The Daily Life of a Plebe with Guest Matt Meltzer USNA '17
In this episode, you learn a lot about what goes on in a typical day at the United States Naval Academy, specifically for the plebes.
We go from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep and everything in between. Everything from the military obligations to the academic obligations to the athletic obligations. Matt provides great insight from something that he will mention in the podcast as the "NARP" perspective or the non-athletic regular person, where I come from a varsity athlete perspective. We cover all of the different possibilities of what a day could be like whether you're an athlete or not at the United States Naval Academy.
Matt is originally from New York City. He was in 23rd company and a political science major. He did an exchange semester at the Coast Guard Academy. The billets that he held include a company commander for 23rd company in the fall of his firstie year and the highlight of his time at the Academy was working as the regimental XO for second set of plebe summer for the class of 2020.
Matt now is a surface warfare officer onboard USS Chafee which is a guided missile destroyer homeported in Pearl Harbor. Matt is the main propulsion officer on the ship.
If you want to learn more about how to prepare for plebe summer, Grant recommends taking his Preparing for Plebe Summer online course. That course and many other tremendous resources about plebe summer and the United States Naval Academy may be found on his website.
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This is your host Grant Vermeer Naval Academy class of 2017 and I'm your Academy insider. It's my goal to be your guide through the Naval Academy experience by sharing my stories and providing you insight information into the life of a midshipman.Speaker 2:
Academy insider is in no way officially affiliated with the United States Naval Academy. All of the content on Academy insider is my own and does not reflect the views of the United States Naval Academy, the United States Navy, nor the department of defense. Hey everyone and welcome to the Academy insider podcast with grant from here today we are joined by a really special guest and a really good friend of mine, Matt Meltzer, who is a class of 2017 graduate from the Naval Academy as well and now currently serves as a surface warfare officer. Matt and myself got really close to the Academy as a result of serving together on the plebe summer regimental staff. And as a result, uh, we got really close and, and so I asked him to come on the podcast, uh, to talk a little bit about the plea, but day to day life. So if you want to listen to this podcast, you're going to learn a lot about what goes on in a typical day at the United States Naval Academy, specifically for the plebes. We're going to go from the moment they wake up to the moment they fall asleep and everything in between. Everything from the military obligations to the academic obligations to the athletic obligations. And it's also a super fun podcast because Matt provides a really good insight from something that he will mention in the podcast as the NARP perspective or the non-athletic regular person where I kind of come from a varsity athlete perspective. So we cover all of the different possibilities of what you could day could be like whether you're an athlete or not at the United States Naval Academy. I think you guys are going to enjoy this podcast episode a lot and I really hope you enjoy. Thanks. Hey, uh, thanks Matt for joining us on the Academy insider podcast. They really appreciate having you on.Speaker 3:
Hey grant. Thanks. I'm a big fan of the podcast, big fan of the website. I think a what you're doing is a, is great for the Academy and uh, and I'm just, uh, it's a pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.Speaker 1:
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for that. But before we get started today, if you don't mind just telling the Academy inside our audience a little bit about yourself. So in regards to you, during your time at the Academy, what company you were in, what your major was, and then a little bit of background about you as a midshipman, but then also a little bit about you before the Academy, where you're from, what brought you to the Academy and all of that.Speaker 3:
Sure, absolutely. Yeah, so I'm a, I'm originally from New York city. That's where I grew up. When I was at the Academy I was in 23rd company and I was a, uh, political science major. Took advantage of all sorts of opportunities while I was there. I did an a exchange semester at the coast guard Academy. And then as far as billets that I held, uh, I was a company commander for 23 company in the fall of my first year. And then also probably the highlight of my time of the Academy was working with you. Uh, please summer. I was, I was the regimental XO for second set of police summer during my first year. That was just a really, really great experience. Absolutely. Absolutely.Speaker 1:
For those of you who aren't sure about plebe summer billets, I highly recommend you to check out an episode I did earlier with Kristen where we actually go over the entirety of the plebe summer organization. And I actually give a couple of shout outs to Matt in that episode because like you're saying, that was like the most fun I've had at the Academy that summer, that plead summer evolution as a detailer was by far the best three weeks of my time.[inaudible]Speaker 3:
yeah. To me, like it was an absolute blast. Yeah. And honestly, I think I made some of my closest friends of the Academy or were from that summer, you know, our staff that we had, we had an incredible team of people working with us. Had a great time. If any of them are listening, just a shout out to those guys. It's all you guys. It was a good time without a doubt. And then, uh, again, what brought you to the Academy? How'd you end up at the United States Naval Academy? Yeah. So, you know, I, I, growing up I was always very patriotic and I, and I wanted to, I knew I wanted to serve my country, uh, and I knew that there were many ways of doing that. I also knew that the traditional college experience was not what I was looking for. You know, I, I want it to be challenged. Uh, you know, we should, there, you can do that lots of places, but not in the same way that I think you can find that kind of challenge, like at a service Academy. And so I visited the Naval Academy when I was in 11th grade and I just absolutely loved it and I knew that was the right place for me.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. Cool. Thanks for that. And a, what are you currently doing now?Speaker 3:
Sure, so a new, right now I'm a surface warfare officer. I am currently onboard USS Chafee, which is a our Liebert class guided missile destroyers home ported out here in Pearl Harbor. And I am the main propulsion officer on the ship. So I'm in charge of a team of about a 30 sailors and we, uh, run the, uh, the ships for guest or a guest turban engines and three guestroom and generators and all the associated mechanical and electrical.Speaker 1:
Fantastic for the Academy. Inside our audience, we will hear in the near future kind of talk about different service selection and go a little bit more in depth into the life of a surface warfare officer. But today we're here to talk a little bit about plebe life and specifically the daily activities that make plebe year. Uh, honestly pretty rough. I mean it's definitely a difficult year. So we're just gonna jump right from the start, right from wake up time. So Matt, if you don't mind explaining to the audience a little bit like what time do you please wake up? What do they have to do in the morning? What is the normal morning battle rhythm at the Naval Academy for plebes?Speaker 3:
Yeah, sure. So readily at the Naval Academy, it takes place every day at six 30 that's when notionally everybody's supposed to get up. But the reality is during plebe year, it's pretty rare that you actually get the opportunity to sleep until six 30 and the reason for that is that most companies usually have run some sort of workout program for their plebes. That's led by the upperclassmen usually let red a run by the training staff and so they'll wake them up. You know, I think the earliest would ever be maybe around five in the morning that believes would get woken up. Those kinds of things. That's generally for the pleads that are not on sports teams. Then the sleeves that are on sports teams are generally having their teams have workouts in the morning. I'm sure granted, granted, I know you're probably very familiar with that and so they're good. They're getting up pretty early as well, so for that and various other reasons, please also have the opportunity to go work out on their own. So there, you know, that's all going on. That's all physical stuff. There's also pro knowledge come around, so that will happen in the morning as well. So those could happen in the period from like six 30 to seven I think they call it the morning training period, if I remember correctly. And so you know, please are usually usually waking up a little bit beforeSpeaker 1:
