joseph R. Tomczak
    Cadet Fourth Class,
    United States Air Force Academy

    http://www.zwire.com/site/printerFri...sid =16265573
     
  9. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Good points but...

    KPMarineOpsDad:

    Good points but I'd also add a couple of things - 1) parents are just as likely to find themselves looking for that "pep talk" during ackward silence by a mid with a forlorn look on the trip to the train station, airport, on the LIE on the way back after Thanksgiving vice in January, so it pays to be prepared sooner rather than later.

    While it certainly appears that many who frequent this board have sons/daughters or are individuals whose current intent is to pursue active duty military as an option post graduation, and for them Cadet Tomczak's sentiments may very well translate and be directly applicable, for the 70-90% of Kings Pointers who graduate and on any given year do not go active duty they will likely not be very applicable and could well come up very short.

    For those midshipmen, many of whom may have numerous other post Graduation options swirling in their mind, along with the fears, doubts and concerns that go along with such uncertainty, like my own DS did at times last year, I found what he responded to and what I think ultimately gave him solice from doubts, etc. was the original thing that made him want to go to KP was to be somewhere with a sense of purpose, esprit d'corps, and where people cared, wanted to make a difference and was bigger than just himself. Yes it's corny, but it is applicable and it is what Kings Point is and has always been. My son saw this before he came to KP as he is a "legacy", however, I assure you that all your own DS and DD have alreay started to see and experience that even this early in their Plebe year from their brief and limited interactions with Alumni, but also seeing their First Class fellow members of the Regiment and how they deal with and interact with each other, the underclass and what they talk about both "in the moment" and when looking forward to their p[ost graduation options and opportunities.

    Bringing this up, at least with my own DS, causes him to remind himself of the positives and even if because of some current situation or issue "Kings Point isn't a great/fun place to be." why he can remain confident that "Kings Point is a great place to be from."
     
  10. ParkerMom

    ParkerMom Member

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    Yes, indeed. I just hope I can summon up this memory during those cold, dark, windy days in January and February when there seems to be little positive to hang on to, Spring Break is too distant to seem real - compared to the very near and very clear pain of Calc2 and Physics, the cold, wet slush that seems to be never ending and the inevitable frustrations of working towards Recognition.

    I know we're not even through the first tri and the first finals week, but so far we've heard very few complaints - except about the food in Delano (and the plebes who aren't pulling their weight toward Recognition), and academically, he's sailing through with flying colors. I have to admit that I'm worried that his success in this tri might actually make it that much harder for him to take when he doesn't get all A's in the "plebe killer" courses of the second tri. I'm afraid that those first C's might be a nastier blow because of his earlier success.

    I think I better start working on my pep talk delivery now.
     
  11. caroline

    caroline Member

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    I got my first B's and C's at KP -- it wasn't easy to accept, especially when you're used to all A's . . . now I tell my 6th grader I wish she'd hurry up and get a B before college so it wouldn't be such a shocker!
     
  12. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I've been out 12 years now and I would say that "KP is a great place to be from" does not fully express the sentiment.

    I got my share of D's (and a few of my friends shares too); I crammed 4 years of KP into 6; I suffered through cabin fever, overly regimental classmates and teachers who should have retired decades earlier. And what did I get for my troubles? 180 new brothers and sisters, several jobs over the years through other alumni, a far better engineering education than I thought I was getting, and an engineering license that I can always go sail on. I saw half the world by the time I was 25, met my wife at a 100 nights party and have enough sea stories that make me laugh to fill volumes.

    I didn't appreciate it as much as I could have at the time, but get through it and get that ring. Everything else will fall into place.
     
  13. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    I don't know, sounds like he's doing and will continue to do just fine academically. That said every one of every Plebe Class at one point during that first year usually will some sort of challenge and sould searching so being ready to be a Mom or Dad and give that sort of unconditional support when that time comes, for whatever reason, is I believe always wise... Though if your DS is very strong in Science and Math the Academic Challenge might not come until he hits the higher level engineering courses if he is an Engineering Major or until he has a heavy workload in some course he find really boring and unchallenging if he's a deckie.

    Before anybody jumps at me for that last comment - this is coming from a deckie...
     
  14. 2013Parent

    2013Parent Member

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    What a great post. Thanks for sharing.

    One comment; I'd wager the class of 2013 will not have the option of cramming 4 years in to 6. That appears to be one of the significant changes. It will really be a waste if someone with your drive and ambition is not able to push through. Unless of course, all the infomation being spread around, about no second academic chances, is not accurate.
     
  15. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    I have heard some rumblings that a lot of people thought VADM Stewart was too liberal with the setbacks. Maybe, maybe not. How many of those setbacks went on to graduate vs. failing out at a later date? I was fortunate that in my particular situation it was failing one class twice as a senior and not having anymore time to make it up prior to graduation. I had someone in the Deans office really go to bat for me and I got the second chance I needed. I was setback after the Christmas break (we were on quarters then) but repeated the entire senior year. Having the ability to make my own schedule and carry a normal load was all the break I needed and my GPA went up about 0.3 by the time I graduated.

