Plebe

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by MaryMom, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. MaryMom

    MaryMom Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Friends,

    I have a quick question for you. I'm concerned because my Plebe tells me he is only getting 5.5 hours of sleep a night. Is this the case for most of them? How on earth does one function with that little of sleep? Any advice?

    MaryMom
     
  2. Spanky58ggpt

    Spanky58ggpt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Relax

    Just relax. Part of military life is learning to deal with hardships and training to extend physical limitations. While the stress of plebe summer is over, the new stress of plebe year is upon them. They are learning to manage their time and exploring the physical, mental and emotional limits that extended stress will place on them in the vital role they will play as leaders. This is part of virtually all military training regimens. Pushing to the brink, and then a little farther to extend their confidence in the ability to succeed at times when others might be willing to give up. Your plebe is there because he earned his appointment and those who are there to train him will do everything to help him succeed. They also have an obligation to test his limits so that he can learn where they are. Provide support, worry(that's what moms do), and tell him you have confidence in him. He is in good hands.
     
  3. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    2
    MaryMom, I know just what you mean. Yes, they are all trying to survive on very little sleep, but I agree with Spanky58ggpt, it is all part of preparing them for military situations they may face in the future. I have an enlisted son as well. I had to tell myself when he first went to boot for spec ops that I'd rather have him tired now and well prepared for any situation he might face. He did get sick and discouraged and disoriented, etc, but he survived and grew as a result.

    Does that help me not to worry about my Plebe? Nope. Is he getting less rest than I think he needs? Yep. I just try to hold onto the perspective I learned from that experience. Hope your Plebe survives and thrives!!! Keep us posted on his progress!
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Mids are amazingly resilient, and they are learning how to manage their mental and physical strength to navigate the obstacles of midshipman life. This is superb preparation for being an officer, especially during demanding operational tours at sea or field deployments - even horrendously long work days at the Pentagon. As noted many times on here, the time-management skills and learning how to take combat naps under any conditions (yes, I know plebes can't be in their racks, but there are non-testable lectures in darkened rooms and those cozy library nooks and other nap-worthy moments) will come in handy in future years. They learn to stop themselves from staying up the extra 2 hours playing computer games or talking to the BF/GF or cruising Facebook and get themselves to the rack, or suffer the consequences.

    I defer to any current mids, but plebes are supposed to be in the rack at a designated time, lights out, with a decent period for sleep. Many factors can interfere with that, some under a plebe's control, some not. Thoughtless roommates making noise or still talking to the GF/BF late at night, unauthorized visitors :eek:, external noise, not getting stuff done during the day either due to interruptions or procrastination or just struggling to manage it all, stress, silly plebe things...any of these can interfere.:wink:
     
  5. lil3laiin3laiin

    lil3laiin3laiin Member

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes we only get minimal amounts of sleep but thats what coffee and "hotel nimitz" are for.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,347
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    :shake::shake::shake:
    "hotel Nimitz" = Nimitz Library? As I suspected...
     
  7. popeyesmom

    popeyesmom Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Messages:
    241
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree....send him vitamins. Not sure if mine ever took them but it made me feel better that he had access to them. Ha Ha. Really, it wasn't that much different than high school - playing sports, and taking AP classes, volunteer work and meeting tight deadlines.....just a bit amplified! He was already used to operating on very few hours of sleep. He eventually worked out a schedule where he was getting at least 2 nights a week of "normal" sleep hours.
     
  8. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Based on what I hear from my Plebe, an average of 5.5 hours is the norm. Yes, they are supposed to have lights out at 2300, but that doesn't mean that they go to sleep right away (see others' postings of calling BF/GF after lights out). They'll probably get somewhat run-down from all the time demands this first semester, but they will acclimate. Actually, my Plebe was probably already acclimated - depite four years of high school where I often yelled "go to bed!!!" well past midnight, my Plebe probably averaged that 5.5 between sports, studying and extracurriculars!
     
  9. Profmom2

    Profmom2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    0
    LOL Mine learned very quickly how to take a good nap in a hot shower!
     
