PPW

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by HopefulDad3210, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    I hope everyone enjoyed parents weekend at USNA on the face of the sun! Man, it was hot. I thought the Academy did a great job. We had a terrific time, until it was time to leave. Then, reality set in for DS. He was a bit sad to see us go, which I'm sure is normal and common. It was a bit tough for me, though. I'd prefer he were thrilled to get back at it. Hopefully, this is one of those things the Academy anticipates and deals with.
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Glad you had a good time. Just think of USNA before air conditioning in Mother B! USNA does this every year. Honestly as a Plebe they walk right back in and it smacks them in the face. But being right back in the thick of things doesn't give them time to miss home. Plus they are developing friendships and starting to want to hang out with their buddies. They have a big week ahead with reform, new rooms, class prep, computers, etc. So they are excited for that yet anxious too. This is part of the process of learning how to turn it off and on when needed and take care of the job when needed.
     
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  3. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    That's exactly what I was hoping someone would say and more or less what I told him when I left. I especially told him he should try to stay focused on things on which he can have an impact and fight the urge to feel anxious about things he cannot control. To which he responded something like "people telling me everything is going to be ok doesn't really help". Gotta love 18-year olds. So, now he can find out himself over the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the reassurance.
     
  4. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    We all went through it and came out the other side better for it! There is a lot of anxiety over reform. They have adjusted to the 'known' with each set of detail. Now the numbers flip and instead of being 10 to 1, it's 1 to 3. But soon he will have phone back for good and his computer. They will feel more connected then. Plus when they get moved they can get settled for the semester and freedom to roam on their own is coming. That always is nice too. It wasn't long ago those squared away Detailers you just met were anxious Plebes too.
     
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  5. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Do they still play Christmas Music out of Bancroft at the end of PPW? It is something I will always remember. Wife asked why Christmas Music? Answer: That is the next time you will see them!
     
  6. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    Don't know we got on the road a bit early. Isn't turkey day the next time?
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I was told they have banned it, but not sure. Was hoping parents would let us know. I remember it blasting from the halls and the Detailers yelling from the windows at the kids and even the parents! I thought it was hilarious and was happy we got to hear music. I just learned the other day they don't brace anymore either. I hated bracing! As an athlete I knew my leave would be drastically different than everyone else's so the fact of not seeing my family didn't bother me. Yes you will see them at Thanksgiving. Some kids live so far they don't go home or have the finances to do a trip at Thanskgiving and Christmas. As a basketball player I had Thanksigivng on the road every year at some tournament. Never made it home except at Christmas for 2-4 days as a Mid and maybe 2 weeks max during the summer. No complaints, I had a blast and wouldn't of done it any other way.
     
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  8. THS

    THS Member

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    HopefulDad, good to hear all went well for PPW. I remember last year when we dropped our son off Sunday evening he was mostly quiet and dealing with Plebe Hack. I think the end of PPW is a lot for a plebe to take in - Reform and the start of the academic year. For us, we didn't see our DS until Christmas - Thanksgiving is a short break and we didn't want to risk any delays (we live on the west coast). It was his first holiday spent away from family, I think that may be hard for a young adult to process for the first time. Fast forward to today - DS is getting ready to return to the Yard in a couple of days and he is both excited and anxious - excited to reunite with company friends and roommates, anxious with his class load and the unknowns of youngster year. I think Reform is an exciting time for all mids for different reasons. Good luck to your DS, I am sure the upperclass are excited to meet c/o 2020 Plebes. DS is looking forward to Hell-O night.
     
  9. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm going down for the Navy/Fordham game in two weeks, so hopefully I'll get to see him again and he'll be in better spirits. He asked if I would come pick him up for Thanksgiving instead of taking the train because then he'd have more time with us. Not really like him, so that made me stop and think. I'm sure it all works out. My wife keeps pointing me to the high retention/graduation rate.
     
  10. mutual90

    mutual90 New Member

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    After all the hoopla about staying after the dinner meal formation at the end of PPW and hearing Christmas music blasting out of Bancroft Hall, I was very disappointed that there was no music. I was waiting and expecting it but nothing.
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    One of the things we say to our sponsor mids as they get anxious about something coming up, instead of saying "you'll be ok," is:

    Remember how you felt the night before I-Day? Did you handle Plebe Summer? Yes, you did. These feelings are normal, and as soon as you get into New and Scary Thing X, you will be in it, and you will get through it.

    As time goes on, they realize: First academic semester? Usual apprehension, get into it, survive it. First semester exams? Ditto. First flight school hop? Ditto. First week at TBS at Quantico? Ditto. Night before reporting to first ship? Ditto. Night before first carrier qual attempt? Ditto. Night before any combat operation in any combat zone? Ditto. Night before your oral warfare board? Ditto. Night before first day as XO? Ditto. Night before Change of Command as incoming CO? Ditto.

