There are a million and one things that separate the Naval Academy from other schools and why it is often referred to as N*ot College. Parents Weekend is one of them.
First off, there are only two Parents Weekends during a Midshipman’s time at the Academy – Plebe Parents Weekend near the end of Plebe Summer, and 2/C Parents Weekend at the beginning of a Mid’s third year.
For us, the difference between the two couldn’t be more stark.
As I’ve written before, Plebe Summer was a struggle for our family, not just for our Mid. The shock of Induction Day led to six stressful weeks, during which we focused on simply getting to Plebe Parents Weekend. When it arrived, it was a combination of immense relief at the front end and, on the back end, a realization that we had a long journey ahead of us. We had a great time and it was a weekend full of joy (and relief), but there was always that underlying anxiety about whether our not our son would want to grind out the entire Plebe year (If you haven’t already, check out the podcast I did with my son after Plebe Year. Even though it has a horrible error in it – I say Plebe Summer is 9 weeks when it is only 6 – it’s full of great insights from him). We spent the entire weekend together, with very little interaction with other USNA families.
We were quite alone on Induction Day and during Plebe Summer and most of my Facebook interactions were in one of two categories – commiserating with other Plebe parents or asking for wisdom from parents who had already run the gauntlet.
The upcoming 2/C Parents Weekend is shaping up quite differently.
Most importantly, our Mid is more than comfortable with life at the Academy. He confidently signed his 2 for 7s, committing to complete his education there and serve at least five years in The Fleet. In addition to schoolwork, he’s immersed in music (including the Trident Brass jazz ensemble and the orchestra) and athletics, where he’s fighting for playing time on the Sprint football team. He’s all in.
My interactions with other Academy parents has broadened. I serve as an administrator for Class of 2022 and Class of 2021 pages on Facebook and have developed great relationships there and with a host of other parents with Mids all across the Brigade.
The schedule for this weekend is much more inclusive of life in the Brigade, too. Parents and siblings are encouraged to attend classes with the Mids, check out the dorm rooms (Plebe Parents Weekend is the only other time parents can be in Bancroft Hall … yep, N*ot College) and even eat lunch in King Hall.
And the parents have shaped the upcoming weekend to be quite different than our Plebe Parents Weekend. There’s a football game this time as Navy opens its home schedule against Memphis. And that means a h-u-g-e tailgate party put together by one of the Mid Dads that will probably start well before the game and go well after the game. But the parents have also engineered a 5k walk/run and a few are even looking at planning get-togethers the night before things officially kick off.
One other big difference for us? Our dog, Falcon, will be along for the weekend!
From my perspective, 2/C Parents Weekend is shaping up to be one big celebration during which I hope to meet dozens of people in real-time that I have only known virtually, as where Plebe Parents Weekend was much more private. It’s a celebration I can’t wait to experience.
Let the party begin!
* * *
My book stuffed full of facts, figures, legends, stories and laughs about the Naval Academy is available on Amazon. I hope you’ll check out “Anchored In Tradition”!