Greatest Challenge at Academy

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Hopeful MDN, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Hopeful MDN

    Hopeful MDN Member

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    What do you think is the greatest challenge or biggest adjustment that plebes have to make when they get to the Academy? I've heard plebe summer over and over again, but obviously that's a big adjustment.
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    That the universe no longer revolves around you.

    In terms of more practical issues, two things. First, the fact that you will fail. Repeatedly. Second, today, probably loss of technology (email, TV, IPods, cellphones, videogames). Not a big deal in my day but more important to today's generation I think.
     
  3. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    VERY well said!

    And dead on accurate.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  4. BlessedX4

    BlessedX4 Member

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    For some I think the hardest is getting yelled at all the time...:frown:
     
  5. NYCUSNA2012

    NYCUSNA2012 Member

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    Mine was having to take lip from people who were only in charge of me because they were three years older then me, I have no problem with authority, just with those who IMO abuse it.

    But I've gotten better, lol
     
  6. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    A lot of people have a hard time getting over the fact that they don't live at home anymore. Once you move into the Hall you most likely will never live at home again for more then a few weeks at a time. Some have a hard time growing up and figuring things out for themselves (taxes, credit cards, buying plane tickets, etc). Time to be an adult. Other than that, the Academy is a big test of seeing how much BS you're willing to put up with in order to get your BS, and your commission.
     
  7. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    The greatest challenge might be for the parents to "let go!" I gathered from the parent briefing today that some have a difficult time doing just that.
     
  8. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    I would have to say "time management/prioritizing"

    I was amazed at the amount of knowledge (most of it useless) I memorized over plebe summer, but for some reason is forever engraved in my memory. The hard part was trying to figure out WHAT to learn first, how to best utilize "free" time. You are required to know so much that it's impossible to KNOW everything. Plebe summer was the easy part b/c then our job was simple: read our Reef Points, know our 3 menu meals for the day, and other required rates. Then, once academice year started a whole new set of problems was thrown at you. More names to memorize, all the team captains and co-captains of the varsity teams, the Football teams schedule (then there is knowing what the spread is for the game that week), plebe pro-knowledge, still have to know the stuff you learned (or are still trying to learn) from plebe summer, you're in a sport, you have manditory parade practices every wed (unless on a varsity team), and a formal parade practically every friday, wednesdays are usually your longest days b/c of a manditory Forrestal lecture, oh that's right AND you are taking college course on top of all this!!

    So, as most of us USNA folks are (hard charges, top x % of our high school class, etc.) we find ourselves in this position where we finally can't do it all. Now there are a select few that can, but most us learn a delicate balance act of what things aren't so important and also to be able to take the "hit" for it when it we have to let something slide b/c something more important had precidence. I think that was the hardest part of being a plebe. When you are constantly being "yelled" at you tend to think EVERYTHING is important but really it's about teaching you how to prioritize things. I had to take the hit many times as a plebe during academic year when it came to "plebe" knowledge b/c I was getting my butt handed to me in chemistry. "Plebe/Pro-knowledge" isn't going to get you booted out but academics is - so when I needed to I focused my efforts on academics rather than my "pro-knowledge"
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    ^^^^

    Well said. The ability to prioritize is probably the greatest skill you will learn. Trust me, it will help you the rest of your life. I would say that 99% of the stuff you're asked to do at USNA will, at some point, be of use to you. Even chow calls.:smile: Especially chow calls.:biggrin:

    This also REALLY helps you later in life when your boss or client or customer starts yelling or getting angry. I often say that those folks are still holding the beepers (you know, those things they give you in restaurants to hold until your table is called) in terms of getting in line to upset me.

    What I'm trying to say is that, after having 10 people standing 2 inches from your face screaming and yelling at you, that sort of thing will no longer faze you. Instead, you will be moved by those who calmly express their disappointment at times you know you haven't done your best.
     
  10. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    USNA02,

    Dead on.

