Low Morale

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by MBK518, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. MBK518

    MBK518 Member

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    Phone call today - DS in lowest spirit since we dropped him off. Is anyone else experiencing this tone this week? INDOC adrenaline rush is over, school has started, and they have laptops with access to internet. They got to sleep in until 8am this morning...inter-company football on agenda for fun today...So, just when you think they're adjusting, you discover their in a major emotional slump - and this kid is almost never "down"... I'm just wondering if the whole "Facebook" thing actually helps or hurts their efforts to acclimate to the Academy way of life...I know they think it's a lifeline to the outside world, but I'm thinking that lifeline is only making it more difficult. All that contact with friends on the outside who aren't "in prison" (his words, not mine) seems to bring them (him) down. Phone call ended strained. Since he had phone privileges for entire day, I sent text message of encouragement - yada, yada ,yada...
    But geeze! I left for Basic Training (no academy there...lol) and then 6mo technical school and didn't have any contact with my parents for about 9 months other than letters and an occasional phone call - which was never "scheduled". True, I was several years older when I enlisted, and perhaps that's the biggest difference, but I think we've all gone soft and have been coddled with the d*^%$ internet. I know DS would be want to scream if/when they revoke the Facebook prividedge, but I'm thinking it may help the "Esprit de Corps"
     
  2. KP13Mom

    KP13Mom Member

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    MBK518,

    Hang in there. Sundays are sometimes the hardest because it's the least scheduled day of the week and you are the only one he can vent to. Last year, DS found although he would pop on FB to check it and touch base with us, he spent most of his time on it with his KP friends because he quickly realized his non KP friends just didn't understand his new reality and he didn't have the time that they had. He would deactivate FB when really needing to turn off the distraction.

    DS found it more frustrating at the end of the plebe year, rather than the dark ages of 2nd tri, when his HS buddies were finishing with school in the first week of May and home and he still had another 6 weeks to go.

    But you know what? He made it! :thumb:
     
  3. KP2010

    KP2010 Member

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    Low morale is something to be expected...especially this early in the game...and it is a game. I remember when I was a Plebe, many moons ago, I was feeling like total crud and was really considering quitting. And we didn't have fb until around November. Its a nice thing to have but sometimes it can be distracting and leave u more homesick. I was soo homesick and soo mad that I would call home and vent pretty harshly to my parents (again i feel its something normal). I would recommend your DS join a club or a sport ( I would recommend down at the waterfront) that will take him away from the academy from time to time and get his mind off of everything. I wish I had done that sooner.
     
  4. KingsPtDad

    KingsPtDad Member

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    Tough situation to be in

    When I got my first phone call from my p/c on 7/18, I was hoping for, "I'm tired but I'm having fun in a weird way, and I know I made the right decision." What I got was my DS in the infirmary and deeply depressed. He was barely able to converse with me. I felt for him, but I didn't know what to do. I posted here and I got some excellent advice. I'll summarize.

    These guys are going through a crucible that will push them to their limits again and again. They will wonder if they're in the right place, not once but several times during their stays. Tell your p/c to hang tough. The worm will turn. And if it doesn't, go B split and stay through your first 4 months at sea. That way, you will have seen all that KP offers and you can walk away with at least a year's worth of credits to transfer out.

    Those were the basics. It helped my DS to hear that what he was feeling was not exceptional and I think it brought him some temporary comfort to know that there was an escape hatch, in case his outlook didn't improve. I thought about withholding the exit strategy because I didn't want him thinking like that, but in the end I decided to give him all the info I had, trusting that he was wise enough to use it appropriately. Anyway, fast forward 3 weeks and he's having a blast.

    I empathize with both you and your DS. That week between 7/18 and 7/25 was one of the worst I've had in a while. Hang in there.
     
  5. baxted

    baxted Member

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    The emotional roller coaster

    This all sounds very familiar. There are many ups and downs the first year. If it helps at all, our DS called from Guam Saturday and is having a blast. He loves the work, the people he is working with and all the ship has to offer. All this, and the ship hasn't left port yet! Believe me, there were plenty of less than happy phone calls the first year. There were also some very happy ones. Your DS is learning to function on less sleep than he wants and more work than he is probably used to. However, the place seems to know what it is doing as most of them get through it. Their first liberty is just over a month away, encourage them to get to that, then end of first tri, then end of second tri and so on. Next thing you know, you too will get that call from a very happy midshipman 1/2 way around the world.
     
