Year One At Kings Point In 8 Easy, Bearable Phases

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by jasperdog, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    17
    Last week at a welcome aboard event I was asked by an incoming Plebe Candidate (Class of 2015) what I could tell him to help him get through his first year at USMMA. There's often lots of advice, most of it good advice in my opinion in this forum, on these sorts of subjects but to me the best piece of advice I can think of is "eat the elephant one bite at a time." When you are 18 and want to go out in the world a year or even 11 months seems like a long time. The fact your first year at USMMA is really a series of phases and in those phases the atmosphere, focus and mood changes. I look at each year at KP as having 8 phases, when you as incoming Plebes are having those hard moments - and everyone has them "WTH did I come here? Life here "stinks"? Who is that "jerk" with that big red cup in his hand with his arm around my girlfriend in that picture on facebook at "state u"? etc. It helps to realize it's not another 11 months until life changes for you but maybe 8 weeks or less. So here's the USMMA Calendar in Jasperdog's 8 phases (oh this helps for us parents too):


    Phase 1 – “Reporting Aboard; Indoc through “Parent’s aka Acceptance Day Weekend” – 7/7 through 9/5/2011 (~8 weeks)

    USMMA at it’s second best and it’s worst for Plebe Candidates. The worst part: You will likely realize just how different your next four years, especially this first year will be from the upcoming four years will be from your high school friends who are going to “normal/regular colleges” will be. The second best part, well to some degree the same as above, and aside from the heat and humidity the campus, especially the waterfront is really beautiful this time of year. Also you will start to realize just how great the opportunities after graduation will start to be for you and that you are a part of the Kings Point family, even if a big part of that familial aspect of the institution is “misery loves company” for plebes. Finally you will start to understand why all Kings Pointers punk and pull pranks on their friends.

    Phase 2 – Parents day until end of first trimester (9/5 – 10/30/2011; ~8 weeks). Once the second and third class A splits go to sea and the B splits return; everyone in the regiment resident on campus, except your Class (2015) has been to sea for at least some of their training. This is the first sort of “exhale” from the culture and attitude that has been very regimentally focused; also over the upcoming week (10/30 – 11/7 or 8) you will see some of your classmates who had academic issues depart. This all causes the focus and the priorities to be clearly grounded and fully understood by all: 1) Academics first and foremost; 2) Staying sane and doing whatever it takes to do so for you given you really do understand the pressure of the accelerated academic year, which usually means, your sports or extracurriculars second; and 3) The Regimental Aspects of life at USMMA third since i) you’ve had this stuff down since the end of Indoc and it’s not hard and ii) everyone tells you they rarely if ever even had to wear Kahkis on their real ship in the real industry, with some exceptions for guys who only sailed MSC.

    More on the later phases later but here they are:

    Phase 3- Start of second tri through Christmas break: (11/3/2011 through 12/20/2011) (7 weeks) More of the same but you and most of your class (2015) know what it will take to get through this lace and you are determined to do so.

    Phase 4 – New years through end of second trimester finals also known as the dark days of winter (1/3 – 3/13) (10 weeks) It’s dark, it’s cold, you are sick of cleaning toilets, etc. – hang in there, find something to stay sane with; Southerners find a way (route) to walk to get to class that doesn’t involve marching where the cold, biting wind off the Sound doesn’t sting your face. Also help those guys having Academic trouble, and understand as much pressure as you might be dealing with, they are dealing with more. Oh and don’t worry about “recognition” – as the guys from Brooklyn say, just “fuggeddaboutit” right now, some sick upper classmen will just taunt you with it.

    Phase 5 – End of Second Trimester through “Recognition” could be two or three weeks could be most more but likely ~ 3/14 through the last week or so of April (~6 weeks) – Really a time to sit back and understand that flicker you see at the end of the tunnel that is plebe year is really probably a light and not a train. In other words while you probably can’t wait for recognition and plebedom to come to an end, you can quietly accept that it will soon. Just don’t give those who break your chops about that sort of stuff any more satisfaction that they are not plebes like you. For those that will be going B split focus on making sure your GPA at the end of this first year gives you some cushion as Sea years usually aren’t where your GPA goes up…

    Phase 6 – Recognition until the end of License Exams (April 29 through June 1st) (~6 weeks) So now the tides are turned. That Regimental Officer who drove you crazy since Indoc, where’s he lately. Oh yeah pulling hair out and studying for license. Those cool first class zombo’s all confident and laid back who you watched these past few months with envy, yep they’re pulling their hair out too – hey it’s only the rest of their lives they’re worried about. You, your fourth classman, sure it’s the lowest on the USMMA “totem pole” but guess what – compared to some of those guys right now, life is pretty good.

    Phase 7 – End of License to “June/Kings Point Weekend” ) (2 weeks – 6/1 to 6/14) – Enjoy life, pass finals and watch out for Class of 2013 Regcocks, but just don’t do anything too stupid, and if you do, try not to get caught…

    Phase 8 – June Weekend (4 days) 6/15 – 6/19; Class of 2015 you made it through year one in 7 easy, reasonable phases; Class of 2012 – WOW you’re thinking “What a long strange trip it’s been…” or something like that; me – I’m hoping 6/17/2012 will be the happiest Father’s Day of my life and 6/18/2012 will be the fourth major milestone in our family’s history that happens at USMMA.

