As I discuss in my book, A USNA Mom’]s Journal, as N*avy parents and mentors, we usually focus on Plebe Summer and Plebe Year – as many of you have heard, these to evolutions, so to speak, are the equivalent of two-thirds of the N*avy journey. They are taxing, unpredictable, and emotional with lots of uncertainty. Plebes are the lowest on the CoC and aren’t even Midshipmen per se until after the Herndon Climb, when they earn the right to be Plebe No More and are now official 4/C MIDN. Plebes have no privileges to speak of and life in general is an exhausting marathon with constant applied pressure from many directions: academic, physical, professional, military, athletic, and spiritual.
Youngster Year, I like to call the “invisible” year because the 3/C Midshipmen are no longer Plebes. As a mater of fact those 3/Cs that are on the Yard for I-Day seem to shudder as they watch current Plebes endure I-Day. The one comment I always get when I ask a Youngster observing I-Day how they feel? It is always, “I am glad that I am not a Plebe any more!”
Youngsters fly under the radar and are concentrated on making up for the damage caused to their academics during Plebe Year Chemistry, known as the Plebe Killer. They also begin the leadership journey as they are assigned “their” Plebe to mentor through out the AC Year. My former Youngsters took it very seriously. They made sure “their” Plebes were staying on top of things, offered advice and help when needed, and answered questions, and were a source of support. They have to walk a fine line between being an Upperclass and being a Plebe mentor – they are not friends – they can’t be! Fraternization is an conduct violation. So they begin their training as Officers, leading, supporting, advocating, but not crossing the line into friendship. My now-Officers were amazed that the moment the Commissioning ceremony was over, they were flooded with “friend” requests on social media from Plebes and other Mids they had mentored. They know the rules and they begin to learn how to navigate their leadership roles as Youngsters.
In my book, I focus on the goal of the journey – it is what happens during 2/C and Firstie years. This is when Mids enter leadership roles at the Company, Battalion, and Brigade levels, and begin to think ahead to Commissioning and their assigned service community.
There is so much that is jam-packed into these two years for Mids and parents alike! Join me for a great conversation with Julie Haller, four-time N*avy Mom, she is a USAFA grad, and a N*avy parent mentor, as we discuss the momentous arrival of 2/C year with 2 for 7 signing and keeps moving forward at a supersonic pace. We can personally tell you that it does not slow down from there!
I invite you to listen to my podcast, “A Look at 2/C and Firstie Years – Part 1 | Episode 25“, as wJulie and I discuss all there is to know about 2/C year and looking toward service assignments and Commissioning. Then listen to “A Look at 2/C and Firstie Years – Part 2 | Episode 26″, as Julie and I walk down memory lane and remember the high points, low points, joys, and uncertainties that are the pinnacle of the USNA journey as we look at Firstie year. We also discuss the uncertainty that begins all over again when they join the Fleet and Marine Corps.
You can Search for other Episodes that may be helpful here. I especially recommend the following:
- Episode 7 with special guest Elaine Brye
- Episode 13 on Service Assignments with MCPO (Ret) Jeff Kirby
- Episodes 17, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 33 – Listen here
- And other insightful episodes like my conversation with Janie Mines.