We often joke about the Naval Academy’s nickname – N*ot College. And there are a lot of examples of why it fits. One we highlighted during our podcast on Plebe here was the fact that aside from about 12 hours on Saturday, Plebes cannot leave The Yard or, in civilian terms, campus.
That one really brought it home for some of my Mid’s friends. Things as simple as going out to pick up a snack or just strolling town just isn’t possible.
We’ve had another example recently and the consequences were severe.
According to this article from the Annapolis newspaper, a class of 2021 plebe has been separated from the Academy “for using a racial slur when speaking online with other midshipmen.” The article states Ted Colter was expelled February 26.
Now there’s a lot of back and forth about whether the punishment fit the crime or if the Plebe had been singled out for a term used at other times among the Mids.
That aside, it serves as a stark reminder about the thin margin for error at the Academy. There isn’t always a second chance, there isn’t always an opportunity to make amends or fix something that wasn’t done quite right the first time. To gain an appointment to the Naval Academy, young men and women must go through a grueling evaluation. But that evaluation doesn’t end once they enter the gates for Induction Day.
This is N*ot College and the evaluation – and re-evaluation – goes on every day.
If you watched the amazing intro CBS did for last year’s Army-Navy game, you’ll notice it uses the phrase, “it takes a different kind of kid” to commit to “this type of institution.”
Indeed it does.
It means being held to a different standard. It means walking a narrow path. The benefits and opportunities afforded to these young men and women are incredible, but they are, indeed, earned. And they are earned every day. This is N*ot College.