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Survival Hints for Plebes

Plebe is short for Plebeian, from the Latin meaning "a member of the ancient Roman lower class or common people" and lowly it is. But with determination and self-discipline, and the help of your fellow classmates, you will meet the challenges of being a lowly Plebe one-day at a time.

Get in Shape!

If you’re not already in excellent physical condition, start getting that way now! Plebe summer will be very demanding and the hot, humid days of running and physical exercise will take its toll. 

You should now be running at least three mile stretches and probably longer to get prepared for distance running this summer. 

New Schedules

In addition to getting in shape physically, candidates should begin acclimating their bodies to their new time schedule, 0530 - 2230 hrs. (5:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.) well in advance of I-Day. 

You will not be allowed to lie down on your bed during the day until taps at night, so you should make sure that you are in great shape so you can survive all that marching, running, and chopping without a nap!

Get a Haircut

Get a regulation haircut before reporting in on I-Day. It won’t keep you from getting a haircut that day, and every week thereafter during your Plebe year, but at least you won’t be such a shock to your parents on Parents Weekend.

No More Civilian Clothes

You will have no need for civilian clothes. 

What to Bring

The academy issues most, if not all, necessities, but you will receive a list of what to bring. 

Anything you bring that has NOT been authorized will go into storage for the summer in the bag with the civilian clothes you came in.  Give anything to your parents that may melt and ruin things in that bag over the summer.  

Keep your wallet on your body, not in your bag. If it goes into storage and you need it, you will have to ask your 2/C for permission to go searching for it. DON’T let that happen to you!

If you find that there are other things you need, have your parents mail them to you after you have made it through Induction Day



Computers will be issued to each new Plebe before the start of the academic year.  Printers are also issued.

Survival Challenge

Consider the summer a survival challenge. You will not be the first one to have undergone the trying time, nor will you be the last. 

Take whatever harassment may be issued one moment at a time, everything has a purpose. You may not see that purpose during Plebe summer, but by the time you are a Youngster you will appreciate the "hidden motives".

Organize your time

Never allow 15 minutes to go by without doing something constructive. If nothing else is pressing immediately - clean your room. You can never get it clean enough to pass inspection without some hits anyway.

Alarm Clock

You will be issued an electric alarm clock. You might want to have your parents mail you one with a louder alarm. Your Upperclass will see that you get up, but you will not want to go out into the hall to see what time it is. 

A reliable, shock-absorbing wristwatch is good to have also.


If you are not an expert at some sport, now may be the time to try something that you may have never had the opportunity to participate in before, i.e. rugby, lacrosse, squash, or crew. You will also get an opportunity to enter the boxing ring in competition, though probably not until your second year.

Know Your Rates

Thoroughly digest the regulations governing the USNA and pay particular attention to the Plebe Indoctrination System. It is vital that you study and know your rates when asked.


Stamps and writing materials will be issued. Send your address back home to family and friends as soon as possible. 

Mail can be the highlight of your day and if no one has your address, you can’t get any! Your Plebe address will last only through the summer and will change once the academic year commences.

Phone Calls 

 Over Plebe summer you are typically allowed to make three calls home at a time schedule by the Academy.  At the start of the Academic year, cell phones are given back. 


E-mail through the computer is a great way to stay in touch with family and friends at other universities. Ask friends to send you their Internet address at their respective schools. If you don’t know how to use E-mail now - you will learn!  

Of course, you can’t Email until you have your computer which won’t happen until the end of the summer, so get your friends to write you via "snail-mail"! 


A small amount of money is always nice to have. Incidentals such as cleaning supplies need to be purchased. The Yard Card is widely accepted on the Yard. A major credit card for the unexpected is good back up. 

Details, Details, Details

Learn to pay attention to small details and everything else will follow. For example, always look at yourself quickly in the mirror before you leave your room, and glance back at the room to see if it is "shipshape" and "squared away".


You will be learning countless things this summer. Some of it, maybe most of it, will seem trivial and meaningless. You will be memorizing hundreds of names, addresses, sayings, songs, cadences and monuments. 

Recognize that there is going to be a tremendous amount of mental stress and that you are learning to perform under pressure. They want to see how you think and react quickly under pressure. 

You’ll have your turn to be the trainer in a couple of years, and that is challenging too. 

Keep in mind that as a Midshipman, you are in training as a future naval officer. You must learn to think clearly under pressure and react quickly; the lives of many men and women may depend on your ability to do so. 

Survival Study Habits 

You also need to practice proper study and learning habits to survive the first academic semester. Expect to spend most of your weekends studying. Get extra instruction (EI) when needed, the staff is required to provide it.

Expect stiff competition from everyone. Get accustomed to being "average"! Everyone there is just like you, they were outstanding in their high school, they are every bit as motivated and talented as you are. 

Be friendly and helpful, you are making the best friends you will have for the rest of your life. You NEED each other to survive this experience! And remember there is no "I" in TEAM.

Sense of Humor

Keep your sense of humor, but be careful not to let it show at inappropriate times. Your wise remark could end up "frying" your whole squad. Remember that the ultimate purpose for this type of training is to develop leadership skills so that you can become an effective part of the Navy team.


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