Thanksgiving plebe updates...

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by SA2017, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. SA2017

    SA2017 Member

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    It is a solid ~5 months into your new experience at United States Naval Academy. I know things change year to year, and company to company, but for any current plebes (or parents of current plebes ) can you answer the following from your perspective or from your plebes perspective.

    1.) how has your reality differed from your expectations?
    2.) what was harder?
    3.) what was easier?
    4.) what do you miss?
    5.) what did you think you'd miss but didn't?
    6.) how we're roommate assignments handled? Was this good or bad?
    7.) how is the food?
    8.)Did you validate classes, are you glad you did/did not?
    9.) how often do you get to town and what do you do there?
    10.) how did the sponsor family experience go?
    11.) what would you like to get in the mail today?
    12.) do you get to go to all away football games?
    13.) how much spending money do you go through and what does spending money get spent on?
    14.) if you see another plebe struggling what is the typical reason (grades v physical)
    15.) what do you wish someone told you before you got there?

    Respectfully,
    2017 hopeful
     
  2. riveranduin

    riveranduin row well and live

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    In addition to the questions SA2017 posed, I would also like to ask:
    What classes you have found to be the most and least difficult?
     
  3. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    1. I didn't expect Plebe Summer to be as great as it was. No, really. As much as it sucked, as horrible I felt during it, in retrospect it was probably be one of the best experiences of my life.
    2. Time management is a challenge. The classes aren't easy, and the Academy seems to just love eating away at your study time with mandatory briefs and whatnot.
    3. Adapting to it all. I don't know how I get everything done sometimes, but I'm starting to get a hang of it all. The human mind is wonderfully versatile.
    4. Some genuine Chinese food. They just can't get it right in the east coast. And King Hall makes the worst Chinese food I have ever tried to eat.
    5. Home. I don't miss it much. It's not like it's gone; it's not like I'll never see it again. Heading back to California in a few weeks, in fact.
    6. In my company, we got to submit preferences. It's different for every company.
    7. Depends on the menu for King Hall. Some are awesome and some are horrible. The food out in town is great.
    8. Yes, I validated government, Chinese, Calculus, and English. I'm definitely glad I did, because it's punching some wonderful holes into the Division II matrices I'm interested in.
    9. You can go out on town every Saturday from 1200 to 2359. I went out a few times, but sometimes there's homework to be done. Blowing money out on town every weekend when your monthly earnings total $100 is also a bad idea.
    10. Sponsors are usually great, and occasionally not. You can always request another sponsor or go with another plebe.
    11. Uhhhh....food?
    12. There's movement orders available for just about all of them, but transportation is usually only partially covered through reimbursement.
    13. We get $100 a month. I've mostly been spending it on school supplies and food. I went to Air Force for the game last month, that cut into my funds as well.
    14. Grades, usually. Don't underestimate the classes.
    15. Validate classes. Validate all the classes you possibly can.

    I've found English to be the most difficult, but I never liked writing. Help is aplenty though, as long as you're willing to seek it out.
     