    The zero defect mentatlity doesn't work and that should apply to academics too.
     
  16. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    Heavy workload as a deckie ... Thats a good one. "Boring and unchallenging", isn't that the entire deckie curriculum?:yllol:

    Q - Why did the deckie cross the road?






    A -I don't know, but he got three credits for it.:wink:
     
  17. noworries

    noworries Banned

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    Ecclesiastes 9:11
     
  18. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    I'd submit my understanding is you are the exception not the rule in numerous cases..

    I'd submit you are the exception not the rule in several ways:
    1) My understanding is the changes to the setback policy back to more stringent guidelines that result in less setbacks is exactly because of data that indicates the majority of the expanded number of setbacks do not in fact graduate.
    2) The data also does, unfortuanately indicate the expansion of the number of academic setbacks does lower the overall academic levels and quality of a resulting graduating class. Think about it, if you factor in spaces in the upper class for more setbacks, that means you actually let in fewer appointees into the entering classes. Back in the day when I entered (Graduating Class of 1982, entering Class of 1982) we had entering Classes of ~300. Until the past two years that number had dwindled considerably, at least partly to afford more space on campus to accomodate setbacks - again back in the day each graduating class had ~10 +/- setbacks in it. All setbacks being the exception not the rule. Until recently thorugh the past 10+ years prior to Class of 2009 there have often been as many as 30+ setbacks in the graduating classes. To be sure there are some good reasons for some of the increase, like the increased number of sea days required for liscence, but in many cases it was exactly the change in philosophy you point to relative to ivesting in the students on already aboard rather then more Plebes and letting things sort themselves out over time. As I understand it the feeling now is that change did not really work and things are moving back towards starting with a larger entering class, holding them to higher standards across the board, and of course having a higher attrition rate.
    3) Your story, like most successful setbacks is by itself an exception vs the rule, that's why I'd suggest that just about every, if not all setbacks, have folks on staff go to bat for them. Also you point out that you repeated your entire first Class Year - as was the policy with setbacks at the time. This in general has not been the case in recent years, my understanding is setbacks leave Campus and return at the start of the Trimester they need to start repeating - I understand this is suppossedly for fiscal reasons. I submit that the way you did it and was done when i attended is far better. First, you could have easily resigned and finished College at a "normal school" much easier and faster - probably while working for a Company making a little coin and who paid for your last senior year of college after transfering there from KP - the fact you choose instead to return for your entire 1st Class Year demonstrated your commitment to finish and drive to complete what you started despite having other options as a young man. Making setbacks repeat the entire year has many positive effects as I see it - I'd also bet that you don't consider yourself a member of the Class you started with but rather a member of the Class you graduated with though for sure you have many friends and collegues who respect, like you and regard you a close friend in the two prior graduating classes and vice versa - am I correct? That is apparently something that had changed with the increased number of setbacks as well making the whole idea of getting/being a setback less of an exception, and I'd submit also lowering the overall standards in a much more subtle fashion.

    Your story is inspiring to those who are struggling and I, as well as I think others, congratulate you on reaching what was then your intermediate life goal of graduating KP - I sense you've accomplished much since then and I wouldn't want to give that short shrift. However, whether or not there's ever another setback or not at Kings Point, i don't think that is or would be an indication that a "Zero Defect Mentality" had been adopted, since as you know there are numerous steps that indicate and understand "nobody's perfect" before any midshipman is disenrolled involuntarily for any reason - Academic or otherwise.

    Acta Non Verba :thumb:
     
  19. noworries

    noworries Banned

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    does anyone think that dunbar's number might be a factor or goal in the size of each graduating class?
     
  20. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    JasperDog ...

    I have no idea where on the rule/exception spectrum I fall, and did not mean to put myself in either category. I have no idea of the numbers of how many setbacks end up graduating or getting disenrolled. I only know that some people think we should get rid of setbacks entirely. That, I think would be a mistake.

    I consider myself a part of three classes, 95 96 and 97. Back when I was in, you got your class ring as a 3/C so I have a 95 class ring. Some of my most formative experiences were with 96 and of course graduation was with 97.

    I had to repeat the whole year because of the particular class I failed twice. Marine Engineering 1 was a first quarter class, so there was no other option but for me to repeat the whole year. It turned out to be the best for me in more ways than academic. By the second semester, I had to take on extra classes just to maintain the minimum number of credits. I was done with classes by lunch everyday so I got to experience some "normal" life and actually began the transition back to the rest of the world six months early.

    I only had one academic setback btw ... the first was medical. That was probably what kept me in in the end.
     

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