just spoke to a kid who is a plebe, and he mentioned something that hasn't been mentioned before that I know of. Thought I'd share. Current Mids and Alumni will know what I'm talking about right off the bat. Everyone has seen the catalogs. Everyone has seen the documentaries. Everyone has seen the movies (the GOOD ones, not like that abortion that came out earlier this year!). You visit the Yard and get a brief glimpse of the place. You talk to counselors and others who know the reputation of the place, but probably haven't been there. What you end up with is a mental picture of what USNA is, and the caliber of person that attends. The men are all 6 feet tall, hyper-trim, and geniuses. The women are all ravens with brains and killer instincts. No one doubts why they are there. The uniforms are perfect, the rooms are spotless, the grades are wonderful, the linen is clean, etc., etc., etc.... And then........... you get there for real. Turns out that there are overweight Mids, and Mids on academic probation. Mids who you wonder how they managed to scrape enough social grace together to get passed the Congresscritter's secretary. You have some upperclass dweeb with a neck no bigger than a pencil and with a crooked gigline howling at you for having lint on your shirt. In other words, the gleaming preconception dies a rather horrid, bloody death. It is one of the first letdowns you'll experience: Mids aren't supermen. They're just regular folks, albeit better than the average Joe you'd run into in the street. Some folks will realize this and feel a bit betrayed, and wonder if they really want to still be there. It's natural. Not much advice that can be offered to counter it other than to be ready for it. No matter what the literature says, you will find both diamonds and turds at USNA, so just be ready for it, and don't let the realization trip you up. All you have to do is commit to being one of the model Mids instead of one of the less-than-model ones. Wish I'd warned 2010 about this sooner, but I'm sure most have figured it out by now. Now it's up for 2011.