Things I wish I had know before I-Day/PS

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by RELEVANTobserver, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. RELEVANTobserver

    RELEVANTobserver Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    As the new appointment thread keeps growing and growing, congratulations to all so far and in advance to those who will be receiving theirs shortly, I thought that this would be an appropriate time to impart some knowledge that I learned the hard way over the summer, so that way the class of 2015 can have a little head start.
    Before reading what I have to say, I would I highly recommend reading the sticky by Memphis9489 found here: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=13029
    I-Day/PS is confusing and tiring enough as it is, so hopefully this advice will help you feel not completely clueless.

    1. Bulkhead - I know that this seems silly, but for someone like me (from the middle of the country with no shipboard experience at all) I had no idea what a bulkhead was. Simply put, its the wall of the P-way (passage way= hallway) so the phrase "hit a bulkhead" means to go up to the wall, face it, and do about face, get used to this because after almost every training evolution you will go back up on "deck" (the floor you live on) and hit a bulkhead and standby for further instruction and make sure you stay out of the grey space! It's a single row of tiles on the floor that are grey (obviously) along side the bulkhead that only your detailers can walk in, it's hard to visualize but once you get there you will understand what I mean.

    2. Chopping - the only form of transportation for Plebes in Bancroft during the summer and into the Academic year. Chopping=a fast jog, for lack of a scientific term. Everywhere you go in Bancroft hall you will have to chop until you get outside, and stay in the middle of the p-way.

    3. Your I-Day Sea Bag is Heavy!! - enough said

    4. White Works Aren't Flattering, or Moisture-Wicking - those attractive uniforms that you are issued to wear over the summer definitely don't help with the heat factor of the summer, you will be sweaty in them almost all the time=uniform gets nasty. And they more than likely won't fit, in fact I can guarantee it, (I was issued size 36 pants, I wear a 32) so you will probably have to tie your pants tight to make them fit, don't tie them too tight though, otherwise you will have a hard time reaching the pocket on the inside where you keep your Reef Points, which brings me to my next tip...

    5. Don't Drop Your Reef Points!! - Reef Points, or as it is affectionately known as your "trash" is essential to Plebe Summer, that is one thing that you must have on you at all times. That being said, the afore mentioned pocket in the front of the white works pants can be tricky to get into the first few times you take it out and put it back in. An example of this, I thought I put my Reef Points in my pocket before the swearing in ceremony, only to feel it slide down my leg as it fell out, so I was without my Reef Points for the first few days of the summer. If you do lose it, you will have to do something for the detailers to "earn it back".

    6. The Chapel Bells - Over PS you aren't allowed a watch or any time keeping device and for my summer the clocks on our deck didn't work, and you will get curious as to what time it is. There are two ways that you can try and guess the time; the first is try to listen to the chapel bells, they ring every fifteen minutes after the hour, with the fifteen minute chime being the shortest in length. Seems sort of irrelevant now but this was something that I thought helped to make the days go faster. Another is to try and sneak a peek at the atomic clock that is on the way from Smoke Hall to King Hall when you go to meal.

    7. It's Not Bootcamp - It isn't gunnery sergeants and Marines yelling at you to do 50 pushups, its 1/C Midshipmen that are teaching you HOW TO BECOME A MIDSHIPMAN, and how to be somewhat competent when you enter the brigade after fall reform (when everyone comes back). You will do physical exercise of course (PEP) but you also do a lot of leadership building and teamwork building activities, the goal of detailers is to get you from a civilian to a functioning member of the brigade in 6 weeks.

    Hope this helps, again these were just some of the things that I wish that I had know before heading into the summer, good luck class of 2015 and I hope to see some of you in 23rd company next year!
     
  2. PositiveThinking

    PositiveThinking Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    2
    Excellent post, RELEVANTobserver! :thumb:
     
  3. lovethenavy

    lovethenavy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1
    Perfect advice! :smile:
     
  4. bergmom

    bergmom Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for taking the time to give this great advice....we have so much to learn (son is Class of 2015)!
     
  5. jumprope_11

    jumprope_11 USNA 2015

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    0
    definately some great info:thumb: every little bit helps.
     
  6. onee

    onee Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the info and taking time to post.
     
  7. behrsmom

    behrsmom Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great advise! Also for you parents out there...enjoy every minute of having your kid at home. Do not wish away these last few months until I Day. Hang onto them, spend time with your kid. You will miss them so much you can't even comprehend it, but at the same time you will be so proud of what they are doing. Your life will be changed forever, both you and your mid....so hang on and enjoy the ride!!