  6. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    It's hard but...

    MBK518:

    I won't repeat the great advice already given. I will reiterate the fact this won't be the last time your DS will go through it (homesick, pissed at the world, barking at the moon, totally confused as to why he's doing what he's doing, etc.).. That said it doesn't make being their parent and cheerleader any easier. One thing I always remind people in these situations is that don't forget, on top of everything else midshipmen, especially plebes are often over-tired when they make these sorts of calls as well.

    You are right in that sometimes facebook chats or emails to/from friends "in the real world/at real colleges" exacerbate the homesickness, etc. However, the fact is in the world we live in today, that connectivity will always be there even at times when they are at sea. So this too is part of the learning experience for them to decide if this is the sort of life they want to/can live.

    The advice to join a sport or just do something besides sitting in the barracks and fixating on whatever is depressing them or pissing them off is probably the best advice you can give them as well as to give it all time so they are making educated, informed, unemotional decisions with regards to their future is the way to go.

    Another is to look at Plebe year as what it is a series of intermediate milestones/pieces with each piece being both progress and different....I always think of Plebe year as 8 separate pieces: 1) indoc; 2) indoc - acceptance day; 3) acceptance day to first tri midterms; 4)first tri mid terms to finals; 5) Start of Second tri to Christmas break; 6)Christmas break to 2 nd tri finals; 7) Start of Third tri to Recognition; 8) Recognition to Finals/Graduation. If the P/C start looking at it like this time seems to go faster as you always have only 4 or 6 weeks till the next phase...... And I truly believe the mood/focus on campus is different in each of these 8 periods as well so they can always adopt an attitude like people have relative to the weather in Central Florida - if you don't like it just wait a little bit it'll be different soon enough....
     
  7. jmtich9

    jmtich9 New Member

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    enough food ?

    I just put this into a thread -- new here....looking for some help, so i think i had put this in the wrong place

    my p/c is in very low spirits - all i have been hearing is that the upper class eats all the good food at lunch time, that there is nothing left and they have no time to eat. He doesn't go to breakfast and says he gets food at dinner. He says he has lost 17 pounds since the 2nd week of indoc. I just don't know what to say to him. Does anyone have advice on this ? His emails seem to be getting worse and worse. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  8. nadofr8dog

    nadofr8dog Member

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    You think things are bad now, wait until the "dark ages" sets in just after Christmas! As parents we always took on the position of cheerleaders. I was poo-pooed last year becaused I mentioned we conversed with our DS almost daily via IM's on Skype, but I can tell you it was wonderful. He could vent to us and, being a USNA Grad, we were able to explain some of the reasoning of what was going on or, in some instances, just tell him to "suck it up" and put up with whatever was going on. Learn from the experience and try to be in a position to change it when your an upper classman. This wasn't only true for the harassment going on, but getting him through some of the Academics also.

    As for the lack of food or the upper class eating it all, that's a leadership problem and hard to attack. Food service and quality have historically been bad and am hoping the new Supe will have this high on his list to fix. My wife would send "survival" packages consisting of tuna, protein bars, etc. Caveat - this was the first time our DS ever had "institutionalized" food so it took some adjustment on his part.

    FWIW
     
  9. zonker

    zonker Member

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    Did all the stuff nadofr8dog talked about, although DS was adamant about NO tuna .. no secret when you open a warm can in hot August dorm.. whew! :eek:
    And then the can is smelly for a while to. He just stuck with the powerbars.

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept that "the seniors are eating all the good food" ;) They've got folks responsible for helping your P/Cs.
     
  10. navy2016

    navy2016 Member

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    could simply be the technology generation addiction


    i don't own a cell phone

    i wasn't on the internet all day till facebook came along- i visits this website as frequently as facebook

    would i be texting if i did have a phone- probably

    once u had so much then to try to live without it................................
     
  11. MBK518

    MBK518 Member

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    Thanks for this bit - I think this will be especially helpful - and took notes :) DS IS extremely active with other than school activities - some better to not mention here, lest someone else figure out who he is and use it somehow... also, new to sailing team - but was left behind for racing past Sunday for an error he made at one practice in not signing in/up? - Anyway, thanks for the support and advice. Just as DS needed to vent, I guess I did too and turned to you guys...even though it's through cyber-space, at least I feel some sort of connection and empathy. Thanks again, I need to learn to deflect the out lashes of frustration and not mirror or magnify them by absorbing them.
     

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