Plebe Summer Mentality- To the Class of 2023

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Temple17, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Temple17

    Temple17 Member

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    This forum was a huge help to me when I was applying to USNA so I try to contribute to it in whatever way I can. My two cents regarding plebe summer is as follows:


    Victim vs Victor
    The most important decision you will make during Plebe Summer is whether you are going to be a Victim or a Victor. Victims are people who complain and feel sorry for themselves. Victors are people who strive to perform their best in every situation they are put in. The academy puts you in many uncomfortable situations. It is not fun standing on a bulkhead for hours on in. It is not fun waking up early to do PT. During the academic year, it will not be fun doing Chemistry homework until zero dark thirty. Never allow your self to be a victim of your circumstance. Remember, you chose to come to the United States Naval Academy. It is crucial for you to have a Victor mentality and always think positively. Focus on the reason why you are at the academy. That reason is a little different for everyone, but always think about the Sailors and Marines you will be leading someday. If you think about others as you go through the struggles at the academy you will be more motivated to succeed in all of your endeavors.

    Do your best at all times
    Leading up to my I-Day there were many people who told me that my goal during Plebe Summer should be to fly under the radar. That is terrible advice. Why would someone who cares about you not want you to do your best at all times? You will fail continuously during Plebe Year. But, you should be doing everything possible to be successful at all times. Find ways to accomplish little victories like memorizing a tough rate or making your rack in record time. Find ways during Plebe Summer to be a leader. Help out your classmates if they are struggling with their uniform. Build strong relationships with your fellow Plebes because if you are doing Plebe Year with people you care about it will be much easier. Be a good teammate.

    My thoughts might be a little sporadic but just a few things to think about as you prepare for I-Day.
     
  2. 23Lt

    23Lt Member

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  3. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Great Input Temple. I love the victor v. victim approach !

    Yes, and no. "Fly under the Radar" is too strong a statement. You certainly don't want to attract attention for the wrong reasons, and even getting attention for good reasons can be problematic. Service Academies attract Alpha types (both male and female), and the natural inclination, particularly when young, is to try to be No. 1, and win everything. That is a good thing, and I agree wholeheartedly with giving 100% and doing your best, but sometimes you have to temper that with avoiding "bilging your classmate."

    The incoming Plebes will quickly learn what this means, but you don't want to be "that guy" who gets to the top at the expense of making his classmates look bad. That type of attitude will be quickly recognized by both Detailers and your peers, and both have ways of making your life difficult. The key is to do your best, but if you find yourself really good at something ....use some of your extra talent to assist your classmates who are struggling. You just might find them helping you when you need it.

    ^ This .
     
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  4. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    Good stuff from @Temple17.

    Regarding “victors and victims,” beware the “woe is me” attitude when ac year starts and you begin seeing on social media the wild and crazy times your friends at civilian colleges are having. This might be particularly acute around Halloween, when you’re pulling off your costume and yanking out the textbooks about the same time that they’re heading out for the pre-party.

    Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Because come summer time, when you’re driving a sub in the Atlantic or visiting port in Japan or doing cultural immersion in Israel or sailing offshore in the Caribbean, they could very well be filling cones at Dairy Queen. (Nothing against Dairy Queen, by the way.)
     
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  5. shock-n-awe

    shock-n-awe Member

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    ^^^^^^Good points

    The OP gave a great analogy!

    Some simple examples of doing your best but possibly being over the top and getting “noticed”. There are tons of them, and teammates and detailers will be the ultimate judges of ones attitude of me or we....

    Being a strong runner and leaving your teammates behind .
    Flying through an obstacle course as an individual but watch teammates struggle.

    Being an individual.

    These are just some “obvious “ examples, but doing your best is of course always important. There will be times that everyone will struggle with something. What Plebes do to help each other is by everyone doing their best, even if some are failing, they are still pushing themselves and each other to make it. They work together to get through it is what is most important, as a team.

    “Woe is me” attitude by a Plebe will get noticed, and turn into a
    “Where did everybody go?” very quickly......
     
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  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    For a bit of perspective, every so often I like to post the links to VADM Stockdale’s papers on Stoicism. He used those principles to aid in his survival as a POW. To distill one of his key thoughts, only worry about things you can control, impact or influence.

    This makes for a nice bit of pro reading for a P2B. Long ago, VADM Stockdale was a P2B, preparing to embrace the suck. Both he and Sen McCain, those two now gone from this earth, often credited their USNA and Fleet experiences for giving them the mental toughness they needed. The point of learning to survive the pressure cooker that is USNA is to learn that you CAN. When you’re in the cockpit and on the bridge, with alarms going off, a chaotic tactical situation underway, physical danger present and action is required, you’ll be able to draw on the training and conditioning you have experienced.


    https://www.usna.edu/Ethics/_files/documents/stoicism1.pdf

    https://www.usna.edu/Ethics/_files/documents/Stoicism2.pdf


    My favorite part is the close to Stockdale I:
    (begin quote)
    “I call this whole personal guilt package that Epictetus relied upon, "the reliability of the retribution of the guilty conscience." As I sometimes say, "There can be no such thing as a 'victim; you can only be a 'victim ' of yourself.”
    Remember:
    - Controlling your emotions can be empowering.
    - Your inner self is what you make it.
    - Refuse to want to fear, and you start acquiring a constancy of character that makes it impossible for another to do you wrong.

    Somebody asked Epictetus: "What is the fruit of these doctrines?"
    He answered with three sharp words: "Tranquility, Fearlessness, and Freedom."
    (End quote)

    Tranquility. Fearlessness. Freedom. I just love that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  7. Academy Insider

    Academy Insider New Member

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  8. 23Lt

    23Lt Member

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  9. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO 10-Year Member

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    What a great post by Temple17!

    As stated from the quoted portion of above, success is not always about you. It is about the team. It is sometimes better to "take one for the team," than to worry about the success of oneself. If you are strong in one area, offer to help others -- conversely, if you need help, know when to ask and receive it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, though it is humbling. Can't believe it has been almost 15 years now since I-Day!
     
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