As the families of the USNA Class of 2020 emerge from the fog of Commissioning Like No Other, a lesson I learned early on comes to the forefront – like the tides, the cycle at the Academy continues to roll on.
So the Class of 2021 has taken up the mantle of leadership and we prepare for an Induction Day Like No Other – the Class of 2024 will soon be arriving on The Yard and another batch of families will join the USNA Family.
This will not be the I Day many parents have endured, but there are still some tips, suggestions, and resources worth sharing.
First, a few tips:
- Enjoy these last few weeks before your Plebe To Be becomes a Plebe. It’s OK to feel happy, sad, proud, and a little afraid.
- Repeat after me: “My experience is the right experience.” Some people will roll through this without a care. Some will freak out. Others will be sad. And everyone is handling it the right way.
- Relax. Tens of thousands of families have gotten through I Day, Plebe Summer, Plebe Year, and four years on the Severn. You will, too.
- Ask questions. Reach out for support. Engage with families from your class and those of us who have been through it. There’s no reason to go through this alone.
- There are a million acronyms, phrases, and inside jokes that will not make any sense initially. Don’t sweat it. You’ll know the difference between liberty and leave in no time and learn to embrace the suck even if your Plebe is SIQ for PRT.
- Plan on spending as much time as possible in Annapolis and on The Yard. Fact: Time at the Academy is split into three distinct blocks – Plebe Summer, Plebe Year, and the other three years. They all fly by.
- Speaking of planning – I assume you are already planning on attending Plebe Parents Weekend. a. Also plan on being back for Herndon in the Spring. Trust me on this one.
- Make room in your wardrobe for Navy clothing and consider adding an addition for all the other USNA stuff you will accumulate over the next four years. I am NOT joking.
- Get to know Frostee Dove so you can keep the treats flowing to your Plebe.
- Join all the Facebook groups you can find, then determine which one(s) work for you. One size does not fit all, so stay connected with the ones that make sense for you.
OK, some resources, starting with some posts you can find here …
- Here’s a piece I wrote in preparation for the Class of 2022 I Day that still makes sense, I think.
- Here’s a piece I wrote about how our family survived Plebe Summer.
- Of course, I encourage you to stroll through older posts at your leisure!
Here are a few podcasts that you and your Plebe To Be may find useful.
- First, a conversation with my now-Ensign shortly after Plebe Year ended
- Second, a playlist made for last year’s Plebe Summer that will still apply to this year’s edition.
Make room on your bookshelf for these USNA-related works:
- Humbly, I ask you to consider my book, “Anchored in Tradition.” It’s not comprehensive, it’s not authoritative, but it’s packed with a lot of interesting trivia, Dad-joke-level humor, and will ensure you can always turn a conversation to the only topic that matters – the USNA.
- Make sure you meet “Chester Midshipmouse,” the brave rodent who endured Plebe Summer. This is such a clever story and the book is beautifully illustrated. And soon, I hear you’ll be able to read Chester’s adventures during his Plebe academic year.
- For a thoughtful look at life as a Mid Mom through the eyes of someone who’s “been there, done that,” pick up “A USNA Mom’s Journal: Plebe Summer through Commissioning and Beyond! What You Need to Know” by AN Shine. It’s a chance to get an inside view of all the stuff you’re going to come across during the next four years. I wrote about the book and her experiences here, and you’ll notice she’s been on a couple of my podcasts as well.
You may find yourself gravitating to nautically themed decor, but make sure you reserve room on at least one wall for the beautiful artwork of Kristin Cronic, the USNA alum whose original artwork captures live on The Yard in a truly unique manner. You’ll find her work on Easel on Stribling, where you will also see that she’s also converted her paintings into cards, mugs, and other items you will certainly find indispensable. I wrote about her and her endearing story here.
There’s more to come – much more. But for now, welcome aboard!