I'm a Cow at USMA, AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by TPIAD, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    Hello all,

    I'm a cow at West Point right now. As expected, I'm spending this lovely Friday night in my room prepping my gear for some training in the morning. I ran across these forums and since it's been a number of years since I applied I'd figure I could answer some questions. I remember how stressed I was to come, and now, having been here for years, I've seen behind the curtain. Ask me anything, any topic, and I'll be happy to answer.

    A little about me:
    Mechanical Engineering Major
    Direct Admit
    Stats: 2100 SAT, 30% in HS class, Eagle Scout, and Varsity FB Player (O Line)
    I was not in class leadership or NHS
     
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  2. Zandercott

    Zandercott USAFA

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    Did you ever consider the USNA and if so, why did you choose USMA?
     
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  3. enlisted2020

    enlisted2020 New Member

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    Hahaha that would be the first question someone would ask :D
     
  4. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    I actually did consider USNA. I had done Sea Cadets for a very, very brief time. It came down to a coin toss, I got accepted into USMA's SLS first before Navy responded and after exposure I liked it more. I still applied, but didn't put much effort it in. Once I had my nomination to USMA, I stopped working on my Navy application. Looking back, I probably still would've chose USMA. Navy has better options if you want to fly (like I do) but I have no interest in ships. To be completely honest, if I could go back I probably would have applied to USAFA. USNA (and USAFA) will have a better quality of life. Your plebe year at USMA would be easier than the other two, at least lately. But, an easier plebe year means an overall harder 4 years. Mids and Zoomies have life better than us. That said, these dynamics change so rapidly it could be different. I know when I was a plebe life at USMA was really easy (for an Academy) and only as of late have they brought back Saturday trainings and cracked down on discipline.
     
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  5. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    I read Yik Yak. How could I have any unanswered questions?
     
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  6. FloridaToUSMA2021

    FloridaToUSMA2021 Member

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    How's the food?
     
  7. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    Haha yes Yik Yik will tell you a lot about the Academy, more than you might like to know. I use the app regularly and it can be extremely cynical. It can also be a source of easy entertainment. There's nothing wrong with that, it's often our only means of actually expressing our opinions but some take it a bit (or way) too far.
     
  8. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    I'll be completely honest, it's pretty bad. Our actual allotment for rations (how much USMA spends) is only a bit over $12. Some meals are good, some will be awful. There have been a number of times where I passed over a meal because the quality was low. Breakfast is usually the best, followed by dinner, and lunch is usually the meal that I enjoy the least. It's hit or miss really. The best meals are the formal ones, they prepare those much better.

    Also, if you're coming to USMA, I hope you love turkey :biglaugh:
     
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  9. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    How was your "gender relations" brief and survey?
     
  10. FloridaToUSMA2021

    FloridaToUSMA2021 Member

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    As long as the food's all you can eat, I'm set!
     
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  11. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    I opted out and left immediately. While I certainly think there is room for improvement, after two tests, a full day of class, and a mandatory brief beforehand I had been busy with something from 7 to at that point 730pm. I hadn't either, neither had my friend, and we both promptly left. In my humble opinion, it was timed poorly. All of 1st reg was released from a brief at 1800 the earliest, some stayed to watch a basketball tournament hosted by the reg which lasted until 1900. Many of us were going from one event to the other and I know for me at least, I was and am tired out of my mind from a rough week and just needed some time off before the fun continues tomorrow sometime around 5.
     
  12. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    How hard are you finding your Mechanical engineering major to be? Harder than most of the other majors or about average in terms of hardness?
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  13. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    Only dinner and optional breakfast is buffet style. And optional breakfast may or may not be a thing, the last two commandants have heavily considered removing it in favor of family style breakfasts each morning. Family style meals aren't all you can eat, unfortunately. Some of the best meals don't have much for each table and we're left asking every mess hall worker for some extra chicken tenders (which are really good).
     
  14. FloridaToUSMA2021

    FloridaToUSMA2021 Member

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    Haha, thanks.

    On a more serious note though, what is the basic computer class you take plebe year mostly about? Is it programming or systems based?
     
  15. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    I personally don't think it is hard at all. The difficulty, for me, is that Mech E is something you have to really enjoy. If you don't like math or physics type problems, you'll hate Mech since that is basically all we do. The math in my courses is not hard, nothing more than basic calculus (if that). I only do derivatives or integrals every blue moon, it's mostly algebra. The difficulty is how much you can expect to do. I personally love research and engineering so I can look past the amount of work because it's interesting.

    That said, I remember as a candidate I heard horror stories about working all day/night. Nope. My roommate is civil and both of us usually have more than enough time in the evenings to play video games and hang out. But, and this is a big but, when the going gets tough it can get really tough. The worst I've had was staying awake for a 3 day period, but that is because after 3 years I still have not learned time management and let my laziness get the upperhand.

    Edit:
    Hardest majors I would say are Physics, Math, CME (Civil / Mech), and the easiest (and most popular :p ) are management, law, and psychology. Language majors allow you to go abroad to different countries. If you're CME, expect to stay at USMA because you'll have too many courses that can't be validated by different schools. (Except other Academies).
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  16. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    A bit of column A, bit of B. Mine focused on both code and how computers/IT play a role in life and the army. We talked about good computer habits, how to back up files, and coded a lot. I took AP Compsci in HS and breezed through IT with an easy A+. I never did an ounce of work in the class and spent most of my time on facebook. However, many of my friends were very good with computers and it was harder for them. IT105 is open notes and open internet so you can actually use google and old tests during an exam. Time is your enemy in that class, so if you know how to solve the problems quick you'll ace it no problem.

    I should mention we studied Jscript (?) this weird obscure language that was a mix of java and python. I learned java in HS and easily picked it up, but yah, it was such an obscure language...
     
  17. frenzymando

    frenzymando Banned

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    Thank you for your answer. I'm currently trying to decide between majoring in operations research and mechanical engineering, and your input helps immensely. Another question, if you don't mind: does your company have PFT standards? I've heard some companies make everyone score a 270. Is this true? What happens to the people that aren't able to get a 270?
     
  18. FloridaToUSMA2021

    FloridaToUSMA2021 Member

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    So I'm assuming there's no testing out of it.

    Also you wouldn't happen to be SLE cadre for this year would you?
     
  19. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    What choices did you make with your Cow Loan? I've got a Yuk there now, and am curious as to what most cadets do with that opportunity.
     
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  20. TPIAD

    TPIAD Member

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    I saw this earlier, so I'll clarify.

    The Army has a standard: 180, with 60 in each event (usually 42 pushups, 53 situps, and 15:54 2 mile).

    Each company will set a different standard, but you only have to meet the Army standard for tests to remain off flagged status. Only failing the Army standard constitutes an APFT failure. If you're below company standard you may have to go to morning PT. Companies handle it differently, some take it really serious, others never talk to you unless you fail. PT here is largely on your time. I personally score between 240 and 270, speed is my nemesis. Don't be like me though, the better shape you're in will help you a lot. I had to lose a lot of weight to get in and never quite got super slim. I usually run my 2 miles in the 14s.
     
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