Dark Ages January 2017

Sandydesert

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So the mids are back for Semester 2, and the "dark ages" are here. My question is: What can we do as parents , if anything, to help cheer our plebe up during the dark ages? The first week of classes just ended, and mine has already commented about sleep deprivation this soon in the new semester. He has also made comments about how depressing the winter weather is ( cold, sleet, rain, etc.)

I know there are many businesses that will deliver treats /snacks, etc., to mids, but mine is not a fan of candy , junk food, or sugary stuff. He says he is too busy to go to his mailbox and get any mail, so sending him a card or care package is apparently out as well. He wants money (what a shock) because when they get liberty, on Saturdays, they treat their friends to a dinner or lunch if "friend" is celebrating a birthday. But just putting a small amount of money in his account doesn't seem like enough. Reminding him that spring will be here in 60 days isn't really helpful to him right now.

Any suggestions?
 

Capt MJ

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The Big Cheese/Sammy's Deli, on Randall St., steps from Gate 1, is a well-known local favorite for its great sandwiches. Usually ranked #1 in local polls. Steps above Jimmy John's or Subway, but a bit pricier due to quality ingredients.

Owners Bob and Judy will set up an account for your mid; just call them to set up the charge going to you. DS gets to enjoy great sandwiches, treat friends as needed. I think they still do this.

410-263-6915

Mmmm - I may have to go there and get an Annapolitan this week. Melted Brie, roast turkey, Granny Smith apple slices, and I special request the Little Italy Baltimore crusty roll instead of the multi-grain bread.

The menu:
https://www.allmenus.com/md/annapolis/24787-the-big-cheese-sammys-deli/menu/

The Dark Ages end with spring break in March. Learning how to deal with coaching himself through dreary times will be a good skill for future deployments and other not-fun times. He will figure it out. He will also deepen the bonds with new friends during these times, as they slog through together. They are embracing the suck together.

With luck, there will be a snowfall of significant depth to cause snow days and an excuse for a Regiment vs Regiment snowball fight. Search YouTube for videos.

There will be another 3-day weekend in Feb to look forward to.

It's a relatively short winter here. Daffodils will be well up in early March.
 

ktnatalk

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My second class DD said spend time with friends and company mates, and take advantage of liberty. Make sure he gets out instead of staying cooped up in the hall. She never thought it was much different from the fall and she came home way less in the spring semester than fall semester plebe year.

How close is he with his sponsor family? I hope he has a good relationship with them and visits often. There is a sponsor dinner at King Hall on 3 Feb. Has he invited them and bought the ticket for them yet?
 

NavyHoops

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Agree with everything stated here. Dark ages do suck, but as mentioned it is a great tool to learn how to get through months 3-4 of a 6 month deployment. Going back Plebe year can be rough and takes a little bit to get back in the groove. Send him cards, pictures of the family pet, a short text or email. Doesn't need to be profound, just thinking of him and keep his head up. He will draw closer to his friends and classmates. I know money isn't always fun to send as a parent but it allows access to movies, food, etc. Gift cards or cheap movie tickets from places like Costco are always nice for their mall adventures. Chick filet or any of the other mall restaurants that are staples of a Mid's Saturday diet are good too. This is part of the process that every single grad as has been through and what draws all of to have a bond. And yes, the giant snow ball fights are fun.
 
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THS

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Sandydesert, every so often we'll text DS a cute or funny family photo when he was young - he gets a chuckle out of them. We also send short texts of encouragement and support - even though he doesn't always respond. Since his first semester as a Plebe, he prefers cash transfers over care packages for food and entertainment expenses outside the Yard. I know for sure what's helping him thru the Dark Ages is the trip he's planned with friends during spring break.
 

Sandydesert

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My second class DD said spend time with friends and company mates, and take advantage of liberty. Make sure he gets out instead of staying cooped up in the hall. She never thought it was much different from the fall and she came home way less in the spring semester than fall semester plebe year.

How close is he with his sponsor family? I hope he has a good relationship with them and visits often. There is a sponsor dinner at King Hall on 3 Feb. Has he invited them and bought the ticket for them yet?
I will ask him about the sponsor dinner, although it is almost impossible to get info from him. I depend on this forum and the Class of 2020 fb parent page to get info, lol. I know the first names of his new roommates. He won't tell me their last names or hometowns. "Why, Mom? You're going to try to see if their moms are on facebook if you know their names".
 

UHBlackhawk

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My second class DD said spend time with friends and company mates, and take advantage of liberty. Make sure he gets out instead of staying cooped up in the hall. She never thought it was much different from the fall and she came home way less in the spring semester than fall semester plebe year.

