Questions for a Plebe

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USANavy, Nov 30, 2015.

  1. USANavy

    USANavy Member

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    My son is currently a freshman at a senior military university. He is reapplying to the USNA for class of 2020. Of course he doesn't know if he will get an Appointment or not, but he has some questions for a Plebe regarding his/her experience that will help him to make an informed decision regarding next year's plan in the event that he is fortunate enough to have options. Does anybody know of a current or recent Plebe that would be kind enough to answer some basic questions regarding their routine? Thank you!
     
  2. mb1395

    mb1395 Member

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    Shoot, if it's anything personal then pm me.
     
  3. USANavy

    USANavy Member

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    Thank you so much! My questions are in regards to your daily life as a plebe (during the semester, not during plebe summer). Can you tell me some specifics regarding your limitations as a plebe vs. an upper classman? Do you have to square corners inside and out? Can you eat at ease? Do you have limitations as to where you can/can't walk on campus? Are you allowed to talk with your fellow plebes other than in the classroom? Do you have any freedoms? What time do you wake up every morning and what are you required to do each morning before your first class? Can you ever sit or lay in your rack other than lights out? Of course only provide as much information as you are permitted or feel comfortable in doing. Any information that you can provide would be very much appreciated!
     
  4. mb1395

    mb1395 Member

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    Limitations as a plebe--we chop around Bancroft hall, square our corners, do chow calls for morning, noon, and evening meal, and must have our doors open at all times until 2200. We can't listen to music or watch movies during the week. We don't rate our rack during the day, though you can get special permission from your squad leader to fall asleep early if you need it. Most companies let you rate media and your rack on Saturdays, and occasionally on Sundays by the grace of the firstie on duty. Once you become a youngster you can nap, keep your door closed, and rate all the media you want.

    We square corners and chop inside company areas in Bancroft. King Hall, the basement, and the midstore are all square-free. It's only indoors; I imagine the tourists would look at us funny if we squared around them outdoors. When we eat, we sit on the front four inches of our chair. Some squads will be more relaxed and allow plebes to sit back. Most squads allow their plebes to speak freely, maintaining proper courtesy. All upperclass are sirs or ma'ams.

    The only limitation on walking is that we can't use curved walkways on Stribling, which is an upperclass privelege. There are other small rules you pick up over plebe summer; the second class doors are off limits, and to get anywhere in King Hall, you have to go back out to the center walkway. Yes, we can talk with our fellow plebes. You can study together, go on liberty, walk to class together, visit each other's rooms, etc.

    Freedoms? We are free to order food from Annapolis, come and go from our company spaces as we please, etc. We are generally free to do what we want, so long as we meet our obligations (there are quite a few, such as watch, formation, or sports). I wake up at about 0610 every day, unless there's a company workout led by upperclassmen. My company has a workout for the plebes 2-3 days per week, in which case we are on a bulkhead at 0530.

    We have chow calls starting at 0645, which is where you announce "important" information about the formation. After a quick indoor formation at 0700, most people go to breakfast. Class starts at 0755. Any more questions? I'm happy to answer.
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Doesn't sound like much has changed mb. No more morning come arounds?
     
  6. USANavy

    USANavy Member

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    Thank you so very much, that was very helpful and informative. I will pass this information onto my Rook at Norwich. I think that he will be very pleased to hear this information. He only dreams of these liberties, lol. A couple more questions, lol: when do you become a youngster? How often and how long can you call home? Can you email anytime? Hopefully you guessed that these questions are possibly even more for me than for him, lol.
     
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  7. mb1395

    mb1395 Member

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    There are no mandatory morning come arounds, as long as you get them done by the pro-quiz on Friday. That being said, plenty of my classmates do morning come arounds to get out of chow calls. Did upperclass really get up 15 minutes early to do an extra come around??

    You cease to be a plebe after the Herndon climb. Youtube it if you haven't heard of it! After Herndon, you are a Midshipman 4th Class. You wear youngster rank on your summer cruise. Tradition holds that you are officially a youngster when you see the chapel dome after returning from your 3/C surface cruise.

    Personally, I call home about twice per week. Plenty of my classmates are busier than I and can't find as much time. It's pretty important to me to call pretty often. I usually have about 30 minutes to an hour. You can call any time; we have our cell phones and access to social media, not that there's much time to use them. Some companies ban Facebook but that's rare. We can email any time--important information is passed by email so you have to check it a few times per day.
     
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  8. USANavy

    USANavy Member

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    Oh my gosh, that sounds awesome! My son has always dreamed of USNA and is currently on a 4 year NROTC scholarship. He has reapplied to the USNA and has also applied to transfer his NROTC scholarship to a public university as an option for next year. USNA would be his first choice, but he was working on stomaching a 2nd Rook/Plebe year. But with this information, his spirits are lifted. Thank you so much!!
     
  9. mb1395

    mb1395 Member

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    People who come from a year of college tend to do pretty well here. The extra year of maturity and experience helped me for sure. If it's worth it to him, by all means shoot for it. Sure, there are things about plebe year that suck, but it's really a great place to be and be from. Glad I could help :)
     
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  10. USANavy

    USANavy Member

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    Thanks again for your insight and well wishes. Best wishes to you as well!!
     
  11. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    We used to do morning come arounds with 3/C on Mon and Tuesday at 0630, 2/C on Wed and Thurs and then with the squad leader on Friday at 0630. Chow calls started at 0650. It was rare to have morning workouts during the week, but we did every Saturday usually from 0530-1000 (liberty formation was at 1030). That was pretty much the standard for most of us. For the most part PT was left up to us to maintain. It was rare to have someone fail the PRT and we used to take it during reform week in August and January. I do like the fact they moved it back now to give folks time to workout if they have been on ship. I took one a few days after being underway for a month. I barely passed, it kicked my butt pretty good. Just glad I was there before they had cyber classes!
     