  10. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    1
    He will be ok. Everything others have said here is good advice. Send vitamins, Emergen-C packets, power bars. If the problem is roomie talking to
    BF/GF after lights out.........my son had that situation last fall. He and the other roomie begged the kid to stop talking to his girlfriend at all hours of the night. Finally, at semester, they requested a change of room mates.

    They will catch up on breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas). And they will become incredibly efficient at getting done what they need to do!
     
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,230
    Likes Received:
    132
    I remember drinking coffee constantly and using that to wash down the No-Doz tablets. I never drank coffee before I went to the Naval Academy.

    I also remember, during finals, missing TWO consecutive sleep cycles. NO sleep whatsoever for over 48 hrs. My heart started palpitating.

    Ahhh - those were the days. NOT!
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,505
    Likes Received:
    454
    One general comment here . . . maybe ask why he's only getting 5.5 hrs of sleep/night. If he says he's studying, I'll offer only one comment . . . one can "over-study." Saw it happen to folks in my class -- they studied until 2 or 3 a.m. every morning and all day every day on WEs as plebes. Some of them ended up getting kicked out for academics.

    At USNA you need to study A LOT. You also need to study SMART. The latter is more important. One should be able to get through plebe year with 7 hrs of sleep a night (at least) and studying some on the WEs. If a plebe is putting in extra hours all of the time (and especially if it's not helping him), he/she should go to one of the many academic resources at USNA. Make sure the time is being well spent now b/c the courseload only gets harder in subsequent years.
     
  13. subvet

    subvet Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    0
    When our Mid was a Plebe she said she perfected the art of sleeping while standing up!
     
  14. old Ranger

    old Ranger Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    I feel the pain, my DS is going from having the ability to do what it takes to get the classwork and studying done to little sleep and real time management issues.Sometimes I wonder if being validated in calculus I is not a good thing as he is struggling in cal II.

    It is hard to try to explain thru email and weekend phone calls that the pressure is there for a reason and he was accepted for a reason. How do you explain that you have to be pushed to the brink before you see that you can do more then you thought was possible. I try to instill that doubt is the biggest enemy and to stay focused and you will prevail. That everybody is silently going through the same issues.
     
  15. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,829
    Likes Received:
    594
    To add to what everyone else has said....

    Once in the Fleet (speaking on the Surface Warfare perspective), time management and sleep management will be a few of MANY SIGNIFICANT issues that one has to deal with. These issues have to be mastered because at some point during the first DIVO tour, it becomes an expectation -- each ENS will have to figure out how to get it done.

    SWO is dominated by the culture of "figure it out."


    Sleep time at USNA: ~5-6 hrs per night
    Sleep time underway at sea: ~3.5-5 hrs per night
     
  16. CurrentMid

    CurrentMid Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    1
    For most Plebes it is not that they are not capable of doing the work and the Plebe training, they just don't know how to do it.

    Most do not have good study skills. Most skated through HS. Most did not have to study in HS. Most did not study their SR. year of HS. Add that all up and you have a Plebe that will struggle. They will study all of the time and learn nothing because they never learned how to study in the first place.

    Now before everyone jumps on me and says our high school was very competitive, our high school had top scholars, our HS hat top SAT/ACT scores - that may be but I would lay money that your plebe never learned how to study - what they learned was how to get a good grade at their high school. I saw this over and over when I tutored.

    One thing to ask your Plebes Where are you studying? If they reply in the Hall, that is a huge mistake - way too many distractions! They need to get in the habit of going to the Library. Tend to business from 7:30 to 10pm and then go back to the hall. What are they doing when not in Class - that is the time to do homework. Your Plebes need to get their home work done during the day so they can study in the evening. Go to class prepared for that day's lecture - studying - having the next day's lesson looked at so that you can follow in class. That in itself will make a huge difference. Just doing the home work will not be enough.

    USNA1985 is so right. Those that are studying "all the time" are so inefficient and ineffective that they will be unsat all of the time and then the vicious cycle repeats...

    Validating to a higher level of class is an excuse. They proved on the validation test that they were ready for the next class. Again most that I know that purposely did not validate so they could have an "easier" Plebe year - ended up doing poorly because they had the attitude that they already knew this stuff so they didn't need to study.