    Buckle up and enjoy the ride folks, it's always exciting and strangely, often fun.:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  2. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    2
    Jd, Thanks! I will read this over and over again until I have it memorized! :thumb:
     
  3. g-man

    g-man Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2009
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Number 4 was the hardest for my son. We are from Texas. He has never experienced such short daylight hours and it really effected him. Sending encouraging notes really seemed to help.
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Messages:
    4,628
    Likes Received:
    5
    You forgot Phase 2.5 - that incredibly melancholy depression that comes in early September when KP gets beaten down by Coast Guard as the annual Superintendent's Trophy competition begins.

    :zip:

    :biggrin:
     
  5. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,032
    Likes Received:
    17

    Luigi: You sooo funny! Totally impossible and implausable. As if any group of well trained and educated mariniers, even those from the state maritime academies, let alone USMMA, would or could ever bee foolish enough to care about anything a group of Coasties could/would do or say... Besides this year we plan on kicking your butts anyway. :wink:
     
  6. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    160
    Excellent summary. Definitely break the year up into smaller increments or it will absolutely break you down. Thinking about how long it is till the end of the year when you are struggling anyway will not help you.

    Those dark days of winter can sure be a killer. Its dark when you go to class and its dark when you get back from class and you only see the sunlight marching to lunch and back to class after ... Ugggggh! It reminds me of my trip through the Bering Sea in November, The sky was grey at morning coffee and the light was fading at afternoon coffee. That was a baaaaaaad case of channel fever.
     
  7. cg2014

    cg2014 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well done!
     
  8. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    554
    Likes Received:
    3
    Loved the review. Very well done. For those from sunnier climates, make sure you get your exercise, take the Vitamin D tablets and stress vitamins....assuming as a Plebe you can. check on it. Yeh, and get extra bright lightbulbs for your room.
     
  9. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    2
    Let's dust this post off and take a deep breath.......
    By my count tomorrow is the end of phase 2. How does this year compare with recent previous years. Do we have a weather report for KP? Not just talking about the snow here. How have recent changes affected daily life? The "close contact combat operations with less than lethal weapons training" of last night aka pillow fight seems to have been a hit. :yllol: What does this week bring?
     
  10. beyond

    beyond KπΣ15'

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    84
    This is the e-mail sent to all of the plebes [in regard to the pillow fight]:

    There is a video of it on youtube, and a much better video on facebook.

    So storm on the horizion for sure. Besides that all is quiet, select plebes are just waiting to learn there fate academically, and if they will live to fight another tri at KP or if this is the end of the road.
     
  11. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    160
    Losing privileges because of a pillow fight during finals week? Sounds like someone takes themselves too seriously. Have they outlawed the 10 O'Clock scream too?

    When I was a plebe we gave most of the Reg Staff a shower party when they came to judge our company's Halloween decorations. All they did to us was disqualify us which we thought was way cooler than winning.
     
  12. kpmom2013

    kpmom2013 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0
    It was probably the soda cans in the bottom of the pillowcases that resulted in the discipline.
     
  13. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    160
    Ouch! ... yeah, definitely not OK.
     
  14. lilcola99

    lilcola99 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    0
    I remember reading similar advise for plebe year and it helped my ds and myself greatly. We found January to be the worst, getting back to the grind after being home for a little was a difficult adjustment. Past the January blues the time begins to move quickly and before we knew it they were recognized. Are there any steps for sea year-(A splits, gone for the holidays:thumbdown:), they would be greatly appreciated.
     
  15. aooga15

    aooga15 Parent

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    5
    good one

    Jasperdog-

    this was good.

    I am going to copy and paste it and send it to my 2015 DS.

    Aooga15
     
  16. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2010
    Messages:
    723
    Likes Received:
    2
    Let's open up this thread again. Here we are at Phase Four. Lots going on at the campus. Lots of comings and goings, ships and people. Say, did anyone check out the Kingspointer when it left to make sure there weren't any stowaways? Lol. My DS's GF is at A& M.
    Also what does it mean in the Strategic Plan press release ( at the very bottom ) the Alumni gift is declined? Monies that have been given are in some account somewhere? Or is this more about what those monies can be spent on? Confused:redface: I thought this "Plan" was a done deal when Admiral Greene was here.
     
  17. aooga15

    aooga15 Parent

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    290
    Likes Received:
    5
    starting phase 4

    ""Phase 4 – New years through end of second trimester finals also known as the dark days...""

    I copied and pasted this ((again)) to send to DS. Looks like he's now in the dark days...... oh myyyyyyyy.
     
  18. bugsy

    bugsy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0
    The dark days indeed.

    And you can tell that DS mood is darker. Phase 3 seemed frantic but satisfying. Phase 4 seems frantic and alittle more depressed.

    Phase 3 all he talked about was what he might do on his A split sea tour. Phase 4 its, I hope I pull a 3.0, just flunked a quiz, reg cock this or that.
     
  19. bugsy

    bugsy Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    202
    Likes Received:
    0
    Beginning of phase 5.

    Congrats 2015. Your marching towards victory.
     
  20. ConcernedAlumni

    ConcernedAlumni Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0

    The Alumni gift was that the Alumni Foundation was willing to pay for the consulting fee for the development of the "Strategic Plan." Of course, that would also mean that the alumni might actually get some input into its development. This "action" (or would it be a "non" action?) by MARAD seems like one more example of making sure the Alumni of this Academy have as little as possible to do with helping to direct its future. In any event, this does seem to highlight once again a major difference from the other four Federal Academies. :bang:
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012

Share This Page