Pro Tips from 2020 Plebe

spongebub 2020

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Jan 28, 2017
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Hey all. I remember receiving my USMA nominations about a year and a week ago. It was a weird combination of excitement and stress waiting for a BFE or an update on my profile. That being said, hang in there and keep grinding back at home in preparation for the rigors of the academy. I made this thread to provide some pro-tips for all of you who are preparing for Beast and the academic year. Life as a Plebe is SUPER busy, but i'll try to be as active as I can.

Beast: Probablly the best advice that i can give y'all for CBT is
-Try your best! You will face diverse challenges that will take you out of your comfort zones. Stay positive and try your best every day.
-Take care of your feet!!! during the first few weeks of Beast, you'll be standing in lines for hours on end. You'll be going to a lot of [item] issue points, and it'll most likely be uncomfortable, even if you've broken in your shoes. (which brings me to my next tip
-BREAK IN YOUR LOW Q's AND BOOTS BEFORE HAND!! this is crucial. You'll be wearing them for long periods of time. Many of my squadmates didn't break in their Loq Q's and they were suffering after 2 weeks.

(This is a good one that not many people know about)
-Bring a roll of Glow in the Dark tape. During BeastII you'll spend a few nights in the field (pm me if you want to know about a funny thing that happened to my Plt. during our 3 night FTX)
so, many times you'll be forced to make your tents or set up your sleeping spots in pure darkness. (you are also NOT allowed to use whitelights on your flashlight, so keep that in mind and buy some red lenses) so, mark your higiene kit, knowledge book and flashlight with a piece of glow in the dark tape, so that you may find them at night.
- During R-Day (mine sucked btw. i feel that it was the hardest day of Beast) you'll have only a short amount of time to switch all of your stuff from your civilian bags to your flight bags (with exception of your phones and other electronics), so, get everything in 2 Large ziplock bags. This will make your life easier when you have cadre yelling at you.
- Make sure to be honest about everything. You will have to learn a lot of knowledge from the knowledge book (i still have mine....actually, both of mine..). some people may have the "bright idea" of signing them off on their own..BIG mistake. Don't be that idiot that breaks the honor code during Beast..just take it as a challenge to learn em (schoefields definition of discipline is my personal favorite, it's one of the first ones i learned and the cadre were impressed).
-Regarding knowledge, DON'T try to learn them before Beast. it takes all of the purpose away from them. You will one day be officers, you'll be expected to keep track of minor details and to pass them up the chain of command (verbatum), learning knowledge develops you to remember small details, no matter how trivial they might seem. Plus, when you're standing around for hours and are forced to read your knowledge book, you don't want to be staring at stuff that you already know. it's always fun to try to learn them on the spot.

Time flies, I'm almost done with Plebe year and i still remember every time i screwed up or lost something during Beast like it was yesterday.

Break



I'll keep posting more tips as i remember them, or as questions arise. Above all, stay positive and enjoy your time home with your loved ones (Beast is the longest time most of you will be away from home during Plebe year. )

Spongebub'20
 

ebbinns

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Jul 20, 2016
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Thanks for the taking the time to post Spongebub!

What would you recommend for a pack list for R-day? I've heard extra socks and athletic underwear, leatherman, blister care. You mentioned flashlight with a red lens and glow tape. Anything else?
 

EdDatKU

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Apr 9, 2016
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- During R-Day (mine sucked btw. i feel that it was the hardest day of Beast) you'll have only a short amount of time to switch all of your stuff from your civilian bags to your flight bags (with exception of your phones and other electronics), so, get everything in 2 Large ziplock bags. This will make your life easier when you have cadre yelling at you.
My 2020 DS also said R-Day was the worst single day of his entire time so far. In fact, our first postcard from him, written at the end of the day on R-Day but which we received several days later in the mail, indicated that R-Day was making him re-think his entire decision to attend WP. (Lots of yelling, hurrying between points, and standing around!) The great news is that he talked to his cadre and they encouraged him through the next couple of days. He's already 3 weeks into the second semester of his plebe year!
 

spongebub 2020

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My 2020 DS also said R-Day was the worst single day of his entire time so far. In fact, our first postcard from him, written at the end of the day on R-Day but which we received several days later in the mail, indicated that R-Day was making him re-think his entire decision to attend WP. (Lots of yelling, hurrying between points, and standing around!) The great news is that he talked to his cadre and they encouraged him through the next couple of days. He's already 3 weeks into the second semester of his plebe year!
I agree! I was (still am) deadset on graduating from West Point, but after R-Day, i just laid in my bed and stared at the cieling wondering if i'd make it through Beast if everyday was like R-Day. (Like i said earlier, i loved Beast)
 

maxd950729

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Jan 24, 2016
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I agree! I was (still am) deadset on graduating from West Point, but after R-Day, i just laid in my bed and stared at the cieling wondering if i'd make it through Beast if everyday was like R-Day. (Like i said earlier, i loved Beast)
Just curious, What parts of Beast did you love?
 