    Behrsmom
    DS 2014
     
  8. bergmom

    bergmom Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Behrsmom...I so appreciate your words...I am certainly trying to soak up the next 5 months because I know that it is the end of "life as I know it". Thinking of my first-born leaving home is very hard, but, as you said, I also feel so proud of him. I can't even imagine how hard it will be for our family when he is no longer at our dinner table! Knowing there are 1200 other moms and dads experiencing the same thing, and many others that have lived through it in the past will hopefully make it a little easier. Thanks goodness for this forum!
     
  9. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2007
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    2
    Great post, relevant!

    Here are a couple of other thoughts from a mom whose Mid is probably going to be one of your Detailers:

    - Every Detailer has been in your shoes. They've made it; so can you.
    - Plebe Summer is as much about the 1/C having an opportunity to lead as it is about you becoming part of the Brigade. They're learning, too. Some of them will be good leaders, and others won't. Learn things from observing both types (while keeping your "eyes in the boat" of course!).
    - No matter how tired you are, and how hard you are working, your Detailers are even more tired, and they are working even harder. They get up earlier, go to bed later, they have all the same responsibilities for keeping their rooms and gear squared away, and they are also responsible for your training, among other things.
    - During Plebe Summer and after, the sooner you and your company classmates get "squared away," the better life will be. Take care of each other and look after each other. You will start to be a leader when you can get beyond doing the things YOU need to do, and start looking around to find ways that you can each make your team stronger.
     
  10. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    119
    Dude, don't help them cheat! You're not even a youngster yet!

    Maybe it's just because I'm looking at this stuff through the lens of a 2/C and future detailer, but I'm not a big fan of these "Things I wish I'd known..." posts because they're not really necessary.
    Plebe summer is supposed to be confusing and you're supposed to be clueless. Know the basics of what you're getting into, but how much you don't know is part of the point. It's about being adaptive, not how much crap you can learn before showing up. Don't be that cynical kid who's trying to game the system. The detailers have all been plebes before, and they know all your little tricks.

    What you need to do to succeed over plebe summer isn't very complicated at all:
    -Show up.
    -Put out.
    -Help out your classmates. No exceptions.
    -Have a good attitude.

    Done!
     
  11. lovethenavy

    lovethenavy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2010
    Messages:
    255
    Likes Received:
    1
    I would hardly call it "gaming the system" or "cheating" by someone telling you that whiteworks are not flattering, don't lose your Reef Points, and that you won't have clocks. All over this forum you can find helpful tips for each incoming class to ease some of the feelings that these new plebes and their parents are experiencing. It will still be confusing, rough, tough, and hard, no matter what type of advice anyone posts on these forums. I know that our family took every bit of advice we read and any that eased our minds made us feel better. Even after all that, Plebe summer was no piece of cake.
     
  12. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    119
    I guess, but what does anyone really gain from knowing that stuff?

    Whiteworks suck-Obvious (just look at a picture), and you can't do anything about it. You only wear them for six weeks of your life, so you'll live.
    Don't lose Reef Points-Obvious, and you can't do anything about it. At one point or another, you will lose your Reef Points and you will get yelled at.
    Clocks-You don't need clocks, your time's getting managed for you. I don't think I ever really had a desire to look at a clock Plebe Summer. The only time it would matter is Sunday morning. Other than that....wake up, PEP, formation, stuff, formation, stuff, formation, more stuff, sleep. That's your day. Time is passing. You are doing things. You can't control either.

    Look, I've been there. Trust me, I was freaking out before I-day too. And the only advice that actually helped me was relating to attitude, not specifics, because specifics change or depend on company staff.
    Anything a plebe or their parents could really be worried about regarding the juicy details (ROE, exact things the detailers do, exact events, etc.) shouldn't be posted online, so there's no point in nuking it and trying to find out.

    You could show up to I-day naked and knowing nothing about the Naval Academy (and believe me, some people come close) and be successful as long as you're in reasonable shape and have a good attitude. Wanting to learn about the Naval Academy before going is a good thing, but I wasn't really helped by any "tips" or "hints" I got online aside from "Work hard."
    Your mileage may vary; maybe I'm just old and bitter.
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    4,498
    Likes Received:
    447
    Back in the good old days, there was no such thing as the Internet and no NASS. Thus, all of us knew only what we heard from our BGOs or read in the USNA catalog or saw during CVW. Some came in knowing virtually nothing of what they were getting into. Most of us survived. However, the lack of knowledge was the cause of more than a few folks (one of my roommates included) to quit.

