1. Arrive in the best physical shape of your life. Makes everything more bearable during Plebe Summer. 2. You will make the best friends of your life. Throw yourself into the work and play with your classmates. 3. Write home once a week. Talk about good and funny things. Your parents will need it. 4. 7 weeks passes more quickly than you think. 5. Everything about USNA is not great, but, collectively, it can and should be the best four years you have had to date. 6. The fun will come. My 17 grad said that Friday nights his first two years on the Yard were usually fun, because you were hanging with your best friends. 7. DO NOT be cynical. Attitude will help or hinder you more than you know. 8. Parents, visit as often as you can. Invite Mids to your home. Buy them meals when you are in town. Get to know their parents. More rewarding than you can imagine. 9. Parents, don’t baby your Mids, and don’t try to do things for them. They become more resourceful than you have ever been. Never complain to anyone at the Academy. Never post on social media things your Mid tells you. Don’t gossip and get into parent drama. 10. Take advantage of any and everything USNA and that part of our country have to offer. My boys have been to Alaska, Yukon Territory, Guam, San Diego, Australia, Italy, and Israel. They’ve heard astronauts and Presidents speak. They’ve met Ovechkin of the Capitals, Manny Pacquiao, David Robinson, Hannah Storm, David Robinson, Medal of Honor recipients, Bryce Harper, and so many more. They’ve taken snowboarding weekends and trips to other colleges. They’ve gone skydiving. They’ve been underway on assault ships and nuclear subs. They’ve flown in helicopters, ospreys, and trainers. They’ve rushed a football field after huge wins, and they’ve been to the best sporting event of all — Army Navy. They’ve laughed. They’ve cried. There is so much more, but you get the picture. There is no educational experience like USNA. 11. Finally, Class of 2020, always remember this: When you are feeling a little overwhelmed and somewhat intimidated by detailers and upperclassmen, the only real difference between you and them is that they know what comes next. As you learn what comes next, the Academy slows down for you. Your confidence goes through the roof. You grow. You thrive. These things are brought to you by the proud Dad of a Class of 17 United States Marine and a Class of 2020 youngster, both of whom think that USNA is the greatest place on earth. What an experience it has been! God bless each and every one of you, and thank you for your willingness to serve.