I-day Experiences

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Big Bad Wolf, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. Big Bad Wolf

    Big Bad Wolf Member

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    just wondering if any former or current mid would like to share their own induction day experience such as what emotions they felt, anything significant/funny that occurred just so I know what to expect!
     
  2. ahs67

    ahs67 Member

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    Wow. Can't believe it was a year ago already. My class of 2018 son has said it was the worst day of his life, followed by the worst week of his life. It quickly improved for him after the initial shock and confusion. My impression was there was a lot of "stations" the plebes were being processed through on IDay-like suddenly they were gulping from a firehose. Lots of yelling, haircuts, bloodwork, wearing those stiff white uniforms, heat, dragging around heavy bags, more confusion. Once he had a better understanding of what to expect and got to know his shipmates, he actually started to enjoy plebe summer. His advice was to stay hydrated and go with the flow. Remember there is a purpose to everything. Your detailers have a job to do and this experience is equally valuable to them. Whatever you have that got you into USNA, will get you through Plebe summer.
     
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  3. Shawn

    Shawn Member

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    You will be issued tons of clothes in what will become a very, very heavy bag. You'll get your haircut. You'll lose a good 6ish vials of blood. You'll get a donut because you lost 6ish vials of blood. You will be yelled at because you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing... even though you don't know what your supposed to be doing at that point. Urinalysis. You'll start unpacking your room. You'll get to see your parents at the end. After you march back into bancroft, you'll go straight to dinner. You will be confused. You'll go back up and your detailers will introduce themselves... and yell at you some more. And you won't remember most of it three years later.

    Honestly, it goes by fast. Just take it as it comes, you can't really prepare for it.
     
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  4. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    After 20-some years, my memories of the day have faded, until I have just particular snapshots or moments. But I'll never forget it. I don't remember the particulars of the order of paperwork, clothing issue, shots & bloodwork or going to Mother B or eating lunch although I remember most of that happening. I do have particular flashes.

    Walking by the area where the men were getting their heads shaved and thinking it looked a lot like the shearing at the Iowa State Fair 4-H competition, except there was no bleating (really, I thought that). It was fast and efficient and there was a TON of hair (it was the late 80s!).

    Putting on whiteworks for the first time. They were stiff and huge. I felt like my skin wasn't mine, like I didn't belong in it. Whiteworks have a very distinct smell, or at least they did at the time (I think it's formaldehyde). To this day, when I walk through a department store sometimes, or I open a new pack of sheets and get a faint whiff of that smell, it sends me crashing back to I-day.

    Putting on the issued shoes. I forget what they were, but they were heavy and stiff and did NOT make me want to "go faster."

    How prickly my skin felt in the sun, which seemed searingly bright. And I was a farm-ish kid from Iowa who detasseled and swung bales in summers to earn money, so I was not unfamiliar with prickly sweat.

    Hurrying, but not running, everywhere. Trying to eat my hoagie at lunch when my stomach was in a giant vise grip of knots.

    Noise. Noise ever-present. Not just yelling, although that was a large part of it. Footsteps running, the swish of whiteworks as we marched and hurried but did not run, other companies and platoons yelling "SIR YES SIR!" from across the courtyard, detailers yelling and instructing everywhere, our detailer telling us how to plebe our covers - it all just flooded me, I couldn't filter anything.

    When I took my UA, the detailer was outside the door pounding on it yelling "HURRY UP!" That didn't help.

    Having fourteen thumbs when it came to folding a seeming mountain of blue rims (T-shirts), socks (with stripes at the tops) and underwear and wondering when the hell I was going to use it all. Heh.

    I felt simultaneously conspicuous and vulnerable, but also very, very lonely and cut off. I didn't know anyone. My roommate seemed like an alien (turned out to be a BF, of course). Not fitting in my own skin, being acutely aware of how different I thought I was from everyone else there, but I felt like I was in a bottle, trying to listen to people talking to me through glass and not understanding. Feeling two steps behind, not comprehending the clearest of directions. Not knowing where to focus or on whom.

    I don't remember my swearing-in at all, not even a smidgen. I don't remember where it was, or whether the Blue Angels flew over, or afterward.

    Before I fell asleep that night I remember that I cried, like so many people say. For me it wasn't stress, it was release from that stress, and relief at finally being there.
     
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  5. socalmomof3

    socalmomof3 Member

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    Wow.
    Thank you so much for these responses. You are giving me a picture of what my DS will soon be going through. I feel like I will be better able to understand. Thanks.
     
  6. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    DS entered uncertain and concerned. The days before were tense. After the swearing in he was energized and excited. His confidence was returning. He told us he was ready and able. A year later he has no doubts he is where he belongs. He does sometimes wonder what it would be like at a traditional college.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I went to I Day by myself. I had my sponsors ahead of time and was lucky to have dinner with my new sponsor brother, his family and my sponsors the night before. That definitely helped my nerves. To be honest, not having my family there made it less stressful for me. My good byes were all done and over with.

