Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by 23Lt, Jun 8, 2019.
Wondering if anyone has some advice for I Day and the days leading up. For a Plebe to be.
Browse the dozens of threads here about I-Day.
If you’re the P2B:
- enjoy time with family and friends
- pare down your go bag to the minimum
- re-check all your PTR checklists
- gather all required paperwork, think carefully about what you need to have on you as you move through various stations
- learn the stuff you are supposed to learn
- heed all the run, run and run tips and work on stamina and core strength
- eat well, sleep well
- if you’re not in the same time zone, shift your wake-up times
- practice showering fast, and if applicable, shaving face fast
- don’t leave your room a mess, offer to assist with family projects, practice being a young adult
- enjoy time with family and friends
Thank you, @Capt MJ !
Great tips by Capt MJ. Honestly just go with a good attitude. Realize that is about the only thing you have control over. There will be bad minutes and hours and good ones. Help your classmates. You will be going from big fish little pond, to big pond little fish. Take it one meal at a time, one day, one major event to another. Most importantly.... all of us old grads made it, so can you. Good luck.
Be as physically prepared as you can be. Plebe summer tests your physical and mental strength. If you enter in great physical shape, that’s half the battle. My Plebe loved the physical stuff. You will do a lot of neat stuff. Ropes course, O-course, sailing. As for the other stuff, try to remember it is positive pressure with a purpose. They are breaking you down to build you back up. Although Plebe Summer is difficult, everyone is going through the same thing. My DS looked back and had many great memories. Good luck!
And if you are a parent, just be supportive. Even if your plebe to be isnt showing it, they are (or will be) anxious. Nervous. Excited. Apprehensive. All of the above. Some of the above.
So will you.
Just be there for them. They will be bouncing ideas and thoughts all over the place. Be a listener. A support. Don’t be a fixer unless they ask (honestly the time for that is over. And you did good!!).
It’s a somewhat stressful time, resist the urge to react however you do when dealing with stress and simply ENJOY each other, and be there for them.
Oh - and those feelings of unease, stress or anxiety as you approach I-Day and this big change and wondering if you can really do this and OMG what have I done - I’ll let you in on three little secrets:
- It’s perfectly normal to feel this way, before every significant change in the pattern of your life.
- I felt it before I went to OCS, to my first duty station and every duty station, and I was pretty much sleepless the nights before my incoming change of command ceremonies, wondering if it was a fluke I had been chosen and if I would know what to do when tested.
- Once you’re there and in it, those feelings go away, and your brain is engaged with thinking and doing in the moment, not projecting ahead.
Once you accept this is all quite normal and break out your toolkit to handle, you’ll realize you’ll be just fine. Your toolkit should include some mind-calming techniques, such as SEAL box breathing (look it up) and the ability to coach yourself down if you’re really wound up. This is a life skill. The best leaders I worked for always projected calm self-confidence, even if everything was falling to pieces around them.
Finally, put yourself in the mindset of not “how am I going to kick butt and shine over everyone else,” which was fine for what got you to this point, but for PS, try “how can I help others who might struggle, how can I accept help gracefully when I struggle, so that WE as a class can shine.” These people will become your lifelong friends, and the mutual support and coaching will be what gets you through during the inevitable down periods during the 4-year relentless grind that starts right after PS. That is a common theme among all SA grads I know, including DH. I got a taste of it at OCS, but 4 months does not build the same depth as 4 years.
We’re finding out that our P2B would like us (parents) to just chill. “You know, Dad, it’ll be okay - I got this.” My biggest worry is that DW is going to lose it on i Day - lately, there’s been a lot of sentences that begin, “This will be the last time we...” and then tears. So far, not in front of DS. DS is son number 3 of 4 - you would think this would get easier. The first two stayed local for college and are still local. We’ll all be fine. We’re launching one on his great adventure and it’s not apprehension for what lies ahead but a wistful recognition of the end of a wonderful chapter in all of our lives.
