Ask a MIDN

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Engineer2021, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    I wanted to start this thread as a way to answer questions people may have for a current Midshipman. I am finishing up my youngster year and am super excited for the opportunities coming up this summer and to get the privileges that come with being a 2/c . I feel far enough removed from the process and plebe year to be objective but it is all fairly fresh in my mind. I used this forum when I was applying and found it super helpful.

    A little background about me. I was a direct admit out of high school and was a homeschooled student. I play intramurals at the Academy and am involved in several ECAs. I am an Engineering major and was a "high validator" out of high school so I can answer any questions you have about the pros and cons of that.

    For those of you still waiting. One of the best midshipman I know got into the academy on his third try and is about to graduate. He has made a huge impact on my life and on the lives of my friends. He has told me more than once that if he had gotten in on his first or second time he doesn't think he would have been able to impact as many people as he has. I often wish I had taken a year off to grow and mature before entering the academy.

    Send Any Questions you have my way!
     
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  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Your voice is so welcome. The topics you touch on - home school, validation, re-applying, and others, come up so many times here. You are kind to give back and share gouge.
     
  3. JW2431

    JW2431 Member

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    Hi @Engineer2021! Thank you so much for your willingness to answer our questions.

    I graduated last year and am currently taking a gap year. I've been accepted to the Academy and I'm super excited! Even though taking this year off was an overall beneficial experience for me and my family, I unfortunately haven't been able to keep up on my studies as much as I would've liked to. The last time I took a math class in school was Calculus in 11th grade (I was ahead of the math curriculum by a year and Calc was the highest math course offered at my school; I also took a Calc course on and off last year and this year). I was also ahead in the science curriculum and took Biology in 9th grade, Chemistry in 10th, Physics in 11th, and Anatomy in 12th.

    Because I took some of these courses a long time ago, I was thinking about taking review "courses" on Khan Academy (Trigonometry, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, etc.) to freshen my memory. I might be asking an obvious question, but is this a good idea or should I do more, such as buying "real" courses online? Am I just wasting my time doing this? Also, are there options to test out at the Academy?

    Please tell me what you would do in this situation. Any input is appreciated!

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @JW2431

    When you get your permit to report package they will give you more information on validations including a link to math exams on Blackboard. My year they provide practice for the pre-calculus test everyone has to take. I highly recommend doing the practice and using free online resources to review topics you are hazy on. You also have the option to take the Calc 1 validation at that time. The validation was similar to the final exam the academy gives Calc 1 students. Old exams can be found here https://www.usna.edu/MathDept/resources/course-materials.php.

    I would lightly review Calc and Chem if you have some free time at home but to be honest you probably won't remember most of it by the time you get to the Academic Year. Take this time to enjoy your family and to work out. As ready as you are for the next chapter of your life remember that I would give anything to go back and just have a few weeks doing things with my family. Every time I saw my parent's plebe year I would just eat food and crash as soon as I got to the hotel. It isn't much better this year. When I went home for Christmas leave I slept 12 hours a day for the first 10 or so days just trying to recover from the stress and sleep debt.

    If you go through a practice exam a do a light review and still don't feel comfortable then don't try to validate Calc. I am grateful for my background in Calculus because you need it for most of the core classes here (even if you are a nonengineer). While taking the class again may be boring at times it is more important to ensure you have the background.

    Everyone will take the Chemistry Exam and English exam. This happens a few days into the summer. I remember taking Chemistry and not recalling anything even though I had reviewed it 4-5 days prior when at home. Plebe brain is fairly common. To be honest I don't really remember most of first semester Plebe year because of Plebe brain where all you can focus on is surviving.

    You will also have to fill out a survey on the validation exams you wish to take. I recommend asking to take the physics exam and any language exams you have any experience in even if you don't think you can validate. It is a great time to get out of gray space and potentially take a nap during the summer.
     
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  5. kit kat

    kit kat Member

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    I have a silly question, regarding care packages over the plebe summer. A friend of DS is finishing his first year at the USAFA. I mentioned that I will be sending care packages to DS over plebe summer and his eyes widened in horror and he told me not to do that. Is that just an Air Force thing? Or should parents send the occasional care package to their plebe? If so, what are some things to include? I've read all sorts of conflicting advice!
     
