I Day Woes

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usmahopefulnc, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. usmahopefulnc

    usmahopefulnc Member

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    After a long, incredible journey, it's really almost here. Im not gonna lie, Im terrified. I am sad about leaving my family and my hometown. Im wondering if this will be worth it. I would appreciate any words of advice...
     
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  2. Blondie1

    Blondie1 Member

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    Our son ('18) tried to hide his fears and uncertainties from us. We noticed tearing up at the airport. Now he willing admits he was TERRIFIED! He was worried he wasn't tough, enough, smart enough, or strong enough. He told us there were times he cried in his rack he was so uncertain about his choice. He signs his 2 for 7 this year and has absolutely no doubt he is where he's supposed to be and doing exactly what he wants to be doing. It isn't for everyone, and there's no shame in realizing it isn't right for you. We told our son we supported him no matter what, but we expected him to at least finish the entire plebe year if he started questioning his choice. Plebe year sucks! Embrace and accept the suck. Youngster year is so much better--at least according to our son.

    Good luck and I wish you well.
     
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  3. midmom19

    midmom19 Member

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    Not really advice but think you might benefit from my son's experience so far...he is in class of 2019 and was having very similar feels just a year ago. After Christmas break he "accidentally" said to a friend when asked about when he would be returning to the academy "I'm going HOME in 2 days" I overheard it and at first my heart hurt because I thought he was home but then got over myself and realized how reassuring that was to hear him say. He just left to return to Annapolis to do his surface cruise. He texted me when he landed and added that he could see the academy from the air and the sight of it made him smile
     
  4. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

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    I am sure more than half the Plebes starting Thursday feel the same way...that is about 600+ of them, you are not alone, those kids will be your best friends for life:) You will love it!
     
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  5. Dadof2

    Dadof2 Member

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    I think what you are feeling is pretty normal. Remember that a lot of young men and women your age have the same feelings when it's time to go to a regular college. It's a big step and the first time on your own. On top of that you know that you have chosen a difficult, though potentially very rewarding, path.

    My DD was terrified just before I Day. She was sure she had made the wrong choice. Similar to the post from Blondie1, we told her to finish Plebe summer and at least the first semester and if she still felt she was in the wrong place we would support her in going to a regular college. She was so sure during the application process that this is what she wanted we had a strong feeling it was nerves and fear and felt she needed to try or she may regret not trying later in her life. She said the first couple of days of Plebe summer she still felt like she had made a mistake, but started realizing she could do it and with some successes the doubt and fear subsided. She made it through Plebe summer and Plebe year and is thriving. Today she is able to look back at Plebe year as something she endured and succeeded in and she feels great about it (although she never would want to repeat it). She says she knows she is where she should be and couldn't imagine being anywhere else.

    My advice is take it one day at a time and don't think too far in the future right now. Think positive - you can do it. Negative thoughts will only get in your way. You may not be used to failing at anything, but don't worry - everyone there will fail at something. It's part of the deal. You worked hard to get where you are and owe it to yourself to try. Remember USNA knows what they are doing and they chose you for a reason. After trying and truly giving it your all, if you feel it is not for you there is no shame in saying so and moving on to something else. But you will be making an educated decision once you've tried it instead of a decision based on fear.

    Good luck to you.
     
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  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    These feelings are absolutely normal, and you will learn to manage them. I got them before big job changes, before going to commanding officer positions, before heading off to OCS. Once I realized it was part of the normal cycle, I remembered to breathe and coach myself through the stress.

    You will be so busy and tired in a few days, you won't have time to think about it. Thousands and thousands of people just like you jump in and get through this. USNA thinks you have everything it takes to succeed, so just decide you will.

    Remember when you were little and wanted to be a grown-up, drive, do all the fun stuff adults get to do? You're an adult now, and along with the fun stuff comes the not-so-fun.

    My favorite de-stress quote is below. VADM James Stockdale, USN (Ret), USNA grad and former Vietnam POW, used the writings of Epictetus and the tenets of Stoicism to get through years of torture and captivity.