My DS was the guilty party here and he started with the Mother's Day card he gave me. I sobbed like a blubbering idiot and couldn't even read it till later. Hard to stay strong these last few weeks when all I want to do is be selfish and not share his last days with everyone. But I'm trying to take the chill pills.
Don’t overlook this change represents new opportunities for you and spouse for things old and new you’ve been wanting to have time for. You may still have some in the nest, but this is the start of the transition time to eventual empty-nest, and your lives post-kids-at-home is something to look forward to as a time of personal growth and enrichment you may have set aside for awhile.
I always recall the mom of one of our sponsor mids, a busy schoolteacher, mother and wife. While son was a mid, she went back to school, took professional photography courses, and plunged into the hobby she had set aside and which fed her soul in a different way. She won awards, published a book, astonished her son who could now appreciate hidden talents in his mom.
Hugs to you!! IT DOES GET EASIER!!! You will be ‘practicing’ your new life for a bit. But in all things, with practice, it gets ‘easier’. A couple (practice) trips home and you realize ‘he ISNT gone forever!’ So the time in between isnt bad and instead of being sad, you are happy and excitedly looking forward.
Plebe summer was hard. Join the photo options and find your Mid. And share with friends and family! Your heart will swell with pride and amazement at what they are accomplishing...more than you or they ever thought they could. And if you get distress from you Mid in a call or letter, rely on your parent pages for help. They have ‘been there, done that’ and can talk you through it.
After plebe summer, you will have communication and that will help you a TON. They will send little texts, and vice versa. And pictures of really, really cool things they never would have been exposed to had they not ventured on this journey. It isnt long before the angst is quelled by amazing “pinch me” moments.
You got this! It gets easier!! I promise. We actually have a fat-head of DS, and tape it to a chair (for a bit of humor), sometimes add a FaceTime (ie during a birthday). You figure out how to make the absence not THE issue. Just a thing.
Message me if you ever need a shoulder....
Our families match! My Mid is also #3 of 4. Older two are local. 4th still home. One thing that we have learned from this 1.5 yrs, is it’s hard to keep the focus on all the kiddos. BC the things #3 is doing are SO incredible.
Also realizing how difficult it was for #4, when #3 left. And for #4 to see mom and dad upset. We left #4 home for that very reason. So he didn’t witness all the emotions surrounding Iday. Yes, it’s a neat day but it’s over the top emotional. No way around it.
Thank you for your encouragement. DS will be attending the Coast Guard Academy. I am reading all I can for tips on induction day. I appreciate your words of encouragement. I figured parents all reacted the same across all the academies!
We spent a few days exploring DC before I-day with just our immediate family. We didn’t invite any friends, grandparents etc, and I’m glad we didn’t. I’m so glad we had that special time with just the 5 of us. Checked into walking distance rental the day before. We all noticed the DS got quiet once we arrived in DTA. Morning of I day we were at Chick and Ruth’s and we tried to keep things fun and light hearted. His sisters were trying so hard to be fun and supportive. He walked so fast toward check in that we could barely keep up! We were all smiles, waved cheerfully as he walked in with his group and just as soon as he was out of sight my poor husband has his arms around 3 women who were shamelessly ugly crying all over him. So my advice is fake that smile till your mid is out of sight
Then we hit the mid store did some serious damage on the credit card! Then we had a seat near the stairs at the mid store and watched plebes coming out. Never saw ours but it was honestly therapeutic just watching and seeing they were all ok.
Also, lots of talk about what to pack. My kid didn’t even take a bag. Just the folder with the paperwork he needed and a baggie with his phone and charger. We mailed a few things later but honestly they can show up with the clothes on their back and comfy running shoes on their feet. Don’t over think it and don’t show up being a special snowflake who needs more stuff than everyone else.