    Having been through the system, I'm not sure that knowing what's going to happen helps all that much. For example, I can describe (and often do to candidates) all about "chow calls." However, there is no way I can create the actual experience of doing them. That said, I'd much rather a candidate consider what they and other scenarios will be like and whether he/she can handle them BEFORE making the decision to attend.

    Cheating is obtaining an UNFAIR advantage. Educating yourself about what to expect is just being smart.
     
  14. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2007
    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    591
    I completely agree with USNA1985. With that being said, getting a copy of reef points for the sole purpose of trying to memorize (verbatim) all of the rates, IMO, IS gaming the system.

    Part of the plebe year experience is FAILURE!!! Knowing how to hold your head up while being yelled at, figuring out what made you fail and why, and then getting yourself back on track. I guarantee this will happen a few times in your MIDN/officer career -- whether your fault or not.
     
  15. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    6
    Another tip..... All of those bald heads look alike, so when you are marching through Bancroft Hall and the lines in the companies merge and then split off again, make sure you have memorized some distinguishing mark from the bald head in front of you, otherwise you will find yourself marching with a new company. NOT the place you want to find yourself as a plebe during Plebe Summer! :redface:
     
  16. RevenueCutterService

    RevenueCutterService Revenue Cutter Academy

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent post. Plebe summer, basic, swab summer, indoc, or whatever else it happens to be called is about putting a group with little or no experience into adverse circumstances to see how they grow and develop (with a little "guidance" from their detailers or cadre, of course).

    The bottom line is...you're not supposed to know what to expect. All you should expect is to be pushed to levels you've never been pushed to before, both physically and mentally.

    As Clint Eastwood might say, "It's about adapting, improvising, and overcoming."
     
  17. 08Marine

    08Marine Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    What's to come

    Gents and ladies,

    No harm no foul with giving the candidates a heads up on what's to come. Even without the youngsters providing tips prior to I-day, there are plenty of ways that some candidates have a leg up on the others. Consider those who've gone to Summer Seminar and those who're Navy or Marine Brats.

    I definitely wanted to be prepared, and had three copies of reef points (in my backpack, my car and my room) for the 6 months leading up to I-Day. I knew my table salt well, but no preparation will spare these upcoming plebes from experiencing failure.

    My one benefit from knowing table salt that well is I'm still good at shooting out the answer to my SSgt who's sister went the academy and who periodically asks me "How's the cow?"

    These tips provide all of these motivated candidates a feeling of preparedness, and good on 'em. The greatest advice to give though, is to avoid cynicism. Tell them there is a value to everything they'll be doing and they need to soak it up. When the year starts don't hide away or go nap in the library. Take advantage of the speakers who come to pass on their knowledge and learn from those who're there to teach you. The academy can give you a lot if you'll open yourself up to the opportunities. And when you leave for the fleet, who will be passing that knowledge and experience on to your sailors and Marines. You better believe it.

    My apologies for the long post. For those of you who've been accepted, congrats from Afghanistan. Enjoy your next four years.

    S/F
     
  18. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    2
    What a GREAT post, 08Marine!

    I can tell you that, no matter how prepared an appointee feels he/she is, each one will find something that challenges them beyond what was expected. My DS went to NASS and had the easiest time with memorizing and coming up with answers under "stress". However, when he arrived for Plebe Summer, the emotions were so different that he struggled with memorizing. (And, yes, we did have a Reef Points at home. He looked through it but didn't try memorizing anything before I-Day except what was in the packet he received from USNA.)

    I think 08Marine's advice not to be cynical is very important. You may think that you (or your DS/DD) would never be cynical or "hate" the academy. I never imagined ours could be so negative, but that first semester was a doozy! Thankfully he is past that (for now...I'm not holding my breath :rolleyes:). I tell my son that, in life, everyone will have to face rough times and mature through them. It's just that some people will take 20 years to get there...he is taking the short cut! :yllol:

    In short, prepare away...there will still be surprises! And get ready to roll on one heck of an emotional thrill ride!
     
  19. MomoftheMagik

    MomoftheMagik Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    2
    Oh, and I almost forgot the most important thing...THANK YOU 08MARINE and many others here for your service to our country!
    God bless you!!:usa:
     
  20. d.mcknight

    d.mcknight Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    0
    As a sort of side note, the idea of finding out things before PS is actually something that came up in my nomination interview. One of the three people on the board was a female Lt. Col who had graduated from the academy. One of her questions was what was I doing to prepare myself for the summer other than the normal physical preparation. She wanted to know how much I knew about what I was getting myself into. Now I doubt my answer is what got me the nomination, but I did get one and she seemed to like my answer.
     

Share This Page