    Plebes in my Platoon last fall also spent a good bit of the first 2 to 4 weeks thinking it was "all a review" and got off to a poor start. Huge mistake! One that is very hard overcome.
     
  17. old Ranger

    old Ranger Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    current Mid- The question then is if after taking lots of EI and talking to the academic counselors the plebe is still having trouble getting the homework done on the 2 classes he has issues in and studying for the tests where can they go for help or to talk to someone on how he should be doing these things. Trying to get his head above water on the 2 classes is dragging him down in the others.

    It is tough trying to talk him thru things when his thought process is you have never been here.I made it through 8 weeks of the ranger selection course back in the early 80's but I am not getting thru with the email and over the phone.I am beginning to think an inperson visit is next.
     
  18. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2008
    Messages:
    1,230
    Likes Received:
    132
    I agree 100% with this.

    Academics are what they are. Some deal with it better than others. Some handle the distractions of being a Plebe better than others.

    Although I did well at the academy, I did so in the most inefficient way imaginable - not really becoming efficient until my final 2 years. Majoring in Aero didn't help any. It was a miserable experience, for the most part. I learned to live a Spartan existence during my 4 years there - foregoing just about all free time. It paid off, but I was working twice as hard as some people who were getting the same results with less time spent.
     
  19. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think was Currentmid said is true, hard to hear maybe, but true.

    That said, old Ranger has a dilemma and is asking for advice. What about your plebe finding someone in company to mentor him? Someone who, unlike most of us parents (not you Memphis!) has been there, done that. That's really all I can think of, Ranger, to target this situation. Oh, and maybe a care package or two. Anything to keep them powered up and healthy. And, of course, total support and cheerleading from the home front.

    These kids are smart, smart, smart. And although they may have been challenged in high school, it was nothing like they face now. My youngster actually did have to work harder at high school to get not quite as good of grades/SAT's etc as his older brother did. Older brother had to learn to study in college and is perfecting the technique in vet school!

    In my oldest son's first semester at Texas A&M, I vividly remember one night when I talked with him. He lived in the Honors Dorm......the Honors College students had an average of 1498 SAT (2 parts, math, critical reading)........he was scraping the bottom with his 1390. Anyway, that dorm had a policy at mid term that if you were failing a class, you went to a meeting. The meeting was the aforementioned night. He said the dorm was vacant. Everyone was at the meeting. These challenges face plenty of smart kids when they get to college, at a service academy or elsewhere.

    My youngster at USNA got a D last year in Calc 3. :eek: D for "DONE", was what he told us! 30 % of the class got C's, 40% got D's and 30% F's. He had never gotten a C, darn few B's (maybe one or two, maybe...) and certainly no D's. I expressed concern on this forum and was told immediately not to worry. His brother in vet school, said "Mom, it's ok. He's being challenged like none other right now. Don't panic."

    One of his solutions to the overwhelming academic load was to use a summer training block to take a navigation class. So, instead of coming home for August, he was in class. Got a not too difficult, but time consuming class out of the way to give him more time this fall. He had to be on the spot at the time the summer classes opened up and clear it with his company officers. He still got in two training blocks. What he gave up was 3 weeks at home. Which we supported. In the hopes his fall semester would be more manageable.

    I realize, old Ranger, that doesn't help you now. Just keep cheerleading! And if a visit will help, by all means go!:thumb:
     
  20. Profmom2

    Profmom2 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Academy has programs available for midshipmen other than just EI through the Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence.

    http://www.usna.edu/AcCenter/programs.php

    There are specific programs for Plebes, Counseling Programs, Learning Skills, Study Groups MGSP (My Mid facilitated a study group for Calc I and Calc II for 4 semesters - the groups always meet even if only one person shows up, they go over the material that was presented in class that week), Professional Tutoring in addition to EI. Going to EI is the first step but there is much more that is offered.

    Current Mid must have been one of the regulars in the library with my Mid. My Mid figured out within the first week of class that the Hall was not the place to study. During the week he would find a quiet spot in an AC building usually where his next class was and do home work or reading there, and then spent almost every evening in the library. "Doing the homework is not studying" is one thing my husband drilled into our Mid all through high school. He was fortunate to have that mindset and it did pay off especially plebe year.
     

Share This Page