My WP Experience

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by PAWestPoint96, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. PAWestPoint96

    PAWestPoint96 Member

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    So I just had my day visit at WP this past Tuesday and thought I'd share my experience because it was a bit different than the norm. To start off, I had a severe cold and ended up losing my voice for the day of my visit (I really didn't want to do the visit in fears of getting others sick, but they have this crazy rule that under no circumstances may you cancel your visit). So I marched into the admissions office with a pocket full of cough drops and tried to make the best of the situation. It turns out that not many people visit on a Tuesday, so it was only me and one other CC sitting in on the admissions briefing. Now I say admissions briefing, but what I really mean is you sit in on a powerpoint presentation talking about all of the great things you can get out of going to WP. I already knew almost all of this information being that it's rather late in the game to just now be hearing that you have to go through Beast (or what they now call CBT- it will always be beast to me) and that WP is among the Ivy Leagues. But if you're doing a visit your junior year or early in your senior year, I would think that the presentation would have been very informative. (Sorry if it sounds like I'm bashing the briefing, I'm just trying to get my honest opinion of what I thought about the experience out.)
    After the presentation they had a Yuk come in and talk about what it was like being a Plebe and how things have changed now that he's in his second year. This was very useful because most plebes I interacted with hated their lives, and this cadet said that he felt the same when he was a plebe, but everything changes (for the better) after that first year.
    After talking to the Yuk for about 30 min., the cadet that you're supposed to shadow for the day comes in to take you to class with them. My cadet, however, never showed. So after another 15 min. of sitting there, a Firstie came to get me and hand me off to one of his Plebes. The only problem with this plan was that by the time we got to his barracks, all of the plebes with classes scheduled were already in class. So I got handed off to a poor plebe that was trying to study for her Chemistry WPR (Writing Partial Review - or at least I think that's what it stands for, you'll soon learn that there's an acronym for everything!) that she had after lunch. So of course she didn't really want to talk or show me around because she had to study which was totally understandable, but put me in an awkward situation. We talked a little on what the normal schedule for a plebe was and what classes are like (apparently not incredibly hard, just time consuming). I asked if we could see the gym where the IOCT was held (if you aren't familiar with it, google it - it's probably the craziest obstacle course I've ever seen!). Luckily for us, there was a class of plebes in there practicing, so I got to see first-hand what the course looked like and the different techniques cadets used to run through it. After that, we talked a little more about club sports and how Beast was and then it was time for her to call minutes for lunch.
    Now this was probably my favorite part of the day. All of the plebes get into the barrack hallways and start counting down from 5 minutes. They state how long it is until lunch, what the uniform is, and what's for lunch (I might be missing something), but they all call it out in unison in long drawn out voices with blank stares. This repeats every minute until it's time for formation outside. I'm not a person that gets embarrassed or feels out of place easily, but man I felt like a Martian walking outside in a black coat and khakis when every other person out there was in ACU's and seemed to be staring at me. Luckily my cadet let us get in the back of the formation so I didn't seem utterly out of place, but it was still uncomfortable feeling.
    After standing out in formation for about 5 min., we went inside the mess hall to eat. This is the second place that I felt extremely out of place. My cadet was on the Sandhurst team, so she sat with them at lunch rather than her squad because the Firstie at the team table would be more relaxed than the Firstie at the other table. Works out great for the plebes on the team...until a CC comes in and needs to sit there. Absolutely no one wanted to "float" to another table because they knew they were going to get harassed (maybe a bit harsh of a word, but I'm sure they'd agree with it)if they did. So I'm awkwardly standing there, not saying anything because I can't (throat is sealed shut), and my cadet is trying to get a plebe to move but they're all saying no. I completely understand why the plebes were reluctant to move, but I would have thought that at a place like WP there would have been at least one cadet with the decency to volunteer to move (it's not like they've never seen a CC doing a visit before). Finally someone volunteered and I had a seat.
    Then the lunch comes. I'm extremely lucky to have a mom that is a great cook. I know it has spoiled me into thinking that her meals should be what the average meal is, but I have had cafeteria food and I know that when cooking for the masses, the meal isn't going to be up-to-par with my normal standards (I know that makes me sounds like a snooty person, but it's the truth). Now WP this time of year is completely gray, and that goes for the food as well. The only thing with color on this meal was the tomato sauce covering the patties of chicken. I worked on a trail crew this past summer and I'm the first to know that when you're hungry, you're hungry and anything will sound appealing. The cadets have that same mentality and after being there for several months, I'm sure the food grows on you. But man, it was hard to get the meal down, especially in the brief time that you have to eat.
    After lunch I went back to the admissions office because my visit was almost done. The last thing I had scheduled was to meet with my RC. I had requested a visit with him when I scheduled my day visit. I was told that he would be available and I would have the opportunity to meet with him. But like most things in the Army, you're told one thing and get another! So my RC was in fact not available and I didn't get the much wanted one-on-one time with him. After finding out that, my visit was done and I was left feeling a bit let down by the whole experience, but wanting to be apart of it more than ever.
    Now I know this story might seem like a bash on WP and some will take it that I don't want to be here nor do I deserve to be here, and you're entitled to your own opinion, but know that I shared an honest story, and WP isn't going to be an easy place to survive on any level. I feel like I came out of this experience with a better advantage than most that visit WP. I know what it would be like to be a sick cadet and still have to study and go to class and workout. I saw WP at one of it's low points, and you know what, I still want to go there. I still want to be a part of that tradition, the camaraderie. I encourage all to visit, because if you have an experience like I did and still come out saying that this place is for you, then you have a chance at not only surviving but flourishing there.
     
