[They have really cool hats at the Naval Academy: as seen in the photo above.]
Just a few days ago I visited the US Naval Academy and attended their Summer STEM program. In this post, I’ll look at several things: the campus, food/rooms, and what the Midshipmen (the school’s attendees) seemed to think about the school itself.
Let’s start it off with the Campus. Called “the Yard” by the Midshipmen, it’s an expansive and beautiful school right next to the water. It contains many squirrels and has fireflies at night (both a plus). The architecture is top-notch, at least I think it so. I don’t know anything about buildings, but there were domes and windows and things, so it was probably great. There isn’t much for me to say about the Yard except that it’s very nice, and that it was very beautiful.
The food and rooms I can elaborate on a little more. The food was good, but one of the Midshipmen said that it was worse during the school year, because of more people, but all in all pretty alright. All meals are served family-style, with a salad bar and a few other things off to the side. Midshipmen and campers had little choice in what they were served. During the school year, all meals but dinner are mandatory. This policy is representative of a lot of the school: as a military academy, the US Naval Academy is very regimented. Set times, strict rules. This included when we could be in our rooms, as well.
The rooms were usually clean but small and plain and much lamer than the buildings on the outside. There were rules on when we could be in our rooms, and when we were, we had to keep the door open at exactly a 90-degree angle unless we were changing or showering. (They clearly didn’t trust us at all). Aside from that, there was nothing truly special about the rooms. I would judge them okay. It should also be known that pretty much everyone has 1-2 roommates, Midshipmen as well as campers. Side note: My roommate was the best roommate. (Cat, if you’re reading this, you were the best roommate.)
The Midshipmen’s opinion on the school revealed plenty of information. There seemed to be agreement that…
- You don’t get much sleep there. Five Midshipmen, leaders of the squads in our platoon, agreed that no one in the Naval Academy gets more than eight hours of sleep a night: life is very busy. While the sixth Midshipmen said that she did indeed get eight hours of sleep, the others accused her of lying.
- Freshmen year was really hard. All of the Midshipmen that were involved in my Platoon were rising sophomores, and sincerely admitted that Freshmen year (or Plebe year) was very difficult. Then the only rising Senior said, “Plebe year was nothing.” (Yikes!)
- You meet a lot of great friends. Almost every Midshipman said that they gained real friends here. One said that her friends from home, who she once thought to be her best friends, were nothing in comparison to the relationships she built at the Naval Academy.
- Plenty of rough moments. The Midshipmen told us that if we joined, we should take everything lightly. One even said that the bad moments outnumbered the good, and we just had to remember the good moments. But all seemed to agree that good memories came out of the place and that all the friends you’d meet would help you get through any difficulties.
That’s most of what I observed at the camp about the school itself. The camp was great and the academic modules were engaging, but the whole experience was very tiring. I’d usually write some sort of nice tie-up or conclusion at the end of this, but I’ve decided to go sleep instead.