army2021

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Jan 4, 2015
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- Make sure to be honest about everything. You will have to learn a lot of knowledge from the knowledge book (i still have mine....actually, both of mine..). some people may have the "bright idea" of signing them off on their own..BIG mistake. Don't be that idiot that breaks the honor code during Beast..just take it as a challenge to learn em (schoefields definition of discipline is my personal favorite, it's one of the first ones i learned and the cadre were impressed).
Spongebub'20
Can you clarify what this part means? I know the honor code, but the part about signing them off on their own. What does that mean? Also, what opportunities do you have for the different MIADS? They very competitive? Also do you participate in any clubs or have any club/activity recommendations? Thanks for your time and doing this!
 

spongebub 2020

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Jan 28, 2017
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Signing them off on their own basically means that New Cadets are required to learn quotes and parragraphs from the Knowledge book that they will be issued during R-Day (DON'T LOSE IT!). I know of some new cadets that just memorized their SL's signatures and signed them off on their own. (BIG MISTAKE).
There are many opportunities for MIADS. I'm currently training for Combat Divers and i'm doing Air Assault this summer right after CFT.
There are so many cool clubs here at the academy. you'll have a club night where you can sign up for the clubs you are interested in. There is everythign from language clubs, to martial arts, to military or academic clubs. Just mannage your time well and don't be deficient academically, physically, or militarily and you'll be able to do a lot here.
 

spongebub 2020

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As for what part of Beast did i love, id say everything but the standing around parts (which we did a lot during Beast 1). From the rucks to the weapons training and mountain training, it was all a big adventure. waking up early and not being sure what trining to expect for the day was great. I'd honestly go back if i could.
 

Mcjlt

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Jan 17, 2017
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As for what part of Beast did i love, id say everything but the standing around parts (which we did a lot during Beast 1). From the rucks to the weapons training and mountain training, it was all a big adventure. waking up early and not being sure what trining to expect for the day was great. I'd honestly go back if i could.
My son did basic training last summer and said the same things - he hated the DS yelling at them but loved the training.
 

DelawareDad

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Feb 4, 2017
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Spongebub, Really appreciate you taking your time to help with good information. I would like to purchase a pair of good boots for my DD. Do you have any recommendations for hot weather boots for a female that comply with AR 670-1? I would like her to have some time breaking them in and eventually doing some ruck marching in them to prepare her and her feet. Obviously need to pass muster with the cadre of instructors at the USMA during beast as well. Thanks, DelawareDad
 

jebdad

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Aug 19, 2013
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DelawareDad - when you DD accepts her appointment there will be a host of documents and more items to turn from red to green. Within those items will be a boot memo that will indicate a couple of boot options for the CC to purchase in advance of beast. It changes every year, so I don't think anyone can tell you for sure ahead of time. You will have to wait until it appears on the portal.
 

brovol

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May 26, 2015
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Regarding boots. My son bought his boots on a visit to the cadet store several weeks prior to R-Day, and broke them in a bit. However, the cadets are given another pair of boots on R-day, and my son actually preferred those, and still does (although he wears both pair). He said the boots didn't need much breaking in. He did get blisters, but he said they were from the low quarter shoes. The shoes do need to be broken in. Don't lose sight of them.
 

jl123

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-Regarding knowledge, DON'T try to learn them before Beast.
Spongebub'20
Many good points, but I disagree with this one. Many New Cadets will be struggling during Beast and will benefit from arriving as well prepared as possible, including knowing some plebe knowledge.

A New Cadet that doesn't pick up the knowledge quickly will stand out (and not in a good way) in a group of classmates that arrived better prepared. If you have it down pat and have extra time on your hands, you can help someone who is struggling.
 

WetsuGator

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Jan 5, 2017
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Many good points, but I disagree with this one. Many New Cadets will be struggling during Beast and will benefit from arriving as well prepared as possible, including knowing some plebe knowledge.

A New Cadet that doesn't pick up the knowledge quickly will stand out (and not in a good way) in a group of classmates that arrived better prepared. If you have it down pat and have extra time on your hands, you can help someone who is struggling.
I whole heartedly agree. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being prepared for your 47 month journey. After you commission as an Officer, you'll be expected to succeed. Nobody I have meet in my Army career has looked negatively on others for being prepared for success.

-Air Cav
 
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