    "There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will."
    Epictetus

    And, worth reading:
    http://www.usna.edu/Ethics/_files/documents/Stoicism2.pdf

    You can get through Plebe Summer and everything else. Take it a day at a time, or an hour, if that's what it takes to manage yourself through tough times.

    Edit: And go eat donuts with the chaplains on Sunday morning!
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  7. PlanAhead

    PlanAhead Member

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    FWIW, I spoke recently with an incoming plebe who said he fluctuated between feeling incredibly excited and incredibly terrified. I think you're in good company.

    And I think you'll have the most exhilarating time of your life! Be strong and face your future. It's going to be amazing!
     
  8. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    I will tell you what, I was TERRIFIED too. I was so terrified that my stomach was a knot from I-day minus 1 when I flew to BWI, through July 4. I remember this because we got a popsicle on the 4th, and I was finally loose enough to enjoy it!

    It's okay, like everyone else said, to be terrified. It's okay that you've never done anything so important and that you've worked so hard for, that it feels like this. We all had a first time, and you will too (even if it weren't about this, you'd have a first time!). Courage really is doing important things despite your fears and reservations. The big secret about adulting is, these things never go away completely. Never, ever. You just get better at managing your internal conversations that say things like "I don't wanna after all" and "I'm not good/strong/smart/fast enough." (Or, you don't get better at those things.) You learn to tell your inner voice to shut up and color. (That's my little personal mantra - you'll have yours!)

    So, which kind of person do you want to be?? -- Yeah, I thought so! Now go get 'em!
     
  9. Joedoe

    Joedoe Member

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    I remember thinking on IDay, 2014 that I must be a serious idiot for signing up for this. It's a hot, loud chaotic day that never seems to end. It kind of gets a little worse before it gets better but after the first week most manage to get into the groove. I can actually say there were aspects of it that were fun. Just surrender to the process and get to know your shipmates. You'll get each other through it.
     
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  10. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO Member

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    Just remember, many , many young men and women have gone before you,.with the same thoughts . USNA Admissions has deemed you qualified to be there, and you are ! Recent classes are, at least on paper, the most highly qualified Midshipman ever --or so the Supe says. No it becomes a game -- you have to have the mental toughness and desire to succeed and you will do fine.
     
  11. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I can still remember leaving my house the day before I Day internally freaking out and wondering if I could make it. As long as you have the resolve that you won't quit, you will be fine. You wouldn't have an appointment if you didn't have what it takes. Everyone in. Line on I Day is scared to a certain degree. And guess what? Your Detailers are sitting back at Bancrft running around right now thinking if they have what it takes to train you? They are nervous about doing the job right! The first few days will feel like a fog, that is ok. So is everyone else! Slowly you will figure it out and start to do things right. Day by day it will get better. On the bad days you will take it meal by meal. You learn to look forward to Sunday and each major event. That is how the summer is broken out in Plebe's minds. You are fine. Hang in there, deep breathes! You got this.
     
  12. MIHOSER

    MIHOSER Member

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    My S is a 2014 grad, so his I Day was in 2010.

    When asked about Plebe Summer now, he will say it was as if he was attending a really bizarre summer camp with very strange rules, but that if you went with the flow, instead of trying to fight it at every turn, it passed by without too many bumps.
     
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  13. coachkarl

    coachkarl Member

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    Our son was anxious before I Day and when we saw him after the Oath of Office, he was near tears and clearly shell shocked. Which, quite frankly, is what the Academy wants. It's all about breaking them down and building them back up.

    We talked to several firsties afterward and, to a person, they said practically the same thing - I Day sucked. Most of Plebe Summer sucked. Now it's awesome. It's all about paying dues and mental toughness. One firstie said his only memory of I Day was falling asleep during the Oath of Office ceremony!
     