revenue to make sure that they're getting ready for all that stuff. Yeah, without a doubt. And a can confirm a varsity athletes. Absolutely. We're doing morning workouts like that was, that was difficult. Like for basketball suits specifically. That's honestly what I can talk about. Just from experience. We had morning lifts on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and then Wednesday was a conditioning workout in the morning. So we'd definitely, there honestly is sometimes just because it's unseen, right? Like a lot of times the Farsi athletes aren't able to see the struggles that the non varsity athletes are going through in their workouts. In the same time non varsity athletes aren't able to see what the varsity athletes are going through. But it's safe to say that every single plea, regardless of where they're going in the morning, they're getting put through it. Absolutely. So definitely not a easy, easy morning workout. And then if you don't mind talking to people, I wrote a blog article a little bit about come rounds, but if you don't mind explaining what a come around is and kind of what's included in that. Sure. So every week the pleadings have to study a different topic for professional knowledge. And every Friday they have an exam on those topics. Now to prepare for those exams throughout the week, they do a series of come around. They'll usually do one with a third class, one with a second class and one with a first class every week prior and they have to pass those prior to taking the test. So come around. They're basically just the upperclassmen there with the plebe, you're standing out in the hallway and the upperclassmen are asking plebes questions about that particular topic for that week. With the third class, they generally happen earlier in the week, so the third classes are usually doing a little more teaching than they are doing testing versus the first class and second classes are probably going to do a little bit more testing and they're going to be doing teaching. Right. The police level knowledge is growing over the course of the week. Absolutely. I just want to reiterate that. Yeah, I remember my com rounds. My youngster was like, Hey, these are the things that they generally focus on. These are the things that you definitely know like, Hey, this, you definitely need to know verbatim, Hey this, you just need a general understanding of it, right? They're there to kind of guide you in your studying. And then my second class in my first class come around where we're no kidding, like quizzes and my second class come around and was like, Hey, if you don't know today, that's all right right now. But like definitely you need to know this. And then first-class come around was like, Hey, you better know all your stuff to prove that you're prepared for the exam tomorrow. And that was always something I used to joke with my mom about. I was like, yeah, I think the best way to compare come around is like kind of comparing it to like preparing for a second grade spelling quiz. You know at Saint Simon's, you know, Catholic elementary school when my mom was like, all right, well and now how do you spell this word? Cause at the end of the day it's a short section of knowledge. You generally know what the questions will be like IPI is there's not a ton of information. So at the end of the day they're just drilling you down on the things that you definitely should know. So that is what we mean when we're talking about come around is like, Hey, this is a one, a teaching period earlier in the week and then a verification of knowledge later in the week. All right. And then so after all that's complete, your morning training is complete. You have morning formation, but before morning formation, plebes have to line up for chow calls. Do you mind, do you mind explaining what a chow call is?Speaker 3:
Absolutely. So since I knew we were gonna be talking about plebe year this year, grant, I, I was looking through some of my old stuff and I happened to find my old version of reef points. So for your listeners that don't know what re points is, the book that's issue to plebes at the very beginning of plebe summer, it contains all the information that they need to memorize all the different rates and things like that. And so it also includes the format for chow call. So I'm going to spare your listeners, not read through the whole chow call right now, but basically what a child calls are before every formation, the please go out in the middle of a, of the hallways or as we call them P ways. Yep. And they'll have to yell out certain information to wealth mostly in the morning to help wake up the upperclassmen, but also just to give upperclassmen information. Yep. So some of the things that are included in the child call is how much time there is remaining until formation, where formation is going to be, what the uniforms is going to be, a what the menu for that meal is going to be, which officers are on watch at any given moment. So the officer of the watch and the Chipman officer of the watch, what the professional topic for that week is as well as any major events that are going on the yard that you know, the upperclassmen need to be aware of. So it's a lot, the police have to do it from memory. They're not allowed to read from a book or anything as they're doing it. And so a, it kind of raises the question of well what's the purpose of chow calls? And you know, there's different explanations out there. I'm not sure I really know what it is. One thing that a lot of the aviators like to offer up is that, you know, aviators have to memorize a checklist. Yup. And so by doing Chao calls, plebes are kind of learning to do that fast paced memorization. Now, I'm not an aviator. I can't confirm whether or not it actually helps. But uh, but that's one of the, uh, that's what's offered upSpeaker 1:
Matt. That's good insight. I honestly thought it was just a wake up upperclassmen who accidentally slept through all their alarms. Okay. That was me. I'd be it too. I definitely woke up a fair share of times to plead scream in the hallway and I was like, Oh snap. I bet Hurria formations in like 15 minutes. This isn't good. Yeah. All right, cool. And then you mentioned the term rate. Do you mind explaining a little bit about what a rate is and then a little bit about what being raided means? Cause a lot of times at chow calls in between the different chow calls, a lot of times it presents an opportunity for upperclassmen to rate the plebes.Speaker 3:
Yeah, that's absolutely true. So throughout plebe year, it starts in plebe summer really, and then continues throughout all the entirety of plebe year. Please are required to memorize certain things. And those are basically what the rates are. So a few examples of rates are they need to always know what the next three meals are going to be. The menus for the next three meals. They also need to know a certain member, a certain number of newspaper articles every day. I believe it was three, three newspaper articles every day and not verbatim or anything like that. They just need to be able to have an intelligent conversation about three different things that are in the news for that particular day. They also need to be able to cite how many days there are until certain major events. So the army Navy game is one of them.[inaudible] one of them, the Hern didn't climb is another one. So the plebes are always a, you know, any upperclassmen can walk up to a plebe at anytime and ask any of these questions and the plebes are required to be able to give the answer on the spot without looking it up. So that's, that's what it means to be[inaudible].Speaker 1:
Absolutely. Cool. Yeah. So like you're saying the three meals. So in regards to that, like what it looks like potentially an example is, Hey, someone an upperclassmen could walk up to you and a lot of times is what happens is an upperclassman will walk up, just got out of the shower, just shaved, you know, walking in formation. They stopped by a plebe and they're like, Hmm. They're like, Hey bitch, I'm in fourth class, blah blah. Like what's for lunch today? More. So they're just like legitimately curious about what they're about to have for lunch that day. Cause you know, that could really make or break your day is what you have going on for lunch. But they have a lot about that. And then especially second class, they're like, Oh man, how many days until ring dance or how many days until all these things, right. So a lot of times, you know, you'll see like, Oh Mitchem fourth class, so and so like how many days until RainDance or how many days until Herndon. And again, more than anything, we talked about it in a previous episode about the time management puzzle that plebe year is. And trying to prioritize what you need to get done and also making the time to memorize these little bits of information to make your life so much easier. Because if you answer those questions correctly and confidently early on, it's just like it just takes so much of off your plate. Cause if you mess something up well then the spotlight is on you moving forward. Cause it's just such a little piece of information that would just take like two minutes to like learn or refresh every morning. But it's tough because you have so much stuff going on. You're running late, you may be running late from a morning workout, you may be running late from one of your come around and you don't have time to accidentally look at the days and then you're not sure. And then it, you know, it all just tumbles from there. But yeah,Speaker 3:
and I think prioritization is a huge part of it, right? Like exactly what you're saying with everything going on in plebe year, sometimes as a plebe you have to make a choice. Do you study for your major exam the next day or do you make sure that you know your rates? And the important thing of course is to study for your exam the impact of that as much as much longer lasting than you know, some second class being upset with you because you don't know your rates for that particular day. But that kind of, I think that's a big lesson that you take away from plebe summer is how to prioritize your, the things that you're required to do.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. Without a doubt. All right, so now cha, they do their Shavon chow call that five minutes, shove off chow call and they're chopping on their way down to formation. Do you mind a little bit about what chopping means and then a little bit about explaining what plea being a cover is?Speaker 3:
Sure. So chopping is the way that pleads are required to move around Bancroft hall. And what it consists of is rather than walking, they have to run. Now that run kind of turns into a jog or kind of more of a foot shuffle rather than actually running in most cases. But as long as they're, you know, constantly moving, not standing still. And when they reach a turn rather than rounding a turn, like a normal human being would do, they're required to square their turns as they chop. And as they square their turn, they're going to yell either go Navy sir or beat army sir. So it's just kind of looks ridiculous when you first see it and, and then once you're at the Academy for a little bit, you, you just becomes normal, just becomes part of everyday life or plebes chopping by and become used to that please be your cover. So that is the way that leaves are required to hold their covers at all times at one while they're on the yard. Oh. It consists of basically taking their hands and putting it inside the cover and then spreading it out. So rather than holding the cover from the outside, like you normally would, your hands inside and you're spreading out all five of your fingers and basically resting the cover on your, on your hand and on the, you know, on your fingers. It's kinda hard to explain if you, I'm sure if you Google it, there are probably pictures. What's funny is that, so please are only required to actually do this when they're on campus, but they become so used to doing it that when you see pleads out in town on Liberty, you know, and they're inside some where they'll still be pleading their cover and so you have to remind them like, Hey, it looks ridiculous. That's a common, a common occurrence in downtown out.Speaker 1:
Oh yeah, absolutely. I so I was there for a plea parents weekend this year and it's the same thing every year cause over plead summaries. You become almost like a robot. You're just so ingrained on that and it's like habit that they're like these people say in and at the mall and they're like so nervous and they're finally out for the first time and they're believing their cover. You have to walk up to and be like, dude dude dude dude dude, you're out in public now. Like try and be a little bit normal. I was like, I know it's hard, but like you can hold your covered normal now. It's fine. Um, but yeah, so, uh, and again it just kinda falls into that. There are just so many little things during plebe summer just to make sure that you realize that you are a pleat. Right. And that that is one of them, you know, chopping from place to place, pleading your cover sounding off and then also addressing your upperclassmen. So hypothetically, Matt, if a plebe, we're chopping past Mitchem and first-class melts, what would they need to say every time they,Speaker 3:
sure. So this can actually vary a little bit by company and can vary whether by whether you're in plebe summer or the academic year, but usually you have to address all of your upperclassmen by name. So in my company it was always a, you know, it was just a Mister or miss and last name. So for example, if a plead walked by, ran by me, they would just say, good morning mr Meltzer, sir. I know that in other companies they were a little bit more strict about it where you had to actually address the, the upperclassman by rank and sometimes you had to use the sir or ma'am sandwiches that you used during plebe summer. So for example, that'd be something like sir, good morning Mitchem and Lieutenant Meltzer, sir. Oh kind of a lot to say. And you have to do it every single time you walk by and upperclassmen in your company. So let's just kind of a way I think it, part of that, the reason behind that is to help help you learn who the people in your company are. Cause that's important, that's important for you to make sure that you know them and to recognize the kind of the, the machining ring structure that we have at the Academy. But yeah,Speaker 1:
absolutely. And so following all that, you have formation. And again, formation really at that point is just to take accountability, made sure everyone is accounted for before we start the day, as well as pass out any information that people may need to know for the day. Right? So it's held within your own company space. Call everyone attention. They'll make reports about the accountability each platoon and then from that point the company commander will have the ability to address the company about any information that needs to get passed for the day, the following formation they had down to meal and King hall. Do you mind taking a little bit to explain the difference between plebes and upperclassmen that meal tables and then a little bit about the difference between meals from plebe summer to the meals during the academic year?Speaker 3:
Sure, so complete summer, and I'm sure you've covered in this in the past in the past grant, but a plead summer ever, you know the leaves are required to always sit on the, the front three inches of their chairs. They have to square their meals, which means basically taking their fork and rather than bring it straight to their mouth, they have to go vertically up in the air, stop and then go horizontally, bring the food and bring it, you know, bringing the food to their mouth. That generally in most companies, again, this is company by company goes away when the academic year comes. Right. It's generally at the discretion usually of the squad leader actually with the at each table. Yup. But they'll normally allow their pleads to be more relaxed during the academic year. They want the squad to be kind of a more of a welcoming environment. My understanding is that this is not how it used to be in the past. Back in the old days, you weren't doing that the entire academic, you know, the entire year, but certainly from, you know, from when from our plebe year. Right. When we was I think 2013 2014 yep. You know, from that point, I'm sure it's still the case today. It's usually a much more relaxed environment. That being said, please are still required to be professional. You know, you're always addressing upperclassmen as sir or ma'am, but they do encourage, kind of pleads to be a little more comfortable at the table to discuss how their day is going to ask for help. Maybe with, with, with whatever they might need help with academics, just anything else that might be going on in their day. You know, squad leaders generally want the table to feel like a welcoming environment.