How close is he with his sponsor family? I hope he has a good relationship with them and visits often. There is a sponsor dinner at King Hall on 3 Feb. Has he invited them and bought the ticket for them yet?
I've found that very few plebes take advantage of the sponsors unless they knew them previously. Really a shame.
 

ktnatalk

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I've found that very few plebes take advantage of the sponsors unless they knew them previously. Really a shame.
That's unfortunate. I had a CAPTAIN who HAS a great relationship with her sponsor parents. They went to her 25th wedding anniversary a few years ago!
 

UHBlackhawk

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That's unfortunate. I had a CAPTAIN who HAS a great relationship with her sponsor parents. They went to her 25th wedding anniversary a few years ago!
Yeah, my brothers had great relationships with their sponsors at USNA. Different times.
 

Capt MJ

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We seem to have anywhere from 5-12 for dinner most Saturdays... used the 7-qt slow cooker to make the "Fleet Vat" of marinara, 8 for dinner tonight. Three weekenders.
The dinner table tends to be a wardroom-style free-for-all of sea stories, Tales from Bancroft, issues to discuss, spring break plans, lovelife dilemmas, how does X work in the Fleet, laughter - and no devices in sight.

Just took some Plebes back. Had an '04 sponsor alumna do a surprise drop-in to show off engagement ring. Ops normal here. I'm watching Saturday Night Live with two sponsor daughters right now.

I do think social habits have changed with the advent of Netflix and personal device access to entertainment.

Some of us watched "Bridge of Spies" tonight on the large screen. Others were off doing their own thing or snoozing.
 

Capt MJ

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CAPT, are these your Plebes? I thought you said you weren't going to sponsor new ones this year? :scratch:
We were asked to take some - original sponsor had moved, and we always seem to have adoptees or tagalongs. I guess we can't go cold turkey just yet.
 

THS

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DS still visits his sponsor parents on occasion, he has even brought his roommates along for dinner. I don't think he visits them as often as he did when he was a plebe, his circle of friends/activities has broadened, even more so now that he is 21!
 

UHBlackhawk

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I think USNA must be different culture than USMA. I know my brothers had sponsors and were very close to them, even after graduation. I think one brother's entire company was adopted by a retired admiral and his wife.
One brother was later based at USNA and every time I visited there were Mids at his house. Some Mids on runs would even stop by his house, let out his lab (which use to be mine), out of the back yard in the morning and take her with them on their runs.
At USMA I find few families have luck sponsoring. My wife reached out to four, and we never heard back from any of them.
We have had the children of friends over, but never any of those we reached out to.
 

THS

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Sandydesert, we got an unexpected call from DS this afternoon. He said he had time to chat before hitting the town. We haven't sent a care package so far this year and offered to do so if he wanted anything - he and his room mates asked for GS cookies! Just a suggestion.
 

Just Dad

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Hi Sandy,

I put off writing a response to this thread until I had something useful to say; I think I have that now. We heard EXACTLY the same thing from our Mid, "I'm too busy to pick up a package". Her mom and I ignored her. We packed up some coffee from the place she used to like to study at, a mug with the Seattle skyline on it, some chocolates, some desk toys (I always send toys). NOTE, if any of your plebes sit at a 'mates desk' that has a nice big supply of magnets to fiddle with ------ you're welcome. We also include PSummer type letters with the package.

I am with my DD here in DC as I write this. While we were walking around town today I asked if she had enjoyed the package; had the effort to retrieve from the PO exceeded it's value? "Dad I was so wrong about that, it was like Christmas when I opened it up! Things from home. Knowing I am still grounded there. Knowing that you all were thinking about me and went to that trouble ------ that package was a real big lift".

DD even told me to write this note to the board.

I'd tell any Plebe parent to pack up some things that uniquely identify home and ship them off pronto.
 
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SCMids

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Both of my Mids think the Dark Ages thing is overrated. Neither have thought it was bad at all.

Youngster blues, however, seems to be real. Early in the fall. Kinda of a down time. Good thing is it doesn't last long.
 

Capt MJ

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Both of my Mids think the Dark Ages thing is overrated. Neither have thought it was bad at all.

Youngster blues, however, seems to be real. Early in the fall. Kinda of a down time. Good thing is it doesn't last long.
Youngster Slump in the fall...when they are over being glad they aren't plebes anymore, and still can't have civvies in town liberty or a car, and have nearly six semesters to go. General ARGHHHH feeling.
 
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