  4. COmom

    COmom Member

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    Mom of plebe here--you are going to find that the answers to your questions will vary greatly depending on who's responding. I belong to a parent FB group for 2016, and the experience is different for each mid. As for mine......
    1. Reality--what he expected to be hard turned out to be easy, what he didn't anticipate turned out to be difficult.
    2. Harder--he's an introvert, so PS was tough because he was around peers 24/7--no time to recharge. He was also disappointed that some of his peers were "slackers"--not the caliber he expected at the academy.
    3. Easier--the physical requirements of PS--not nearly as tough as had been advertised. The AC year--classes are going well.
    4. Miss--freedom to do as you please, friends, pets....
    5. Didn't miss--hmmm, access to electronics and media entertainment.
    6. His company allowed the plebes to choose their own roommates after PS. He opted to room with someone who was having a difficult time finding a roommate--turned out to be a good decision as his roommate's "quirks" don't bother him and they are on the same page about room cleanliness, etc. (Other roommate situations have not worked quite as well, as would be expected in any "dorm" situation.)
    7. He likes the food well enough, but misses home cooking. (We ate in King's Hall last week with him.) Lots of choices, fresh fruit, milk and salad available; main meals tend to be greasy.
    8. Validated classes--a year of French, calc, honors English (not a validation, just a different placement), 1 semester of physics, hopefully swimming next semester. Has worked well so far, will allow for some flexibility later on.
    9. Not apt to go into town--remember the introvert part--would rather spend time with his sponsor family, complete school work or email/catch up with people/family. Annapolis is small, so there isn't a whole lot of choice once you've been out and about.
    10. Phenomenal sponsor family--not always the case for everyone.
    11. Letters, care package--but not too many of the latter, limited space and plenty of food at King's Hall--again this varies greatly mid to mid. Some parents send monthly care packages or more, mine has asked that we limit what and how many we send.
    12. You can go to away games if you put in a chit. Plebes are low man on the totem pole, so they sign up last. Travel is reimbursed up to a certain amount. (If grades are unsat, restrictions will be in place, so there will not be Saturday liberty or away football games.)
    13. My plebe has always been very careful with money, so he's not spending much. He'll buy what he needs at the mid store; replaced his broken alarm clock, school supplies, etc. We have sent him no money--he says he doesn't need it. Other parents are sending money on a monthly basis--again, depends on your buying habits.
    14. Academics are the main reason plebes struggle. Some haven't had the background (chemistry is called the "Plebe Killer"---has gone well for my plebe, but he had AP chem in HS), but often times it appears to be a time management issue--lots of things to learn in lots of classes. A couple of classes require lots of memorization, 3 have papers that need to be written, 2 have homework problems to be completed and plebes are expected to complete more problems on their own if they need the practice. Add to that the required physical training, and lots of other "plebe only" practices--chow calls, hallway restrictions, professional knowledge quizzes administered by the 2nd class, signatures to obtain, boards to decorate, chopping everywhere in Bancroft---it gets to be very wearing. Then there are the mandatory football game attendances, parades and practice for parades, duty, briefs, company PT--you get the picture. Limited time, so time management is critical for success.
    15. Wish that he'd been told-- Goes back to his main disappointment--peers are not always doing what they can or should be doing and their actions impact the group. Philosophically speaking, people will be people everywhere. Some of the mids play well with others and meet the expectations of the upperclassmen and the academy, others do not. Don't expect everyone to take it seriously or pull their weight. No matter how well prepared you think you are, expect an unexpected reaction from yourself. The fatigue, the constant grind, the additional plebe punishments/restrictions can really wear on the psyche. Take the long view and remember, "to eat the elephant, take one bite at a time". :)
     
  5. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Really informative post! Thanks, as I'm betting it will give some genuine, valuable insight to candidates. Interestingly youryour points 2 & 15 are the among the chronic eye-openers. The admissions process is rigorous but not without flaw.

    Again, thanks for sharing some real "meat on the bone" for candidates to chew on. Great, current stuff!:thumb:
     
  6. SA2017

    SA2017 Member

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    Thank you very much to the people who responded.

    I know what chow calls are, can anyone elaborate on the rest?
     
  7. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    Now now, that would spoil the fun. You'll find out soon enough.
     
  8. daw

    daw Member

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    Agree! Sometimes I think the less you know going in, the better off you'll be! lol Seemed to work for my DS! :) Same goes for parents...the less you know, the less to worry about! ;)
     
  9. patoo

    patoo New Member

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    A Plebe Parent's Thoughts

    This was a good post. All good questions. As a Plebe parent, a couple things have stood out to me:
    1. be good at memorizing. Practice will help.
    2.
    3. small social skills- singing, telling jokes, doing puzzles, making posters, etc. can make a big difference some days.
    4. Like #2, the MIDN that don't take the academy process seriously (the "slimy MIDN") make it harder for the Plebes to maintain motivation and avoid becoming cynical. Thick skin and self-motivation are needed.
    5. There are a LOT of differences (at least the Plebes think so) between the companies. But, in the end it doesn't matter.
    6. You have to be able to speak openly and honestly with roommates and peers because time is short and personal responsibility is expected, but also consciously build connections and be a supportive shipmate.


    Our MIDN was in University NROTC last year and definitely feels he made the best decision. He's quiet but not shy with a sly sense of humor. He seems to have developed a sharpened sense of what's fair that hasn't given way to cynicism. He validated several classes and has no complaints. He spends hours helping others in his company with chemistry (it seems to be one of the "cut" courses). Picking a major (spring 2013) is done early. He misses music most of all. Having a "long view" of Plebe year is important. Expect to be "trained" and don't take it personal. As time goes on, the Plebes learn how to win small victories. He likes the food, but spent the whole Thanksgiving leave de-gassing.:eek: Not being able to sleep while on the Yard is a primary motivation to visit sponsor. He went to the Penn State game on a chit. He was able to get a chit to come home over the Columbus Day weekend. the system is still sometimes mysterious to him. he says the upperclass assume the Plebes know the rules and don't always explain processes. He and his first roommate started slow and then took off. But, at Thanksgiving the company ranked both roommates high, which earned them them a reassignment to new roommates. Success brings responsibility, as well as, rewards.

    Plebes don't rate certain privileges accorded to the upperclass which results in various Plebe behaviors and restrictions (where they travel, how they will travel, etc.) Once the Brigade returns in Aug, the Plebes have to go around and meet all the upperclass (signatures and posters are involved).
     

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