    I am not sure what community you belong to, but I know being a SWO on a CG/DDG, you have to juggle 1000 things at once. It will be impossible to do everything. You have to be able to prioritize, delegate (but follow-up), and keep your Dept. Head/XO aware of what is going on -- what can get accomplished and what can't right then.

    I also think that the "can get it done" mentality is something hard to pickup. In other words, you have to exhaust every resource and person to accomplish what you think might not be able to get done. It is your responsibility to figure out how to get something accomplished and if you can't, for some good reason, you must have a plan how to. The "I can't get it done" attitude is not acceptable.
     
  11. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Do the SWO really eat their young?
     
  12. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    ^^^

    Yes, they do - which is why I left the SWO community and lat transferred into the IW community :) (after I got my pin of course)
     
  13. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Haha, nice. So they got theirs and then you got yours. They always come first. At least we get the best of them, sometimes.
     
  14. Just a Dad

    Just a Dad New Member

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    Leaving the old friends behind and realizing you have chosen a much different direction - and then just being able to live up to that fact.
     
  15. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Keeping your eye on the ball. In other words, it is far too easy to develop, either through dedication or laziness, a case of tunnel vision that prevents you from realizing that you are derailing your overall plan.

    For example, it's great to be involved in a sport you love, but don't let it drag your grades down or you will be very sorry come Service Selection Night. The same goes for dreaming about being a SEAL rather than working out like a maniac and studying like crazy to ensure you have the ability to select SEAL in the first place.

    Some guys never get that far. I saw way too many devoted athletes be shown the door because of academics, and too many geeks because of physical requirements.

    Stay balanced, stay focused, and remember that it only gets HARDER after Plebe Year because you no longer have a bunch of howling morons running your life for you as much. Self-discipline is key.

    Ask me how I know all this..... :frown:
     
  16. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    I'm taking the bait, Zaphod.....just how do you know all this?
     
  17. HuskiesMama

    HuskiesMama Member

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    Zaphod--where ya been? Missed ya around here!
     
  18. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I'll let Z speak for himself but, in general, a lot of grads look back on their time at USNA and realize that they didn't work as hard as they thought they were working at the time. Whether it's academics, or athletics, or something else, we realize that if we had REALLY worked our tails off -- or just worked a bit harder -- we would have done better.

    And that, in turn, might have allowed us more/different opportunities (e.g., being a "striper," getting to do certain neat programs like foreign exchange summer cruise or being an exchange mid at USMA/USAFA, etc.). And working harder might have improved our class rank, which would have allowed us to select a different warfare specialty or be assigned to a "better" ship, etc.

    The former things (opportunities while at USNA) are somewhat fleeting and generally don't make a huge difference in your life. Not getting the service selection you want definitely affects your career and your life.
     
  19. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    As always, usna1985 hits the nail on the head.

    Jenny, to answer your question specifically, I went into USNA wanting to be an aviator. My eyesight wasn't good enough for pilot, so I set my goals on NFO....... right up to my Youngster Cruise.

    That summer, I selected an SSBN cruise and spent ten weeks deployed on a deterrent patrol. When I got off the boat, I was gung-ho nuclear-sub. Aviation went by the wayside and never crossed my mind again. Nuclear power and submarines was all I could think of.

    I was also heavy into scuba diving, being involved in the Scuba Club.

    Well, I was so busy daydreaming about submarines and dealing with scuba that my grades went into the crapper. The result? My application to Nuclear Power School was rejected.

    No NPS, no subs. I ended up going SWO, where all the detritus ends up; all those who, like me, couldn't do their first choices due to grades or eyesight or some other thing. Eyesight can't be helped, but grades CAN.

    Keep your eye on the ball, or like me you will still find your eyes misting up a bit whenever the History Channel or Military Channel or Discovery run a program on your desired service selection that never was. It's been 18 years since I got the bad news, and I still can't watch "Crimson Tide" without having to step away at least once to reflect on what I lost due to my own stupidity.

    Don't follow in my tracks. It's not a fun road. :frown:
     
  20. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Oh, up and around. Work, kids, honeymoon, paying bills, the usual. :redface:
     

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