Plebe Summer Advice

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by engineer, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. engineer

    engineer Member

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    Words of wisdom imparted from my brother (Class of '87) to my soon-to-be-plebe: "Keep your head down and your mouth shut until you figure the place out" :shake:
     
  2. PreMed@Usna

    PreMed@Usna Member

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    I am going to have to completely disagree with you.

    Reputation is everything at navy. Rankings, positions, everything depends on how you are perceived by others. Better advice is to get out in the front and stay out in the front. Pull those weaker than you forward. Stand out, your detailers will notice you and only be supportive of those who are good, preferring to focus on the worse off plebes.

    The whole flying under the radar thing is for something like boot camp where when you graduate everyone is basically still the same. At navy, coming out of plebe summer strong can set in motion a chain that can see you having a very successful time at USNA.

    My advice as a current mid: dare to be great and never be afraid of your detailers.
     
  3. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    I think both are right! My DS Plebe-no-more kept under the radar for about two weeks, while those that couldn't memorize, talked back, got hurt, got sick, etc etc took the limelight. He tried his hardest at everything he did, helped out, and started getting noticed for good stuff right when the detailers switched. He was much more confident in himself with the 2nd set.

    Do your best, keep your nose clean, and by about halfway through it all you'll find a strength you didn't know you had. GOOD LUCK!
     
  4. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I tend to agree with you. But, based on your screen name, would you consider the possibility that your perspective on how to get ahead at the Naval Academy is somewhat driven by your need to get 1 of only 10 spots? :smile:

    OFF TOPIC: By the way, are they still advertising only 10 medical corps spots? That's puzzling because, in the not too distant past, they were giving out 15-20. In fact, there is some directive that says up to 2% of the class can got into the medical corps - which is certainly more than 10. What's odd is that the academy recently expanded its bio-science department, no longer requiring midshipmen to go off campus to take the required courses in preparation to take the MCAT. And then, having done that, they inexplicably reduced the number of medical corps slots. [PM me if you want]
     
  5. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    I have to agree w/ PreMed. UNLESS you want to just get by sure, stay under the radar. You have to remember...you are already being evaluated from the minute you step into Alumni Hall. You'll be evaluated at the end of first set and RANKED...this sets in motion the beginning of how you fall out amongst your classmates, how those upperclass detailers will describe you to your company when asked about the plebes they'll be getting. trust me, the upperclassmen/women will be asking how their new incoming company plebes are...you stay under the radar you will be forgotten. i don't remember the folks in my class let alone my company that "flew under the radar" - and when i look back through my Lucky Bag at my company classmates, some I don't even remember being in my company b/c they just wanted to get by and graduate...be a nobody.

    I know a lot of folks say NAVY stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself, but the best things have come from me saying sure I'll do that! when they are asking for plebe squad leaders, guidons, etc...be the one to step out and raise your "paw" (at least it was a paw back in my day). Be a leader, not a follower...
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Again, I have to agree. But one's efforts in this area have to be genuine. It cannot be perceived as somebody who just trying to be popular or trying a little too hard to be leader just get noticed.

    Although we didn't use this term in my day, but nowadays there are those who are sometimes looked down upon and are called "Joe's" (We called them "Strippers"). Those were the guys who were taking everything so dang serious and trying so hard to get noticed and rise to the top that they are actually seen as being more annoying than leader-like.

    You can't fake leadership. Oh, sure, you can go through all the motions - but once people get to know you they'll be able to ferret out what truly motivates you. "Leadership" can be very self-serving, at times.

    If you truly want to lead. If you truly care about your classmates and the well-being of the company, by all means, volunteer and take the bull by the horns. But if you're just going through the motions to impress somebody ... well ... it'll be noticed.
     