  14. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Oh yeah most are beyond shell shocked and the real fun hadn't even started yet. Previous to the swearing in it is very hurried and loud talking, but the screaming and PT hadn't started yet. That happens when they return. I remember walking the halls as a detailer the first night hearing the a lot of the new kids crying themselves to sleep. The good news is they snap out of it quickly. Tomorrow is Sunday they get their first break and time to take a breath. That helps a lot. Monday they will get fireworks and a BBQ. They will get to know one another over those two days and that really helps. They realize they are all feeling the same things aren't alone in this. It's sort why all of us old guys always tell the appointees on this forum to not worry about all the stuff. You can prep all you want and I recommend to go in great shape, but you can't prep for the shell shock, stress and totally different planet it is.

    Oh and those confident firsties and new officers you saw at I Day... They were in the same place 3-4 years ago. Before you know it that will be your kid and they will laughing about their I Day!

    Most people don't remember I Day. I do remember a good chunk of it. Unlike they do today, we didn't form up and march back in. We entered Mother B and tried to get back to company area. For those who haven't been in Bancroft yet, it all looks the same. None of us knew how to get back your rooms, so they kept screaming at us while we did loads of push ups and asked what company were we. Then we would get up and run the direction they pointed us and it would be repeated every 25 yards or so until we made it back!
     
  15. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    Mine had a smirk on his face when we saw him after the oath. Not sure what to make of that, but my guess is that it's a different manifestation of the same emotion. If not, I'm sure the smirk is long gone by now.
     
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  16. Blessedmom

    Blessedmom Member

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    DS also had a smirk after Oath Ceremony, he ate a whole sandwich & 2 slices of pizza. He said it wasn't as bad as he had thought...saying West Point Summer Seminar was much more brutal. Maybe Navy guys are nicer than Army:wiggle: let's see what he thinks after a few days:eek:
     
  17. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Hahaha! The part they don't know is it hadn't really started yet! Until they swear in, it's just quick movements and loud talking. The PT and yelling hadn't started yet! When they head back in is when they realize it's started. My best friend who was my sponsor brother and I were reminiscing about I Day this morning. We both seem to remember a lot of it and both laughed about how lost we were on Bancroft the first few days. What do you mean the 2nd deck is really the 3rd floor in one wing and really the 4th floor in another??????
     
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  18. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    And wait - all buildings are Halls, but not all Halls are Buildings?! (one of the things that stumped me as a non-grad my first week on Dant's staff).

    I remember strolling the Yard with the dogs in the evening, rounding Bancroft Hall and hearing the yelling (both sides) drifting out the open windows (no AC), a sure sign of July in Annapolis. That's when we lived in quarters on Worden Field.

    Have had some funny texts from detailer sponsor sons and daughters... leadership lab in full swing.
     
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  19. THS

    THS Member

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    Parents of the Plebes of the c/o 2020, you may experience your own "I Day woes." From my experience last year, once those Bancroft Hall bronze doors slammed shut on the class of 2019, my immediate thought was, "Oh-oh, what did DS just get himself in to?" followed by a myriad other crazy thoughts. But don't worry - You Got This Too! I trolled this forum for information (and consolation) - as well as the USNA websites and our local parent club. PS will be over in 6 weeks and at PPW you'll see your DD/DS for the first time in their summer whites! I promise, it is worth the wait!
     
  20. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    For parents, detailers watch plebes very carefully for signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration, injury, too much stress, making sure they eat, etc. If a plebe needs medical attention, they get it, either at the Yard medical clinic, or at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Chaplains are roaming around, doing their magic chaplain thing, showing up to work out or making the rounds in the Hall at night, offering a cheerful word. Officers and senior enlisted work long days, ensuring detailers have the guidance they need, because this is a learning experience for them, having actual 24/7 responsibility for junior personnel. It is exhausting and stressful for them. The transformation between now and PPW will be near-magical. The bonds the plebes are building now, when they are all in the same sweaty, nasty, crazy boat, will last a lifetime, whether they do 5 years or 25 - one of the major benefits of an SA. They are building a foundation of confidence and professional competence.
     

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