    I remember standing in line with my sponsors nervous, anxious, excited, terrified, but ready to get it going too. I thought I would be in line a long time, but since females have separate stations for alot of the clothing and stuff, they grabbed me out of line early and I walked through the Alumni Hall doors very quickly. First you will get your name tag and check in. These are usually brand new ensigns. To be honest you will deal with more civilians and staff than detailers during the early part of Alumni Hall. You will go through a million stations: name tags, paperwork, measurements (you will carry around a big checklist with you all day), fittings for a million items, haircuts, medical, more fittings, and then finally you change in the locker rooms into your white works with PT gear underneath better known at White Works Alpha. You will lug that big white laundry bag around all day. They will ensure your stuff fits and then exchange it if it doesn't. Your white works will be way too long, really stiff and smell. Don't worry they take you to get them tailored a few days later and they soften up in the wash. This is really where you will start to see detailers at this point. They will give you some speeches, work on standing at attention, saluting, basic responses, etc. They will generally be very stern, loud, but not yelling (some will) at this point. You will then get on the bus and head to Bancroft. Once you get to Bancroft, you will get your bag, your civilian bag and then be handed off to your company detailers who will very nicely show you to your new room (hope you hear that sarcasm). You will get to your room and more stuff will be there. Usually NAPsters and priors are running around helping you learn to make a bed, fold clothes and get your room together. I remember we also had to write a post card with our mailing address and what time our first call would be. My parents kept the postcard for me and I still have it. Looks like a 3rd grader wrote it my hand writing was so bad. If you process in early enough you will get lunch, it seems to be turkey sandwiches every year. If you do get lunch, eat it! Also make sure to eat a good breakfast that morning and start hydrating now.

    Most of your day will spent in a fog, wondering what is going on, and trying to get your room ready to go. We had to watch a short video and got a speech from our company officer about the Oath of Office. Not sure if they still do this. But it was done by the company officer with no detailers to ensure we understood the oath, what it entails and any concerns we had. Finally we walked out and sat in chairs and did the Oath of Office ceremony. I remember it being blinding with all the white in the sun, hot and actually pretty boring. After that we had some time with families and then we had to find our way back to our companies. This is different now as Plebes do the march back with dramatic door closure and head directly to meal. Previously we had find our way back to our company area which took forever as at that point we had no idea how to get back to our rooms and we just got screamed at every 4 feet and dropped for push ups or other PT. I remember just being yelled at a ton, with tons of push ups and constantly being asked what company I was in and pointed in a direction to get there. Plebes were lost everywhere! Plebe Summer is a little different now as they have quarterdeck PT (unless they changed it back) so PT can usually only be done in certain areas and for certain amounts of time. Once the Oath was done is when all heck broke loose on us as we were now Midshipmen.

    I actually fell asleep pretty early that night, but I do remember laying in bed wondering the heck I had gotten myself into. From there the summer is long, hot and crazy. You will find your groove though and learn how to deal make it to the next meal, the next Sunday, the next major event. The days are extremely long, but PS as a whole goes by fast. If you got in to USNA, you can make it through there. Remember you will have good and bad days. I did detail and trust me the detailers know how to get into every person's head and will make a point of it. PS isn't to make you an officer, its to make you a 4/C Midshipmen who can function in the Brigade. The 4 years there are to develop an officer.
     
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  8. TheSavage44

    TheSavage44 Member

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    Being an only child, it was pretty rough getting used to the thought of living away from home. I-day, for me, was a very unique yet memorable experience (as well as the rest of my 4 years at USNA) and I can still remember it as if it happened yesterday. One of the hardest things was seeing my mother hold back her tears. I knew I had her support but I could tell she was nervous as hell. All I wanted to do was assure that I would be okay, but even I wasn't 100% sure. Needless to say, I was somewhat used to the yelling (my father being a retired Surface Warfare Officer and hot blooded Italian) and was pretty adaptable to the quick pace of the day and in the end, once I started frantically unpacking the boxes I found and met my roommates, I knew I was going to be fine. Worry not, your son/daughter WILL BE FINE and these 4 years will fly by. I still find it hard to believe that my I-day was six years ago.

    TheSavage
    USNA '13
    NFO
     
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  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I'm both the same as and the opposite of Savage. I'm the same in that I'm sure my mother was holding back the tears, that I had my parents' support, that my dad (a USAF officer) was sort-of sure this was right for me and trying to be supporting, etc. And I also wanted to assure my parents I was ok and wasn't at all sure that I was. And agree that once you get settled (takes 1-2 days), it all seems MUCH better.

    I'm the opposite in that I don't remember 95% of it. I have vague snapshots in my mind of a few moments -- walking into Halsey (where I-Day started in my day) and being generally thankful to see my nametag, learning to do an about face in a skirt (women tended to show up in skirts in my day), walking into my room with a HUGE bag of stuff, etc. It's only by looking at pictures does some of it come back. Of course, for me I-Day was a LONG time ago.

    For most plebes, it's very real and very intense in the moment but, over the course of your four years and your future life, that moment fades quickly. You'd think it would be indelibly sealed in your memory but, as noted, for most who went through it, it's not.
     
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  10. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I actually have worked I Day many times since I went through it. My buddy is a vendor and works closely with USNA and needs extra hands to help issue stuff. It is a blast. To be honest from the time I went through I Day, to working it as a detailer and even now... Not much has changed. It is probably 98% the same as I sent through.
     
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  11. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Now that I think about it, I have absolutely no memory of what happened after we marched into Bancroft.

    Try as I might, zero recollection. I assume we had dinner, but we couldn't have just gone to sleep afterwards.
     
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  12. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I am pretty sure it was the coveted 'company officer' time spent unpacking with lots of push ups, flutter kicks and yelling!
     

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