  7. engineer

    engineer Member

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    hmmmm....sorry, the advice was supposed to be humorous (see the laughing smiley), db and ds have had many serious discussions on the subject of plebe summer
     
  8. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Note as well that Ac Year puts a different stamp on things. Yes, some folks who excel during PS go on to excel their entire 4 yrs. Others, however, are great at athletics and great at leading in the PS environment but, when academics hit, struggle mightily. And others who may not have shone during PS start to move toward the front.

    All grads can tell true tales of those who excelled at USNA and failed miserably in the USN/USMC as well as those who "limped by" at USNA and went on to be O-6s and flag officers and civilian leaders.

    Remember that PS is only the beginning of 4 yrs at USNA and then your time in the USN/USMC. You obviously want to start out strong but don't let your entire life be influenced (positively or negatively) by PS.
     
  9. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    usna1985,

    I couldn't agree more with everything you said.

    There was a guy in my company who was the Deputy Brigade Commander. He was the most squared-away guy I knew. His dad was even an admiral. He was the first one to get out of the Navy in our company and start his own business (quite successfully I might add). I did not see that coming. Don't get me wrong, I'm certain he did well as an officer - but he quickly decided that a naval career was not for him. Who would've guessed that?

    And those who chose to stay in and make the Navy a career surprised me as well. Some of these guys rebelled every step of the way through their four years at the Naval Academy. They hardly ever studied and continually gave a minimum effort. You just knew that they would get out at their first opportunity. One of those guys ended up being a Captain and actually was the head of the Electrical Engineering Department at the Naval Academy. He had a PhD! I almost cannot prevent from laughing, just thinking about it.

    It's so true that there are those who are much more academically inclined and excel when the emphasis turns away from PEP, obstacle courses, and marching and more towards atomic numbers and integrals. For the most part, Plebe Summer is just a pass/fail thing. You either quit or you don't. Oh sure, you get ranked - but that is such a small part of your overall class standing and has ZERO effect on your GPA. There will be many more rankings to come in the next four years and people will come to respect the academic achievements of those who could only do 3 pull-ups at PEP.

    Then again - there are your studs/studettes. They can do it all. They are physically fit. They are natural leaders. You can depend on them for anything. They also excel at their studies.

    Don't you just hate people like that? :smile:
     
  10. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    The only comment I would make, based on conversations with DD, is to highlight PreMed's comment about helping those weaker than yourself. Building a good reputation is about your ability to lead, not your ability to show up those around you. Don't "bilge" those around you.
     
  11. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Plebe summer has the potential to follow you all four years. Remember, your classmates over plebe summer are going to be the people you're sitting next to at graduation (or not if they ever actually shotgun the companies.)
    Your classmates will remember very clearly who put out and who didn't. One of the biggest takeaways I got from plebe summer is that it didn't matter as much if you couldn't do something if you gave 100%. If you get a reputation as someone who's selfish, lazy, or not willing to help other people out, you're done.

    I know lots of people who try to "fly under the radar" at school and I HATE it. You're supposed to want to be a leader. In my opinion, leaders shouldn't just do the minimum or slip by, they try their best to excel, not only for their own benefit but for those around them. Don't be that guy who's running around going "look at me and how hard I'm working!" because that guy sucks too, but think about it this way: would you want to follow or respect someone who only does just what's required of them?
     
  12. PositiveThinking

    PositiveThinking Member

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    Take another look at the original post:

    The key words are "until you figure the place out". I think this is good advice, not only for Plebe Summer, but for many situations in life. It might just take you a day or two, or maybe a week, but give yourself a little time to figure it out! I've been in many situations where someone new comes in just blasting away without taking time to access the situation and get the "lay of the land." This is rarely a productive tactic, in my opinion. I don't think anyone is advocating "flying under the radar" for all four years at the Academy, just maybe the first day or two of Plebe Summer until you find your place. :thumb:
     
  13. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Exactly!
     
  14. AquaRain_2009

    AquaRain_2009 Member

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    Hey guys, this is all varying advice. I just finished up my Plebe Year and I came up with a list that I gave to one of my friends who is going to the Coast Guard Academy this Summer as a Swab. I put some lessons that I learned in here that not only apply to Plebe Summer but also to Plebe Year as well. Its what I learned here and some of the stuff may seem basic but sometimes you can forget it.

