United States Military Academy at West Point
We don’t select our major until September of our sophomore (yuk) year. I believe I will pick between Management and Defense and Strategic Studies. DSS is a major unique to West Point that some say is basically “majoring in the Army.”
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN AT WEST POINT SO FAR?
My experience at West Point has had its ups and downs, like most kids going off to college out of state. You get used to living on your own, interacting with all types of roommates, and adjusting to the rigor of the academic load placed in front of you. West Point cadets have all of these things and more, especially if they have no military background. Initially it was a bit of a culture shock, but I eventually got the hang of it, however I still have plenty to learn. West Point Cadets all graduate in 48 months. It is an institution that teaches you to follow before you learn to lead. As I go into my yuk year, the plebes (freshman) will be recognized and be promoted to the rank of Cadet Corporal. With the change of rank comes with all new responsibilities and your duty to serve as a role model to the plebes.
ACADEMICALLY, HOW DOES IT STACK UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
It has met my expectations. I expected it to be hard and in many ways it has been extremely difficult. My first semester I struggled to maintain a “C” average. The time management skills that I needed to develop started to kick in my second semester. I am now obtaining for the first 6 weeks “As” and “Bs” in every subject including Boxing, a required physical course for plebes along with Military Movement (gymnastics).
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ATHLETICALLY?
I ran three cross country races, one at WP and also traveled to Lehigh University and Cornell. Unfortunately, I injured my ankle in the beginning of the indoor track season which set me back 6 weeks. During this time I had to add cross training and physical therapy to my already busy schedule. Training is going good now and I look forward to the outdoor season and this summer when I can log 60 miles a week to prepare for next season.
GOALS FOR YOUR FIRST YEAR? ARE YOU MEETING THEM?
Adjusting to Military life and being away from home, learning and developing time management skills, but most of all I was not sure exactly what WP would be like and frankly I just wanted to survive. Last semester I passed all my classes so I have survived.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER COLLEGE?
I have no way to plan this at this time. It depends on several factors. Class Rank will determine my choice in selection of what job placement in the Army or what “Branch” I will get. Also where I will be stationed in the world. I will serve a minimum of 5 years in the Army.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST THING ABOUT BEING AT WEST POINT?
I would have to say the toughest thing about being at WP is some of the things that go along with being a Plebe. For example, we can’t talk at all outside, you have to walk with cupped hands at all times, you have to square your corners when turning inside a building. For every cadet at the Academy regardless of rank you deal with a lack of sleep. I was use to 8-10 hours and here I average 5-6.
ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE THAT WANTS TO ATTEND WEST POINT?
Start the application process early and go there for a visit. It is an amazing place to be and I can’t see myself any where else but I also do not think it is for everyone. There are already 72 gone from my class either by out processing themselves or being asked to leave.