  6. 23Lt

    23Lt USNA '23 Appointee

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    @Engineer2021

    When going through the process of validating courses, will you know which validations will move you into more advances class or which will just allow you to not take the class?

    Hope this question makes sense. Thank you for taking the time!
     
  7. ders_dad

    ders_dad Member

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    Are there validation tests for foreign language during Plebe Summer?

    Also DS just found out about carrier landings - do they still happen.
     
  8. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @kit kat

    SEND CARE PACKAGES !!

    There is nothing wrong with sending care packages. The chaplains at the academy work to make sure every kid gets a package. My family had me pack my own care package. We sent it out about two days before I-day and I got it a few days into plebe summer. I put compression shorts in it, a hairbrush (they didn't issue one my year I think this has changed), a few drink flavor packets I like, cliff bars and pictures from home. I got two other packages over the summer my parents sent based on what I told them I needed from phone calls. Send one of the first packages in an airtight container so they can store things easily. I had to remove everything from my conn locker multiple times and having a sealed container instead of loose items. I think I requested shoe inserts and shampoo and conditioner, a lighter for IPs and bandaids. The Pert 3 in1 that you are issued is great for quick showers but I preferred my own stuff. My mom also sent me pre-addressed envelopes with the stamp already on them to help save me time and encourage me to write more. Guys tend to want more snacks as they are hungry a lot. I was never hungry during the summer and there was stuff to grab from the tables at king hall. I didn't eat many of the snacks people sent.

    I liked the letters better though. Make sure you number the letters so we know what order to read them. Some days I would get one letter some I would get 6. The worst days were when I got none but everyone else in my squad got letters. Encourage friends and family to write as many letters as possible. I would encourage writing short positive messages and writing large so they can be read in low lighting. My mom would send me photos and news articles about my community.

    You will know your kid better than anyone. Just send things you think they would like and appreciate and know that the packages will have a 1-2 week delay time. They will tell you if they need anything through letters or on the phone. Even in the Academic year, there is typically a 3-4 day delay from when the package is received by the post office here.
     
  9. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @23Lt

    There is a thing called a matrix that tells us our schedule based on the major. For the most part, everyone takes the same classes in the first year.
    All the core requirements can be found here. https://www.usna.edu/Academics/Majors-and-Courses/Course-Requirements-Core.php

    Any class that you validate you will not have to take it. You will have to fill that spot with another course. The typical course load is 18 credits. My four semesters here I have taken 18-19-18-20. Validating opens up opportunities for research and study abroad and a few other opportunities.


    I hope this answers the question. If not I am happy to try to explain again.
     
  10. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @ders_dad

    Validation for language exams happens during plebe summer for "high validators." "High validators" have tested out of 4 or so classes. I am not sure about the exact number. This is because having multiple validations will open up space where they could possibly take language to help fill in the gaps in their schedule.

    For everyone else, there are multiple opportunities during the academic year to take the exams. You should take the exams even if you are not planning on taking a language here because they will validate your required humanities electives.
     
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  11. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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  12. 23Lt

    23Lt USNA '23 Appointee

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    @Engineer2021

    Thank you for your response! Quick follow up question: I saw that you can validate Gov if you got a 4 on your AP test. I did so, so would you know for example what I could add into my schedule in its place (just out of curiosity). Thank you!
     
  13. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @23Lt

    I am sorry for the delayed response. School got crazy and I am running on 4ish hours of sleep.

    US Gov would probably get replaced with West in the Pre-Modern World. I didn't validate GOV but I validated English so they put my Gov and Naval History together first semester and then English 2 and West in the Pre-Modern together the second semester.
     
  14. SenseiLuke

    SenseiLuke Member

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    I’m planning to visit Annapolis with the family for spring break. What are some things we can do while we’re there? I know there’s a tour and museum, but anything cool happening in the next week?
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    While waiting for a mid’s-eye-view answer (they are likely doing schoolwork or getting some rack time), the usual recommendations are:

    - Sitting in on an Admissions brief with family.
    https://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Connect/index.php

    - Going to the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center. Film, exhibits, gift store, book guided walking tour, pick up maps.
    https://www.usnabsd.com/for-visitors/

    - Public access places you can walk into on your own:
    The Chapel
    USNA Museum
    The front doors leading into Bancroft Hall (the dorm) where you can see a sample mid room and some great photos, and go up the steps to Memorial Hall, one of the most special places at USNA.

