Plebe Summer/Year

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To any new or previous plebes - What was the hardest part, personally, of your experience during plebe summer or year? What was the best part? Did you ever doubt that you should be there? When did you get a feeling that you knew you were in the right place?

Thank you to all!
 

NavyHoops

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Hardest part was failing at it all. Best part was figuring it out and the making friends. Every day until I graduated I wondered how they let me in and kept thinking someone was going to figure it out. The only way I was leaving is if I was thrown out. I thought it was the right place for me from the day I took my recruiting visit. I worked my tail off to graduate.
 

coachkarl

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To any new or previous plebes - What was the hardest part, personally, of your experience during plebe summer or year? What was the best part? Did you ever doubt that you should be there? When did you get a feeling that you knew you were in the right place?

Thank you to all!

I did a podcast with my son about his Plebe year. Happy to send a link if you're interested.
 

mpk19

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Nov 22, 2016
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DS is class of 2021. He absolutely loved PS. Said the hardest parts were interval runs. His initial mile was 6:14 so he was placed in the 5:45 to 6:15 group for interval runs. He said those days were the hardest!

He didn't like rates. He said hardest part so far off AC year is Pro-know ( Profesional knowledge).
 

Old Navy BGO

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He didn't like rates. He said hardest part so far off AC year is Pro-know ( Profesional knowledge).


Do Plebes still do rates/chow calls etc. during the Academic Year ?

I understand the Professional Knowledge program is more formalized than when I was a Plebe..but that is information critical to the chosen profession. I actually found that part of fun --but I was into things like ships, aircrafts and weapons systems as a kid . (I went as far a checking out JANE's from the local library and reading alot of it from cover to cover ...).

Rates were a different story. While there is value to the ability to memorize arcane information and recite it under pressure , most Plebe Rates , including menus, chow calls, days, officers of the watch, events in the yard , Reef Points trivia, etc. are time traps and a means to put the Plebe under stress all the time. When I have visited the Yard the last few trips, I really don't recall seeing Plebes in the Midstore studying the Menu or Plan of the Day before heading into the Hall
 

mpk19

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Do Plebes still do rates/chow calls etc. during the Academic Year ?
Yep, still doing them. He mentioned that he had to do a carousel? Someone messed up during chow call so instead of standing together in hall intersections, they had to walk around while doing chow call.
 

NavyHoops

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Don't see them studying openly like we did because it probably all online now! So they stare at their cell phones.
 

NAVYCAPT93

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Any value to obtaining a copy of Reef Points ahead of time? Harmful due to risk of standing out? Thoughts?
 

Old Navy BGO

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Any value to obtaining a copy of Reef Points ahead of time? Harmful due to risk of standing out? Thoughts?

My view ...while it can't hurt to have a copy of and be generally familiar with some of the basic information (ranks, etc), there is little sense in trying to memorize it beforehand. The Detailers will quickly figure it out, and figure out other ways to create stress. In addition, being the "know it all" creates friction with peers. I think the plebes are all better off starting on a level field, and embracing the suck together , than trying to get a head start. Would be curious what the current plebes think.

As a practical matter, with the exception of Laws of the Navy, which are long and unwieldy, memorizing the other ditties really isn't that difficult. Funny thing, the response to "Why didn't you say Sir ? " got burned or hardwired into my brain -- I can still recite that verbatim, without thought, 30+ years later..
 

usna1985

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Most difficult part of plebe year: time management. Every plebe thought his/her h.s. years were crazy in terms of stuff to do. They come to realize they had no idea what "swamped" really means. There is SO much to do during Ac Year especially: classes (which are usually harder than expected), studying, pro-knowledge (rates and more), chow calls, room cleaning/inspection, watch/duty (though much easier now from a time standpoint than in my day), march-on practice, parade practice, sports practice, company officer time, meal formations and meals, "mandatory fun" (e.g., pep rallies), making/updating company boards, tailor shop fittings, laundry delivery, press shop runs, watching a sport in the yard every WE, reading required newspaper articles, uniform inspections . . . and on and on. And that doesn't even cover the stuff you WANT to do, like call/text your family and friends.

Very, very, very few manage to do everything at the excellent level they expect of themselves (and USNA expects of them). You have to choose where to put your focus (hopefully, academics and for varsity athletes, sports) while managing to do the other stuff at least adequately. For example, you have an extra hour -- do you spend it making your room look better for the next day's inspection or do you spend it studying for your chemistry quiz? The added challenge is that you will feel immediate pain for having a messy room. You may figure that you can pull it together later for chemistry. That strategy may or may not work out.

So you live and learn. And along the (sometimes miserable) way, develop invaluable skills that will last a lifetime!
 

usna1985

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Forgot to comment on Reef Points. Fully agree with Old Navy BGO. If you have no experience with USNA or the military, you might read certain parts that will be useful. For example, knowing the USN and USMC officer and enlisted rank structures before you arrive is helpful. Reading the bios of the SecNav, Supe and Dant (which, I believe are now in the ever enlarging RP) is interesting background. Those sorts of things may help a bit but definitely aren't required.

As for memorizing stuff . . . USNA will tell you exactly what rates you need to know on I-Day. Learn thpse. As for everything else, there is no expectation that you've ever even seen RP before I-Day. And there are downsides to outshining your classmates. As I note in one of the stickies above, spend your time running, not memorizing RP.
 

Cerberi

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It tends to be much more difficult to get into a Service Academy than to graduate from one. If you have a good sense of humor and a positive attitude - the entire experience is not that hard (some days suck more than others, but ....)

DD knew very little about the Navy, memorized what her I Day packet said to know when she showed up (never wasted a moment reviewing Reef Points in advance.)

Her only complaint - 'tired of being tired'

She's a D1 athlete, validated 8 classes, carries a 4.0 as a STEM major, and is ranked high militarily.

Her Dad was much less qualified academically and athletically and did just fine at a different SA.

It's a different experience than normal college, but you should have a decent idea of what to expect and again - attitude, effort, and sense of humor make the entire experience 'fun' in that warped sense of the word only graduates can appreciate.

DD could have gone anywhere but no where else would she have gotten to do all the cool things USNA offered in her first 14 months. She focuses on what she gets to do and not on what she 'has' to do. For the most part you are surrounded by highly motivated, service oriented, team oriented, smart, athletic people (a few scumbags here and there) that quickly become lifelong friends.

She also buys into the idea USN/USNA may have some logic (potentially twisted) in what they do that ultimately makes her a better officer, citizen, and person.

Did she like boxing - No
Did she like wrestling - No
Does she like 'distance' running - No

Was the suck worth all the experiences she has already had with her classmates - absolutely.

It's not for everyone and it takes some people time to adjust to military life, but the quicker you learn the rules of the game and comply - your USNA experience not only gets easy - it will be fun.

FYI - I have never met anyone that grew up farming that thought service academy life was truly difficult or challenging.
 
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