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. And kind of go into your point where you're saying it's a little bit by company, by company basis in 26 company actually the majority of the squad leaders, even in my first year, so the class of 2020 when they were plebes absolutely still had to sit on the front three inches of their chair. Um, which was the thing, and again it kinda just goes by the company culture that you want to set. That was one little thing that we decided to do in 26 company. I don't think we were overly strict necessarily, but that was one of the things that, you know, our, our company training staff and our company staff decided that they wanted to implement within the company. But absolutely, I think the conversation that brings up there, the idea of company cultures and that you have the ability to kind of run the company in a way that you want to. So long as you still fall within the bounds of the direction and guidance you have been given from like the commandant level staff. It goes to the fact that at the end of the day, we're trying to empower the first class midshipmen to run the companies that they want to train the way that they want in order to establish the company culture that they want. Yeah,Speaker 3:
yeah. And everybody has a different leadership style and that's, and that's really what's great about the Academy, gives everybody the opportunity to experiment with the kind of leader that they want to be to fail and to learn from those failures. I certainly failed many, many times in leadership positions that I held. And it's just, it's a great kind of, I call it a simulated leadership and we get to learn so much from it and it helps us out for after we commission for sure. Absolutely. Alright. So we finished breakfast and now we're heading to class. Can you explain a little bit about the different walkways, the different ways you can get to class and some of the decision factors that go into plebes and how they want to traverse from class to class? Yeah, so I, I always just say that there's the, there's the short way or there's the comfortable way. And I say that because mostly because of the weather in Annapolis. So you could, the quickest way to the classroom was almost always outside through Stribling walk, which by the way, you know, when, at least when it's nice out, it's beautiful, troubling walk if you, you know, if you haven't been to the, to Annapolis and visited the campus, it's absolutely stunningly beautiful. But the chapel there and everything, but the weather in Annapolis is not always beautiful. And so oftentimes it was very cold. So there's always an indoor way, or at least a mostly indoor way to get to all of the academic buildings. So when I was a, you know, I, even though I'm from New York, right? I, I'm not a big fan of the cold. That's why I chose to come out here to Hawaii for my first store. So I would often take the indoor route, uh, through the classes. It's always been, I had to leave a little bit earlier to get the class, you know, maybe 10 to 15 minute walk maximum to get to the meet some of the furthest classrooms on campus. But yeah also you know, as far as the plebes are concerned, there are certain pathways on around Stribling that pleads are not allowed to use that are only for third class and above. And mostly those are the curved walkways. So the police can use the street walkways. It's kind of in keeping with the theme of the whole squaring your corners kind of concept. So the faster curved walkways are not available to the plebes. They can only take the street ones that you then have to meet at intersections and take another straight path from there. Absolutely. Sweet. And then, so at that point we have hit class. We are now in our first academic class of the day, which starts at 7:55 AM can you talk a little bit about the atmosphere in class, the Naval Academy specifically for plebes but just in general like the academic vibe within the classroom at the Naval Academy? Sure. I would say the academic environment at Academy is extremely supportive of the mission. The professors, whether they're military or civilian are very, very supportive of'em and I guess understanding is the word we're looking for, understanding of of the schedule that a goes through, that there's a lot going on that they're, you know, maybe getting limited sleep. So all sorts of combinations are made. One thing that's uh, I think this is relatively unique to the Naval Academy. I'm not sure if this is something that happens at other schools or not. It definitely, in my high school this was not acceptable, but at the Naval Academy it is considered totally acceptable to stand up in the middle of class and go stand at the back of the room. If you're having trouble staying, staying a week, teachers won't even bat an eye at it. Is totally acceptable for everyone. Not just pleased used to do that, to help you stay awake and they actually appreciate it. They take that as a sign of respect. It's, you know, it doesn't make them, it's not a, they don't take that as disrespectful. It's a sign of respect. It shows that you're making an effort to stay awake and stay engaged in the class. And so it's a, it's universally accepted. Yeah. And that'sSpeaker 1:
something if you ever just to randomly peek your head into any classroom around the yard during the academic year, you'll see multiple midshipman standing up because the Naval Academy's tough and you don't get a lot of sleep and you're constantly exhausted. But again, in order to encourage midshipmen to stay engaged, like you're saying, a ton of people take that option to stand up, stand in the back of the classroom and allows them to kind of shake their legs, move around a little bit. So long as they're still attentive to the class and what they don't want as people just to get, you know, lackadaisical in their chairs, get relaxed, kind of do the, you know, the head Bob kinda half falling asleep, half not, not really engaged in the class, but it is definitely definitely enforced within the Academy that you cannot fall asleep. Like you are to not fall asleep. Now do people fall asleep and do some teachers let you fall asleep? Yeah, but I would say it happens but, but in the large majority of instances, if you were to like start to do the head bop, a teacher wouldn't make you stand up. So a lot of times it's, it's just great to do that. Preemptively is like, Hey, I understand that I'm starting to get a little sleepy, I'm just going to stand up, move to the back of the class. The teacher respects it, it's good for you. Um, and that's kind of definitely the, the normal occurrence within a Naval Academy classroom. Yeah, absolutely. Sweet. So you have class then from seven 55 until 1145. That's the end of fourth period. So each class periods 50 minutes and then you have basically a 10 minute break in between each class after that fourth period. So the bell rings at 1145 now all of everyone has to return back to their company areas to get ready for new meal formation. Do you mind just talking a little, a little bit about that transition from that bell ring and after fourth period to the start a new meal formation?Speaker 3:
Yeah, sure. So a formation is held at at 1205 for new meal formation every day. So for the majority of midshipman that means that you know they have 20 minutes to get back from class, go to their rooms, drop off their stuff, get out to formation, which is normally a, at least when it's warm outside, a formation is held outside in, in a, in T court or to come to court. However, for the plebes they don't have that 20 minutes cause they have to do child calls. So generally the expectation is that the first show call being 15 minutes prior to formation. And that can vary again based on company. So please may have to be there by 1150 meaning that if they have a fourth period class, they might have as short as five minutes to come from the opposite side of campus, get back to Bancroft, drop off their stuff and be there in the in the way ready to do chow call. So it's a, it's kind of a sprint. You'll see, you know, all of the mass movement of midshipman heading towards the Bancroft. Everybody will normally be walking relatively, you know, at a leisurely pace and then you'll see the plebes just kind of the bleeding, the plead shuffle. Exactly. You can't run outside so please we'll walk as quickly as they possibly can to try to get to Bancroft to get there in time forSpeaker 1:
absolutely. Yeah, definitely. Definitely a lot of, you know, you would, I would swear there was a large majority of the, of like the United States power walking, the speed walking team that would come from service academies just by the, the amount we speed walk from place to place. But that is definitely something you'll see. Like if you're ever around the Naval Academy around 1145 and you're just standing around and T court like it is very easy to tell who are the plebes and who's not just based on this, the sheer speed of people walking past you. Absolutely. All right, cool. So afternoon meal formation, uh, which usually depending on whether it takes place outside, everyone marches in has their noon meal and then following noon meal, which usually gets done around 1240 1245 ish, the fifth period classes to start till 1330. So one kind of happens in that 45 minutes in between the, the lunch and the start of academic classes. Yeah. So that is known as the new meal training period. So it's time that can be used for various purposes. Back in our plebe year, I remember having it being required to do PT inside of Bancroft. Yeah. During that time, that sort of changed as, as my time at the Academy went on, at least in my company now it's generally used more for professional development for the police. So they might be studying their professional knowledge. There's also a lot of number of other things that take place. Certain clubs will, we'll try to use that time to have meetings during the day. So there's all sorts of meetings going on all over, all over campus. People can go and meet with professors for help, for extra instruction in their classes. Yeah, and generally, so if you're a plebe and you have professional development going on during that training period, but you need to go to EEI during that time, extra instruction, then you'll be allowed to go. Most training staffs are absolutely going to accommodate that. Academics being, you know, definitely the priority in that respect. So will go and then I'll, like I said earlier with that, with the morning train period, a lot of sports teams will also use that time to do workouts. So there's kind of a lot going on during that time period of the day. Yeah, absolutely. And again, I'll come in there for the basketball team. Even in the off season we always took that lunch period to watch film or have some kind of team meeting or go through something that was actively engaged and focused towards our team. So basically, I mean at the end of the day, a lot of these teams, the individual and sports, they're trying to take advantage of literally any little bit of time that they can because our schedules are so packed and so busy, they're really looking for any opportunity to help out the team and kind of build a team, camaraderie and, and do something productive with the time. So there is that new meal training period. But a lot of the varsity teams absolutely do have team meetings or workouts. Like I know swimming and diving and a lot of other teams, they use that for another workout period. Like you're saying, I see people working out all the time. So a lot of stuff going on during that noon, noon meal training period. Sweet. So you go back for more class and again, you have a fifth and sixth period, which goes from 1330 until 1520. So again, one 30 to three 20 in the afternoon. Some majors can have classes a little bit after that, but I would say in about 99% of the cases, the academic day is done at three 20 for people following. We now have sports period in intermurals. Do you mind talking a little bit about the sports period, the intermural program, how plebes can get involved in either some kind of ECA club team, intramurals, and just, you know, talk a little bit about that.Speaker 3:
Sure. Yeah. So, uh, what happens during sports period varies dramatically based on whether you know you're on a, a varsity team like you were grant or, or if you're not. So I was a proudly a, a member of what affectionately referred to as[inaudible], non athletic, regular people. Um, so I was not on a varsity sports team. I'm not a particularly athletic person, so I did intramurals. Um, I should say, so everybody, that Academy is required to be on a team. Um, but that varies in definition, you know quite a bit. Cause there's, there's Farsi athletics like what you did, where it's, you know, like you said, any, any available moment of the day, you're gonna be with that team. And then there's what I did, which was intramurals, that was pretty much a commitment of just once or twice a week during sports for you. We would go and have a game. It'd be, you know, you're on a team with your company mates in a particular sport and you face off against another company for that day. And it was a season that went over the course of the entire semester. And then at the end of the semester there was, you know, there'd be a playoffs in the championship. There were various sports you could play from flag football to I think it was, I think when I feel hockey bag a street hockey. Yeah. And then there was field ball. Field ball is a sport that was unique to the Naval Academy. The joke was that it's played at only two places, the Naval Academy in New York state penitentiary. And so it was a, it was a very violent game. A lot of a physical force was used in that game. I was, uh, you know, generally you get to list your preferences, but sometimes it's possible it'd be to be forced on a team if there aren't enough people. And I was unfortunately forced into playing field ball a couple times. It was not a huge fan of that sport, lot of risk for injury there. But there was that. And then there's also kind of a few levels in between varsity sports and intramurals. So there's club teams and some ECA teens as well. A extracurricular activity teams, um, for, you know, like I said, intramurals, for me it was just once or twice a week. So other days during sports period I was able to use that time to go work out on my own if I wanted to. There's a number of gyms on, on campus that limit chiming can, can use pretty much whenever they want to. And other times I also use the time to take a nap. Um, you know, a lot of people do that or to get ahead on homework, but not during plebe year. So plebes are not allowed to nap during the day. That's a privilege that you earn when you become a third class. Yup. Absolutely.Speaker 1:
And so just to kind of go now from the Farsi athlete side, so in regards to even the academic day, during my entire four years, the basketball team always had what we called a six period blocker. So I never had a class during sixth period because our practice would start at three o'clock. So basically that reduced like the number of like quote unquote free periods I had, cause all of my six periods were free periods. Um, so my academic days were basically pretty condensed into the first five periods. Um, and then I get out of class right at two 20 I'd head over to Halsy Fieldhouse, which is where the basketball practice gyms are, you know, get changed, get taped, stretch out, get loose practice from a, so I get out of class at two 20 and get over there at like two 35 to 40. Get ready, start practice at three, go until about five 45 or six shower change, go eat dinner. And then after that dinner period, that's when everyone kind of collectively gets back into Bancroft hall. Yeah. If you don't mind. Yeah. What do you, what do you got?Speaker 3:
Sorry. So I was just gonna say that, uh, so to be one thing to be clear about, so just the fact that you had a sixth period blocker did not mean in any way that you were taking any fewer classes or any different classes than anybody else at the Academy. Correct. Uh, that's one thing that I think is really, is really special about the Naval Academy. Athletes are held to exactly the same, uh, academic standard as anybody else. They're just forced to compress that schedule into a, you know, into a shorter academic day basically. Um, and so it's really impressive, uh, what the athletes have to put up with it, the Academy as far as, uh, you know, their academic requirements, which are the same as every other Mitchem and as well as their athletic, uh, expectations.Speaker 1:
I, I really appreciate that. Thank you. That you for coming in with the, uh, the support and the save there. Uh, so yeah. And then so when we comes to evening meals, so we talked a little bit about morning meal and noon meal, how you eat with your squad and you're eating with your squad. Um, during evening meal, a lot of the times we eat, uh, via means what we call rolling tray. Do you mind just explaining to everyone what rolling tray is?Speaker 3:
Sure. So as opposed to all the other meals where you have formation and then you immediately go down to King hall and you eat with your squad rolling trays, basically that there's a a period, I think it was usually about an hour and a half, uh, where the King hall would just be open and you can go down whenever you want. There was no formation, uh, you could just go down there and you'd just be seated at the next available table. So that was a good opportunity where if you wanted to, uh, eat with friends who maybe weren't in another company or just necessarily weren't in your squad, you could do that. And you know, you just have to go down there at the same time. It also was good for people who add, you know, practices that that would go late or you know, things like that. You could pretty much make your own schedule with that and go down whenever, whenever you're hungry, whenever you're ready to go eat. Um, so it was kind of nice, a little more relaxed. Towards the end of our time at the Academy, you, it became no longer required to wear your uniform down to evening meal. You could wear what was known as blue and Gold's, which was like a track suit. Uh, so it was just a little, a little more relaxed environment for dinner then, then for breakfast and lunch.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. Uh, and then following that evening meals is the start of study period. Can you explain a little bit about, uh, what study period is and then kind of the rules and regulations regarding plebes during study period?Speaker 3:
Sure. So Stipe period started at 2000 every night and it went basically throughout the rest until taps. Um, and what was special about study period, especially during plebe year, is that it is protected time. Nobody can schedule meetings during that time. The upperclassmen cannot go and rate plebes, um, during that time period. Right. They can't go in there and ask them questions stuff. They, uh, that time is reserved specifically for studying and it's protected. Nobody's going to bother you and you really need that. Definitely. Cause you know, the, the workload of the Academy is significant for sure. You're taking a lot of classes at any given time. And so that was a, it was a nice time to, to just have some quiet time and, and, and get your work done.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. Uh, and so some things that I've seen, um, during my time at the Academy, and I've still heard through the grapevine that's still going on, uh, some companies we'll make their plebes like put their phones outside of their room during study period to ensure that they're actively focused on completing their work. I do want to inform everyone that yes, they are absolutely within their bounds of authority to make the plebes do that. So just in case you're wondering that is, that is absolutely fair game. They are absolutely allowed to do it. Uh, anything that allows them, uh, to again increase or enhance the focus on their academic workload during that time. They're just not allowed to like actively enter a plebes room and make them do anything or talk to them unless it's to help them with their academics. Like if they're going in to help them with their homework or whatnot, that's totally fine. Um, but otherwise it's, they're meant to be left alone. Um, and, and also with that, please don't have to be on deck if they want to go to Nimitz library or they want to go to what, something like we call an mgs P midshipman group study program, tutoring session, and one of the academic buildings. Those are absolutely authorized and encouraged to take advantage of and to go to use those resources that we have at the Academy. Um, but during that time, again, from 2000 until the end of the night, uh, it is absolutely dedicated to completing any academic work that you have. Ah,Speaker 3:
absolutely. Yeah. And so I know I definitely took advantage of plenty of those opportunities to go and study and other buildings and everything. Sometimes, you know, just get away from my room a little bit. It was nice to do that.Speaker 1:
Oh, absolutely. Um, alright. And so there is a bedtime for plebes colloquially, you know, for everyone out there, there is a bedtime. Do you explain you mind explaining a little bit about what taps is, uh, what time it is and if a plebe desire to stay at past taps, what would be the process for making that happen?Speaker 3:
Yeah, so taps every night took place at a 2100 or 11:00 PM and uh, and basically that was the bedtime for plebes. They had to be in bed by then. Uh, the earliest set. So like I mentioned earlier, that police aren't allowed to sleep during the academic day. So the earliest that a plead is allowed to go to bed is 2100 or 10:00 PM. So basically that I have that one hour window of time where they, uh, where they have to be in bed at some point during that, during that one hour from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Uh, there are exceptions to that. Uh, late chits is what it's called. So a squad leader generally can give permission to a, to somebody in their squad to, to stay up past 2100 right. Circumstances for doing that might be that they have a test coming up the next day or some sort of a, you know, major projects that they're working on. Uh, so that would occasionally happen. Uh, and it's entirely up to the, to the first class to decide when to give those out. I know that, um, when I was in a position to make those kinds of decisions, I would try to give it out as sparingly as possible because I, you know, I believe it's sleep is really important and please are already somewhat limited in the amount of sleep that they get. So I was wanting to make sure that they were, they were getting to bed on time, especially with the amount of pressure they have and plead your, there's a lot of pressure for them to stay up late to get things done. And I needed to make sure that they were getting well rested. That being said, there are some varieties that would grant what they would call blanket late lights to their, to their police. So they would tell them, you always have permission to stay up past 2100 whenever you need it. You know, I trust you to make that decision on your own. So just again, one of those examples of, of difference in leadership styles.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. And so when we mentioned late light chits, we're literally talking like the plebe will paste or not paste, but like tape a piece of paper to the front of their door that says like midshipman fourth class, Vermeer has permission to stay at pass taps on 28, August, 2017 or whatever it is. And then it'll like, it'll be signed, there'll be a signature from that first-class midshipman, uh, on that piece of paper and then they'll paste it on their door to make sure they have it. But you literally need to go through that process of getting that approval and have it literally taped on your door to make sure, um, that you're actually good to go on that front. All right. Um, and so a couple of things I just wanted to touch on, uh, in regards to the academic day, right as we're talking about plebe life, but also just life at the Naval Academy, you don't get the opportunity to skip class. Right? So this is a huge thing that's different between like normal classes. Like, Oh man, I stayed up until 2:00 AM last night and I need to get up at 6:00 AM to work out. Like, man, I really, it would be really nice if I could just skip this class. That's probably not that important. And take a nap. You do not have that ability at the Naval Academy. Your presence is required. That is your obligated place of duty is to be in the classroom you are supposed to be in. Um, so yeah, if you were gonna say something, yeah,Speaker 3:
absolutely. So, so attendance is taken in every single classroom. It's entered into a system called[inaudible], which I believe is called the Mitchem and information database system. Um, and, and it was tracked. And so if you were, if you missed a class and you were marked as absent, you either had to have a valid excuse, uh, for, for, you know, like a something, a, um, you know, an in let's say you're on a sports team and you were on at an away game, so you weren't at campus that day. Um, but if you didn't have a valid excuse, you, you would be held accountable for that. So you could end up being put into the conduct system. You could end up having to stand restriction or do all sorts of stuff. So you're absolutely right. Uh, you know, attendance was 100% mandatory in class.Speaker 1:
Yeah. And that just goes back to why I agree so strongly with Matt's decision to give late light sparingly is because, Hey, at the end of the day, you don't have a lot ability to sleep. And especially as a plea, right? You can't skip class, but then you're also not allowed to nap during the day normally. Um, and so it's really important that you get to sleep when the sleep provides itself. Right? And so trying to make sure people don't just assume that they're going to be able to stay up all night, but put a deadline on like, Hey, you got to get your work done by this time so you can go to sleep. Definitely helps the plebes out, um, and let them get, get the sleep that they don't realize that they really need because man like it definitely, it definitely is tough to manage your sleep at the Naval Academy. Um, but with all these things that we've talked about so far, um, what do you think was the hardest on you when you were a plebe and how did you kind of deal with some of these struggles of plebe life?Speaker 3:
Yeah, I think everybody has their challenges during plebe year. Uh, I'd be, I think you'd be hard pressed to find somebody who like goes through all of plebe year and then it was like, yeah, that was super easy. Um, so for me, the, the challenge was lack of sleep on somebody who even now I focus on trying to get myself like eight hours of solid sleep every day. So not necessarily getting that all the time. Uh, was, um, w w w was rough. Um, also the morning workout, so I was somebody who showed up at the Naval Academy. I th I think I was academically prepared for the Naval Academy, but physically I was not so much academic. Uh, I was not so much physically prepared for the Naval Academy. Um, so over plead summer and then into the plebe year, the workouts were always somewhat difficult for me. That being said, um, definitely, um, the, you know, the, the Academy does a great job of, of developing people physically and instilling a culture of, uh, of fitness. And I, and I really, uh, improved myself quite a bit over the course of my five of my four years there. Um, and so it's great. I think everybody comes into the Academy with their weaknesses. You know, it might be academic, it might be physical, it might be, uh, you know, other areas. Um, but the Academy does a great job of providing you support in whatever that area is that you need improvement.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. And I'll take that time as you saying that they do such a great job of instilling that culture of fitness, our P R T standards at the Naval Academy. So the physical readiness tests are extremely high, right? Like they, they set the, the minimum passing requirements at the Naval Academy are like a very, very high score within the fleet standards of the PRT. And they take a really big emphasis on making sure that the Naval Academy graduates kind of embody that culture of fitness and really live a life that is conducive to, uh, being really fit in everything that we do. Um, so that, that is absolutely something that is really important but really difficult with plebe year cause you're trying to balance that with all of the additional military trainings as we talk about doing child calls and doing pro bono and taking all those tests and, and showing up to these mandatory military trainings. And then you have to stay on top of your fitness on top of all that to pass a very difficult test at a, at a high standard. Um, it's very demanding and it's very challenging. And then to top all of that off, Oh, I'm sorry to cut you off, but I really want to mention that is that please don't even what we call it, the Naval Academy rate media or anything like that, which means they're not allowed to listen to music. They're not allowed to watch YouTube videos and lots of, you know, play video games or anything like that. Um, and so a lot of people that like study well with music or whatnot, it's like, well, unfortunately, like too bad dude, like at the end of the day, you, we as plebes do not have the ability, uh, to listen to music, watch movies, do anything that would take their focus away from achieving the mission, which is getting your homework done, getting to sleep on time so that way your body's recovered to then wake up, work out, go to school all day, play a sport, then come back and then do, do your homework all over again and repeat the cycle. Absolutely. So, um, but, but with all that being said, it's great. It's just a, for everyone who's listening and we just want to make sure that it is accurately portrayed that life as a plebe is very difficult. And as I'm sure we'll, we'll get into it here in a sec, it's definitely worth it. Um, but, but it is not to be underplayed that it is a very difficult time to manage all of the, uh, the time management priorities and things that have to go into succeeding during plead here. Um, all right, but with all of that, we're going to transition now, um, and kind of go into what I like to call the lightening round of questions. So, uh, Matt, everyone that I bring onto the podcast asked the same questions, uh, just to get a little bit of insight into the experience, uh, during their four years in Annapolis. So, uh, my first question for you is what is your favorite spot on the yard? Definitely try and like it a, it was a spot where kind of at the corner of the navel County campus where you can see the Chesapeake Bay and the Severn river, it's just an absolutely beautiful spot. I loved going there. I love taking visitors there as well. Absolutely. Um, next question. What is your favorite meal in King hall? So I don't remember what they were called, but there was this great meal for breakfast. It was like really common during our plebe year and then it became less common as time went on. I think for budget reasons, uh, but basically it was bread with egg and cheese baked inside of it. Um, and sometimes they could add some sausage into it too. It was, it was really, really good. Yeah, they're super good. They were like, they're like freshly made croissants and they had like eggs and cheese and salt. Yeah. Oh dude, those things are super good. And to be fair, you're that so much. You, you are the first person to answer with that, so congratulations. I hope you feel unique and special. That's a great answer. And it's, and it's, and it's entirely unique to the Naval Academy too. I've never seen that anywhere, anywhere else. Absolutely. Um, all right. But kind of moving on to something a little more sentimental here, um, who was over the course of your four years, who was the biggest either officer or senior enlisted leader mentor that you had? Uh, at the Naval Academy? Yeah. So I mean, there were so many, but if I had to pick one, uh, Cedar chief Wester, uh, he was the, the senior enlisted leader for 23rd company during my second class and first class years. And, uh, where you really helped me the most was when I became company commander. Um, it can be sometimes a lonely job. Um, and he was, he was just such a solid support structure for me. Um, and mostlySpeaker 3:
what he did was he taught me what the relationship between an officer and a chief is really supposed to be like. Um, you know, he, he, he was, he, he really set the standard for me for, for the rest of my career. Um, and he was such a great guy when it came to commissioning. I actually asked him to be my first salute. Uh, he meant that much to me. That's very much during my time at the Academy and miss, uh, miss that guy a lot. For sure.Speaker 1:
Yeah, absolutely. And that's so special. I'm glad you had that. Uh, and I had that too with the now master chief Conley, uh,[inaudible] same thing to the point where, uh, I had him, I asked him to be my first salute, just cause our relationship was that special. Um, and I think just the, the senior enlisted leader program at the Naval Academy is such an amazing thing. Um, because they're such high quality individuals that that really set the standard and the expectation of what a Jio, um, chief relationship should be. And it truly is special. Yeah. I couldn't agree more grand. Um, all right, moving on. So I just released a podcast earlier, uh, talk with Nikki DeGuzman from the class of 2016 about signature sheets at the Academy. So I wanted to follow up and ask you, what did you make plebes do in order to earn your signature?Speaker 3:
So I think I did a few different things during my time at the Academy, but, uh, one of the ones I thought that I really liked the most was a, I asked them to, to pick their, uh, their favorite and evil, uh, leader for I, it could be from history or it could be current, a leader and to tell me a little bit about them. And all that did was just require the police to do a little bit of research on somebody of significance and tell their story. And I, and I just hoped it was a little bit of a learning experience from them. Uh, a lot of people would for signature sheets wouldn't have. Please do like ridiculous, funny things. You know, I'm not a particularly funny person. I wouldn't call it the call that one of my strengths. So I tried to make something meaningful. Adam.Speaker 1:
I love that. Um, alright. And uh, moving on, uh, what is your favorite book?Speaker 3:
Um, so my favorite book is a, is faith in my father's, uh, it was written by a John McCain. Um, and actually it tells the story of first his grandfather and his father's time, uh, as admirals in the Navy, but then also his time in the Navy and including his time as a prisoner of war, uh, when he was, uh, in Vietnam. Uh, it's a really, really meaningful book to me. John came as a big, uh, uh, motivation for me, I think to come to the Academy in the first place. Um, actually I just visited the campus and I had the opportunity to, to visit his grave site, which is located at the Naval Academy cemetery. It was my first time seeing that and that was, that was really a special moment for me. Um, and, uh, you know, it's kind of, uh, it, you know, the navel County, we sit with John McCain's start, it's where he started his, his professional life and, uh, and it's just a special place for him and, and it's, you know, a special place for all of us.Speaker 1:
Absolutely. That's a great choice owl. I love that book and I'm glad you mentioned that. Um, alright, what is your greatest memory? What's your favorite memory from your four years in Annapolis?Speaker 3:
Alright, so, and I'm being completely honest here, I'm not just saying this cause, uh, cause you're running the podcast, but honestly it was, uh, my time working with during plebe summer. Like I said earlier, we had such an incredible team of people to work with. It was by far my most enjoyable time at the Academy. Uh, I look back on that so fondly and uh, and I really miss the, the team that we had and, and the opportunity to work with you and all those guys. It was, it was a great time.Speaker 1:
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I'm so, I'm so glad you say that. I mean, I honestly do appreciate it. It was probably my favorite time at T Academy too, like it was such a special experience. But I also want to take the time, like you're saying too, to think not only our midshipman staff but especially the officer's staff too, like working with commanded remain. We're going to uh, Lieutenant Colonel Coleman, um, you know, Lieutenant burgers and Lieutenant Rothchild, Lieutenant holiday, all these guys that just like made that experience one so developed mentally like profound within a short period of time, but also too just such an enjoyable time as well. Like for anyone who's listening for all the parents out there and whatnot, being a detailer is probably the best thing you can do as a midshipman at the Naval Academy. Like it is such a fantastic experience and I could not more highly recommend it to anyone out there, whether it's at naps or at the actual Naval Academy pleased summer. Highly recommend being a part of the detail staff. Um, and then the last thing, Matt, so we have a lot of listeners who are, you know, loved ones of midshipman, but we also have a lot of people who are just interested in the Naval Academy wanting to learn a little bit more about it. Um, so if someone out there is thinking about attending the Naval Academy, what advice or thoughts do you think they should consider in regards to if determining the Naval Academy is the place for them?Speaker 3:
Hmm, well I think if they're considering applying, this should absolutely apply. Um, you know, there, there's all sorts of opportunities for people to learn more. They can go to the summer seminar in the summer leading up to their, a, their senior year of high school. They can do the STEM camps that the Academy has to offer. But really I go visit the Academy. Um, you know, I mentioned earlier that I w I was just there visiting and uh, you know what, it really dawned on me, you know, happy with it being now just over two years since we graduated, when I was there back. And it just, it's such a special place. The Naval Academy, I really don't think that there's anything else like it in the world. I mean, maybe the other service academies are diverse, similar in that in that regards. But, um, just an institution that is centered around a common mission, everybody's there for one purpose and that's to develop themselves as a leader, um, to be able to go and serve their country. Um, and it's just such a special place. Uh, and that really dawned on me when I was visiting and so and so you really got to go visit. And I think whenever, as soon as you step step foot on campus, you really start to understand that.Speaker 1:
Yeah, absolutely. And that's such a great answer from such a great person and such a great Naval officer. But like, like he was saying, the people that are at the Naval Academy are just one, so high-performing, so competitive and just such great people that they continually push you even just by default, like just through peer pressure to continually develop as a person, as a leader. Um, you know, just, just as iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another. Right. And the men and women at the Naval Academy include not only the midshipman, but the, the faculty, the staff, the professors, everything like that. It is like you saying, since it's such a special environment and a special place, um, I couldn't recommend it or talk more positively about my four years of the Academy and that's with me having a very terrible plebe year and really hating it to me, please here. Um, but, but now being on the other side, like you're saying, two years removed, like there's no place, um, that can really compare to the Naval Academy. So I really appreciate you saying that and just encouraging people like, Hey, if you're considering it, do it because it really is, it is an experience that you can't get anywhere else. Yeah. And it sets you up for whatever it is you wanna do in life. Um, you know, if you want to make that a 20 year Naval career and, and devote, you know, your entire life to this organization, fantastic. But if you want to, you know, do, do a five years of service and then, and then look for other opportunities in the government, uh, jobs or in the civilian world. Um, it, you can do what you can do any of that and in the Naval Academy be such a great jumping off point for any opportunities that you might want to pursue. Absolutely. Well, Matt, thank you so much. This has been a phenomenal conversation and I really appreciate you taking the time to share these stories with us. Uh, thanks so much. Granted, it's such a pleasure being here. Like I said earlier, uh, I think what you're doing with, uh, with this, uh, this podcast and with your website and everything, uh, it's such a great resource for, for families of current Mitchem and then for future, uh, uh, mission and into to come and find it. Not so much about the academies, it's, you know, I think having something like this is kind of been a long time coming and you're providing really valuable service. So, so it's my pleasure to be here and be able to participate in this today. Thanks for having me. Thank you. I really appreciate it and for everyone out there, I hope you all learned a little bit about the the day to day life of a plebe at the Naval Academy, some of the things that they're required to do and just a little bit about their overall experience during their first year. So thanks again to Matt. Thank you for sharing your story and for all my listeners out there, take care and have a great day. Thanks. Thank you all for listening to the podcast and I hope you learned a little bit about the plebe day to day experience at the United States Naval Academy. Please leave me a review on iTunes and be sure to subscribe to the Academy insider podcast. If you want to learn a little bit more about life at the United States Naval Academy, check out my Facebook page, Academy insider and go to my webpage, www.academyandsaturday.com all links discussed in the show for any book he mentioned or anything else are listed in the show notes. I'm grant for mere Naval Academy class of 2017 and thank you so much for letting me be your guide to the United States Naval Academy.