    - The Drydock grill and snack bar.
    https://www.usnabsd.com/naval-academy-dining/drydock/

    - Noon formation and marching into lunch, if scheduled.
    https://www.usnabsd.com/for-visitors/tips-for-visitors/

    Access to USNA: important details are in the link I put with Visitor Center


    You can’t go wrong eating in Annapolis:
    Annapolis Restaurants/Where To Eat 2016/ I-Day CVW Visit Graduation PPW
    https://www.serviceacademyforums.co...t-2016--I-Day-CVW-Visit-Graduation-PPW.47991/
     
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  16. chickennugget

    chickennugget New Member

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    What is a typical daily schedule?

    Do you have free time outside of sports practice to train on your own, particularly in the mornings?
     
  17. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @SenseiLuke

    I would recommend taking a tour of the yard and coming to watch NMF. We have NMF every day now that it is warm. I still find myself in awe of formation when I hear 2,000 or so feet moving in unison. There are also admissions briefs offered that you could go to. When you are walking around feel free to stop any Midshipman and ask them questions. Most of us are more than willing to chat for a few minutes. A good time to catch people is around 1245 when we are released from lunch but don't have class until 1330. Just go to Stribling walk and you should be able to find some people to talk to.

    The town of Annapolis is super cool to walk around. I admit I have not explored it much beyond main street because I am in SDBs or Whites. There are a lot of cool shops to look at.

    We have a few parades coming up if you are here on a Friday. They are kinda cool to see less cool to do. On most Wednesdays, we have a practice parade which is arguably more entertaining than the actual parades. You see all of the same things as the real parade but we are not in our parade uniforms and we will stop to redo things. Going to a practice parade would be a good peek into how midshipman are still people mixed into all the gloss and shine. Our next practice parade is 1600 on the 24th.

    I checked the master schedule and we do not have much next week because of all of the religious events for Easter. There are protestant services and Catholic mass Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday next week. These should be open to the public and you can find the exact times through a quick google search.

    My favorite place to eat is the point crab house in Arnold. I also really like Reynolds Tavern in DTA.

    Capt MJ basically hit everything on the head though.
     
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  18. Engineer2021

    Engineer2021 Member

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    @chickennugget

    Typical Schedule for me
    0640 - Wake up
    0700 - Formation
    0710 -0745 - Quick Breakfast finish school work up
    0755-1145 - Classes
    1205 - Noon meal Formation
    1210-1235 Noon meal
    1250-1320 After Lunch Training ( usually have these 2 to 3 days a week)
    1330-1520 Classes
    1530 - 1830 Sports Period
    1730-1930 Dinner is open
    1900-2000 Mandatory Briefs or time to do ECAs ( usually filled 4 to 5 days a week )
    2000-2300 Study period
    2300 TAPS after this point you have to stay in your company area
    2300-??? Keep Studying until work is done or you fall asleep working

    Repeat


    Yes, technically you can wake up in the morning to work out. Plebes have to do this several times a week. As an upperclassman, the only time I get up early is if I have practice or have to get up for something mandatory. In highschool, I would have morning swim practice and I assumed I would keep up morning workouts while here. The reality is that I am so exhausted all the time I am not going to give up any sleep even to work out. I avoid naps during sports period because I will just wake up more exhausted or fall asleep for 5 hours on accident. I have tripled my previous night's sleep with an afternoon nap before. Getting up from a nap or in the morning is arguably the hardest part of my day. So yes technically you can wake up early to workout. In reality, I don't know any upperclassmen who do this by choice.
     
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  19. SCubb

    SCubb Member

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    Thank you engineer2001 for doing this. DS is applying for 2024. His question - when do you decide what you want to do after commissioning and what was/is your thought process? Your view of pros and cons for SWO v Subs v marines, etc?? Or did you know what you wanted to do upon entering?
     
  20. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Engineer, thanks for doing this. A few questions from an OG to give your view on a few topics that might help some lurkers.

    What are you scheduled for this summer?
    What do you think you want to service select?