  2. Stevewar2

    Stevewar2 Member

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    Trip

    Your story is definitely not coming from a starry eyed viewpoint. Probably one of the better recaps of reality though. As the briefer told my DD last month: "If you come here during the gloom period"and still have that fire in your belly, this place may be for you." I wish you could have went to a class and enjoyed it more. It was what it was though. I don't like WP in the cold, but I sure like being from there.
     
  3. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Your Day...

    At this time of year the whole Corps especially the Plebes have multiple deadlines to meet before spring break. Im glad you had an inside view of such a dynamic place.

    Thank you for your honest report!!

    Good Luck to you!

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  4. jstockdale95

    jstockdale95 Member

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    Thank you for sharing your experience. I actually also happened to be there that tuesday for a candidate visit as well. However, it was the second day for my overnight visit.
    First off, I agree with your take on the food. It is easy to agree with the fact that it is not too enjoyable. That chicken that they served wasn't the best, but the two other meals I had were better. Such as, philly cheese steaks and for breakfast some corndogs that were actually pancakes and sausages rather than corn and hotdogs.
    I on the other hand, had no trouble finding a seat at lunch. There always seemed to be an open seat for me.
    I got to go to classes and i thoroughly enjoyed them, even advanced multivariable calculus which seemed to be in another language.
    The one thing I didnt like, is I was left out to dry in the room alone as my cadet escort and his roommates went to sports practice. But to make a bad thing good, I took the time to do homework due later that week.
    When talking to the cadets, they seemed not to be too happy. They were tired, stressed, and bored.But they all said it was worth it.
    Also, I was able to meet with an RC. Not my RC though. Mosly, my meeting was about the school. He talked about diversity, leadership, and gave the same speech at the briefing. However, he concluded the meeting by telling me that I was appointed! :shake:
    Leaving the trip, I knew it was my school. A combination of getting an appointment, and falling in love with the environment of the school. I am eager to show up there again on July 2nd to report for R Day and start beast summer training. I hope to see you there too.
     
  5. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Appointed...

    What a nice surprise, Congrats!!

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  6. derfllon69

    derfllon69 Member

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    PA West Point 96 - What a great attitude! WP needs you more than ever to convey the message of what is wrong and to rectify it given a chance. Being a grad, I can tell you there were not many days during my 4 years that I did not ask myself "what was I thinking". The 47 month experience is not for fun, so every once and a while you can have fun, but mostly it is hard work and a real challenge. The challenge will bring out your true potential in life. Life is full of ups and downs and you caught a "downer". Good luck!!
     
  7. Bluefalcoln

    Bluefalcoln New Member

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    And your point is? Reminds me of the person who shows up on R day with a bike or guitar case. Suck it up. Cooperate and graduate. Lead, follow or get out of the way.