DS will be a first set detailer. Be afraid! Be very afraid! JK. All of the above. This happens every year. Prepare as much as you can and then try to relax. Remember, it’s your first time, not theirs. They know what they are doing and are well intentioned. Just know that a lot of thought and effort is going into you plebe summer by those who will administer it. After the summer, they will become your friends, if not before. Think rite of passage, keep it in perspective and you’ll do fine.
Great advice here. Will add just a few points:
Visit the Yard and get your Mid Store shopping done a couple days before I-Day. Avoid the crush the day before and certainly on I-Day. Being on the Yard a couple days before — and taking an official tour — is less stressful when you’re not surrounded by other nervous P2Bs and their families.
Hit DC or Baltimore the day before. Enjoy a relaxed day without much of a schedule. Just let it flow and enjoy without much expectation. Let your P2B be pensive if they want. And let them choose that last dinner.
Don’t try to do it all on I-Day. Certainly hit the picnic — good place to meet new people. Do the Supe’s briefing — you’ll beam with pride. But beyond that...I say, get off the Yard until Swearing In. The place is packed, it’s hot and humid. Go back to your place and rest. Or walk around DTA.
Stake out a post-Swearing In spot early. Figure out what will be shady at 6:30 pm. Throw down a blanket or set up chairs. Have cold drinks — clear liquid! — and a sandwich ready. Don’t ask a million questions. Your freshly sworn-in plebe will be grateful.
Admitting I often wander off-topic in thread discussions, the OP asked for tips for the Plebe to be, presumably her or himself, which I thought was a cool thing to do. Some good stuff here meant for the P2B.
There are more than enough threads addressing all the parent issues - parking, hotels, Mid Store, how long to stay, I Day vs PPW, care packages, mail, visiting, things to bring for the post meet-up, parental game face, etc.
The P2B will experience something entirely different that day.
@Capt MJ is right to bring this discussion back. So for the P2B, from the perspective of my former P2B:
Eat a nutritious — but not necessarily big — breakfast. Protein, for sure, for the long-lasting energy. And hydrate well.
You likely won’t sleep well the night before. So sleep well the couple nights ahead of that.
If you plan to walk to Alumni Hall, tell your family that you’ll be walking very, very fast. Without even trying. It’ll just happen. Warn them so they keep up.
For the Plebe-to-Be . . .
Think "we" not "I." As in, "How can I help US be better" vs. "How can I be better than them."
No one cares how great you were in h.s. or that you had 3 noms or that you were admitted to all 5 SAs or that you had an LOA or that you were valedictorian and team captain and . . . Everyone around you was just as great.
Do your best at every evolution. Recognize that there's a lot that's new for most (sailing, shooting, marching, etc.). You'll be great at some things and not so great at others. Ditto for your classmates. It's ok to be not great at everything. You earn the respect of your peers and detailers if you give 100%, even if that 100% isn't all that terrific.
Get used to being hot, sweaty, sticky. For the women -- no blowdrying, no makeup (you won't want to wear it other than Sunday mornings). It does get better Ac Year.
Write your parents -- even if just a postcard. It means a lot to them.
Realize the old adage, "Look to your left; look to your right; one of you won't be here in four years" is no longer true. If you want to stay, chances are >95% that you'll get through.
And read the sticky by Memphis at the top of this forum.
Parents . . . I've written this almost every year . . . WRITE your kid. My father wrote me every single day (and I do mean every single day) that I was at USNA. Mostly it was just "stuff" -- what he did that day, what my mother did, what my dog did, what the neighbors did. My mother sent me newspaper clippings (in the days when we had newspapers). I can't begin to tell you how great it was to have a letter at every mail call -- everyone was so jealous (in a good way). I suppose as a WWII Marine, my dad understood how important it was to get letters from home. It seems hard -- just do it. Set aside 10 minutes each day -- your plebe will never forget it.
1985 brings up a great one... my father is a gruff kind of guy and he wrote me every day. I still remember those letters. The weather, town gossip, what the dog is doing, what was for dinner... I loved it. Write often. Your Kids will remember it for their lives.
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