    Lessons Learned from a Plebe to a Swab

    1.) ALWAYS be yourself.
    a. During your first year, you will be pulled in a million direction by people you just met who you will want to impress. DO NOT TRY TO IMPRESS THEM BY CHANGING WHO YOU ARE. It doesn’t work and you end up losing parts of yourself. Be who you are 100% and everything will work out the way its supposed to. Usually better than you think.

    2.) Swab Year does end.
    a. Everyday is one day less than yesterday. I know that it may seem like Swab Year will never end but trust me it does. It ended for the upper class above you and it will end for you too. May 2012 is coming. I promise ;)

    3.) 1st Impressions Are Critical.
    a. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, especially if they are an Officer or Senior Enlisted Leader, try your best to look your best and be your best. In the military the 1st impression you give to people is the most critical. So even if you don’t feel good about meeting them, push those feelings a side, be confident, and graciously introduce yourself to them.

    4.) College Academics Are Not Like High School Academics
    a. College is completely different then high school. The feelings of over whelming will be constant but not killer. If you don’t understand something, ask for help from your teachers. They are your best source and they want to help you. Especially at Service Academies. My Professor for Chem II sometimes stays here until 2130 to help us with topics we’ve covered in class. Trust me, they want to help. Ask them, ask upper class, if you need help in something, don’t be afraid to ask.

    5.) Find Something That Gets You Through The Week
    a. You can easily go nuts on the daily routine. Between running, rates, homework, watch, you will feel like you are loosing it. My advice, get out and go do something with your peers that does not involve the word military. Join a club that you really like and make sure you go to it as much and as often as you can. It will give you that little bit of escape you will learn to cherish and love. And you’ll meet new friends that you will have things in common with outside of your classes and company. Its really handy.

    6.) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions.
    a. There are no stupid questions, but if you don’t ask a question, you may feel stupid. Been there, done it, if you have a question ask it, don’t let fear stand in your way. You never know someone may have the same one.

    7.) Look at potential careers early and make connections with Officers and Senior Enlisted Leaders.
    a. As you hear about career options in the Coast Guard, don’t be afraid to ask questions about it (See #6). Additionally, the best way to learn about that specialty is to ask about it. Ask Officers and Senior Enlisted Leaders who have that job in the Coast Guard and what their experiences a were and how to qualify yourself for that service selection. The connections you make as a Swab are very important as they will carry you until your Service Assignment night.

    8.) The Relationships You Had In High School May Not Be The Same When You Come Home (Don’t Expect Them To Be)
    a. Upon your first Leave home, you will want to visit with your friends and trust me when I say, you will have gone on completely different paths. Your friends will have freely been allowed to do what they want while you will have been held to an incredibly high standard and locked in a military campus. While initially you may be jealous, in the long run it’s not worth it.

    9.) Take Every Day As A Chance to Learn About Leadership
    a. As Swab you will be exposed to a variety of leadership styles by your upper class. None of your upper class will teach you the same and you will like some than others. Of the ones you like, take notes on how they lead and what made their style so effective. Keep those notes in your head, soon you’ll have to lead and you want to be a good leader. You’ll learn why over time.

    10.) Remember What’s Important.
    a. I know it can be chaotic inside the walls of a Service Academy and sometimes you may want to quit. But remember at the end of the day, someone said to themselves, I can trust (INSERT NAME HERE) to learn and grow as a person and one day become responsible for the lives of hundreds of enlisted under him or her to lead them in the defense of our nation as one of its leaders on the front line. I know at times it may be hard but the rewards you will later yield such as making a large drug bust or watching your Petty Officers be selected for Chief, will make all the hard days at CGA worth it in the long run.
     
  15. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Perfect advice aquarain. This pretty much mirrors the impression my DS has after finishing his plebe year. :smile:
     

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