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  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    In the "good old" days, we had come around with our youngsters every morning, every noon with our 2/C, and once a week with our firstie. If you were a squared away plebe -- and especially during 2nd semester -- you might only have come arounds 3 days per week. If memory serves, morning formation was at 0730 (with breakfast on your own prior) and all workouts were on your own after PS with most folks doing them in the afternoon. Meal time, other than breakfast, was yet another opportunity for upper class to ask plebes rates, although this also could vary a bit by squad and time of year in that it was much less popular towards the ends of both semesters. The biggest difference that I see between today and my day is that, in my day, every plebe did more or less the same thing. Now, companies have MUCH more autonomy and, as a result, life can vary quite a bit based on your company -- especially as a plebe.
     
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  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    85, we had 0700 formation followed by mandatory breakfast. It sounds like breakfast is optional now. Is that correct mb? As always administrations change things around slightly, just like they do in the fleet. It does seem that companies have slightly more autonomy then when I was there, but with social media, cell phones, etc there is more in some ways to "take away." Heck the Internet was barely a "thing" when I was there and you need your computer to do schoolwork, so wasn't much more they could do to us. All in all seems like it is about the same place, minor changes. Also from current Mids the door open policy seems extremely enforced, it was enforced, but not to the degree it seems today.
     
  14. socalmomof3

    socalmomof3 Member

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    Sorry if this is a dumb question but what is a "come around"?
     
  15. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    It's where you review the weekly professional topics, current events and other knowledge Plebes are required to know. Each week Plebes take a quiz on professional topics such as different ships/aircraft and all kinds of other info related to the military. It's part of the chain of commands responsibility to ensure Plebes grasp and understand the topics for the weekly quiz.
     
  16. mb1395

    mb1395 Member

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    Breakfast is optional now, plenty of people choose to skip it (WHY?), and still more grab some food and take it back to their room. From what I've gathered in my 5 short months here, companies do seem to have quite a bit of autonomy when it comes to training plebes. Upperclass are supposed to have their doors open and rooms in bravo, but they only really do it when a weekend is coming. Fail inspection and you lose your weekend.

    I'm not rated during meals usually. Sometimes we will discuss news articles but not often. PT is still generally on your own. The morning workouts are nice in that they force you to get out and run and strength train, but if they're all you do, you'd be hard pressed to pass the PRT with a good score.
     
  17. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    One of the things I think USNA could do better at (and maybe it has changed since I graduated), to better prepare MIDN to lead and become junior officers, is to actually hold the chain of command accountable (and I don't mean just "securing liberty"). For example (each in its own context), a squad member fails a Bravo room inspection for the third time, has under a 2.0 at 6 and 12 weeks, failed the PRT, failed a second pro-quiz (for plebes)...etc. etc. When does the squad leader (and chain of command) ACTUALLY get held ACCOUNTABLE? 1/C should be running the company and ultimately held accountable (within reason -- for example, if a squad leader has exhausted all the resources for trying to have a plebe pass chemistry, but the plebe still can't pass -- well it wasn't for a lack of trying/caring) for their squads/platoon/company's performance -- this is no different than when become a junior officer and 1/C should have this preparation -- be held accountable, learn how to delegate, brief, learn to lead without always micromanaging -- after all, isn't USNA a "leadership laboratory?"

    I would be curious to know from any MIDN, plebe or not, if anything remote to this in practice. Does a squad leader, platoon commander, and/or company XO/commander have to explain their (or their units) unsatisfactory performance in front of the company officer? Toward the end of my time, we had a Marine Major as our company officer, and he wasn't afraid to call 1/C to their office when they were not doing a good job (personally or at their job).
     
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  18. mb1395

    mb1395 Member

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    I see what you're saying. That hasn't changed since you've been here. In general, corrections to plebe behavior is the domain of training staff. If 1/C notice a problem with an individual, they will correct it on the spot. If the problem is a trend among plebes (lazy corners, lazy chow calls), then they pass it off to training. Mids tend to be held accountable by the system more than their squad members. If you become Ac Unsat, you lose your weekends, have to go to extra tutoring, and meet with an advisor. If you fail the PRT, you have to go to brigade remedials.

    On a brighter note, I have seen a push towards what you were talking about. Normally, on weeks we don't have pro-quizzes, we don't have come arounds. The brigade training staff made come arounds mandatory again to encourage that relationship between upperclass and plebe. Most upperclass blow it off, however, because that's not how it was done for them. A suggestion for youngsters was to take a plebe on a run if he's struggling physically. A good idea in theory? Sure. But it would take some enforcement to make it actually happen. I agree with your premise and I'll keep this in mind when I'm a not a nasty plebe.
     
  19. USNA 19 DAD

    USNA 19 DAD Member

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    Not that I don't trust my Plebe, but I'll ask one that has no vested interest in my decision. I have been told that there is gaming (PS/ Xbox) that occurs in the rooms on the weekends. Are there a lot of rooms that have a system? Just upper class? While home for Tgiving, my Plebe hinted at wanting to bring his system back with him after Xmas. His grades are good so I am not worried about that, but was wondering if it's commonplace?
     
  20. MammaMia

    MammaMia Member

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    In my plebe's company, it's only upperclass who can have gaming systems - but playing video games online is *very* common among plebes. He actually said over Thanksgiving, "You would be surprised at how many people play video games here." (He's never been a video game player, and is plenty busy with classes, ECAs and his team, so I don't think he's interested...he wants to make Supe's List and continue to get enough sleep at night!)
     

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