    Our mids are surprised and pleased when DH and I share our own stories of apprehension before major events as a normal thing. Once you self-check and say - ah - normal - once I get into X, I can get through it - the pressure eases.

    What is it that Louis Zamperini said in "Unbroken?"
    "If I can take it, I can make it."

    Edit: One of the things I realized after a while is that the Navy gave me stretch assignments, asking me for a bit more each time. When I was an Ensign, I thought no way could I be a CO one day with that much responsibility, people, dollars, stuff, schedule. The Navy started me off with 65 sailors on 4 tugboat crews. Some years later, they really ramped me up (multiple oh crap sleepless nights leading up to it) as the XO of an intermediate ship repair activity (SIMA) with over 900 sailors, big complex, big budget, high-pressure schedule, as a Lieutenant Commander. By then, though, I knew how to talk myself down and put on the game face. Of course, once you feel comfortable and competent in the role, time for another stretch. Most days as a CO, behind my positive and confident game face, I alternated among OMG, Whee, oh no, Yessss, what?! and They Are Paying Me To Do This.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
  12. Dadof2

    Dadof2 Member

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    Your DS will probably go through a lot of ups and downs over the year. Our DD had times when she thought she had made the best decision of her life going to USNA and other times thought it was the biggest mistake of her life. The academic year is difficult and can wear them down. But your wife make a good point - graduation rates say most mids make it. I remember a couple we sat next to at the parade at PPW last year. Husband and wife were both USNA grads into their Navy careers and said USNA was the best 4 years of their lives, but they didn't know it at the time. Most USNA grads that post here seem to look at their USNA years with a similar view.
     
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  13. brewer90

    brewer90 Member

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    For what it's worth, we had a similar experience at PPW. DS spent Friday and Saturday in high spirits, enthusiastically recounting both the highs and lows for plebe summer. He thoroughly enjoyed correcting my table manners, lazing about our rental home, and reconnecting with friends through his strangely unfamiliar mobile phone (watching him and his roommates look at their phones like they were magical items and then struggle to remember how to use them was pretty priceless.)

    And then Sunday arrived. The morning was pretty much the same drill, but after lunch a change began to set in. He was quieter. He made a couple of off-hand comments about how much he was going to miss us. The kid who normally wants to be there 60 min prior to the scheduled time "just to be safe" kept pushing back our scheduled departure back to campus. Then, closing in on Gate 8, he requested that we not get out of the car when we got back to Bancroft, but rather just drop him off.

    PPW is sort of a mixed bag in this regard, IMHO. It's obviously great to reconnect with the plebes, but it's also seems like a bit of a shock to their systems. Just when they're hitting their stride and the semblances of a "routine" is settling in, BAM! here's mom and dad and the outside world again! And then 3 days later, BAM! they're gone again. Seems like a little bit of psychic whiplash. But then maybe that's the point.

    And so I'll go back to what I've been doing all along: writing letters, sending care packages, and worrying.
     
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  14. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    This is so, so important in good mentoring - military or not. Young, inexperienced people think we have magic bullets or that we're demi-gods. They think we don't get nervous or anxious, that we always sleep soundly, that we know everything, that we're always confident. Some of that is necessary. I don't want my biology freshmen getting nervous about their grades with some new curricular approach I'm trying, and you don't want your junior enlisted people doubting your ability to help them get their jobs done. But junior officers (and senior undergrads) need to know that there's no magic bullet, no formula for success other than: prepare wisely, study prudently, observe carefully, practice as much as humanly possible, get the support you need, and get the job done no matter what.
     
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  15. HopefulDad3210

    HopefulDad3210 Member

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    Almost exactly our experience. Hang in.
     
  16. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    Brewer, I hope you get to worry less over time. As you probably have heard and read, USNA has the support system in place for the wellbeing of the Mids, including the sponsors in the local area. I hope you have met his sponsor family over PPW and that should help.

    Btw, they will be getting their phones back for good this week. I heard texts or messages via social media is the easiest way to keep in touch with young adults! ;)
     
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  17. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Brewer it has been nine years since I Day and PPW and we still worry. It is a parents prerogative. Didn't know what my parents went through till now and going through it myself.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
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  18. THS

    THS Member

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    +1 AF6872, just got a text from DS that he is back on the yard. Before he left, we had tons of "make sure you do this and that" and "do you have enough of this and that?" He said, "I got this, why do you worry so much?" As you stated, its our prerogative to worry. And yes, we asked him to text so we know he arrived safely, and he did.
     
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  19. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Glad to hear he made it safely. It is hard to let go but then again that is our job. My Mother is 91 and still asks every day how are you guys doing?
     

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