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  8. PAWestPoint96

    PAWestPoint96 Member

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    Bluefalcoln, my point is that I didn't have the best experience when I visited WP, but I still want to go more than ever. If others that visit have the same experience and still have the passion, then the chances that they will succeed are higher than those that have an unrealistic idea of what WP is really like.
     
  9. JWP

    JWP Member

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    Best of luck to you - I found your post honest and sincere and I actually sent a copy to my DS who accepted his appointment this month. Hoping you receive good news soon! Thanks for sharing your experience!
     
  10. 845something

    845something Member

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    PA, didn't want to get your hopes dashed before the visit, but 99% of the time your RC will NOT be available on a Tuesday afternoon. That is when the Admission Committee meets and they are usually in there. From time to time, they may be the briefing officer that day, but generally, they have to be in AC to be prepared to talk about their candidates.

    The best way to specifically meet with your RC during a visit would be to ask the scheduler when your specific RC is going to be the Briefing Officer of the Day (BOD since everything is an acronym, pronounced like body, dropping the "ee" sound off the end). While you might miss out if they switch with someone, it is your best chance at getting to sit down with them. Also realize that on busy days, the BOD might be tied up with a list of 10 different candidates that want to talk, so it might be awhile before you actually get to meet them when the tour is over. Make sure you sign up for that meeting as soon as you can (or have a parent do it if you are still out).
     
  11. Bluefalcoln

    Bluefalcoln New Member

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    I read it differently. It read to me as if someone was expecting to be treated like royalty on their visit. When that did not happen this individual decided to discredit the admissions office, their RC, the cadets who had to spend their time that day and the food in the cadet mess. Then proclaim that this was not about them and is trying to make it better for others in the future? If this individual cared so much for others,then they would not have asked that cadet who was studying for a wpr to take them to the gym.


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  12. BigNick

    BigNick Member

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    I am a WP graduate, a field force member, a former math instructor at WP and my son is currently a Cow at West Point. I visit him 4-5 times a year and always take him and his roommates to dinner off-post when I visit.

    They all complain - as Cadets did when I was a Cadet. Soldiers are also big complainers - it is part of being in the military. One night I said "If you guys hate it so much I know of several hundred highly qualified people who would do almost anything to be in your position". They immediately back-tracked and basically said that they were proud to be at West Point and fully understood the value of the school and the positive impact it would make on their lives.

    West Point is a difficult place - limited fun and games compared to a civilian school - especially a party school. However, the hardships, gloom period, hard academics, sacrifices, limited leisure time etc are well worth your efforts.

    Also, the level of complaints decrease drastically as you get in Cow and First class year. Look at the "big picture" and ignore the relative minor complaints - especially from Plebes and Yuks.
     
  13. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Bravo....

    Bravo BigNick well said!

    Nothing worth while, ever comes easy.

    The most cherished things in my life, I had to work hard for. It was difficult during that time. I questioned the validity at the time but now when I look back. It was the best of times.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  14. WIT84

    WIT84 Member

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    "Then the lunch comes. I'm extremely lucky to have a mom that is a great cook. I know it has spoiled me into thinking that her meals should be what the average meal is, but I have had cafeteria food and I know that when cooking for the masses, the meal isn't going to be up-to-par with my normal standards (I know that makes me sounds like a snooty person, but it's the truth). Now WP this time of year is completely gray, and that goes for the food as well. The only thing with color on this meal was the tomato sauce covering the patties of chicken. I worked on a trail crew this past summer and I'm the first to know that when you're hungry, you're hungry and anything will sound appealing. The cadets have that same mentality and after being there for several months, I'm sure the food grows on you. But man, it was hard to get the meal down, especially in the brief time that you have to eat."

    Regardless of where you go to school you had better get use to the fact that meal plan food is not going to be like mom's.

    DD attends a presitigious private university in New England (with a premium price tag). She did an overnight at USMA 3 weeks ago and one of her "Pluses" was the dining hall food!!!

    It is all about perspective.
     
  15. JWP

    JWP Member

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    It was made very clear to me when I was in basic training...food was nothing more than calorie intake! Lol! After a couple of months straight of mre's on a delpoyment...you will certainly appreciate any color of food as long as it is warm! That being said...I did enjoy the original post...
     

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