Posted by: Jacqui Murray | July 21, 2011

You Know You’re a Plebe Parent if…

from one of the many USNA parent networks. It all starts with a sense of humoraerial campus

You Know You’re a PLEBE PARENT When…

  • you somehow work into every conversation that your child is a Midshipman at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
  • you find any excuse to break out that picture of your Plebe taken during PPW in their Summer Whites and show it to everyone you know, and even to people you don’t know!
  • You rush home from work each day to check the USNA-Net Photo Gallery and the Dropshots website for pictures of your Plebe.
  • you buy blue and gold sugar to decorate your Christmas cookies…and don’t understand why others buy green and red.
  • your other children groan, roll their eyes at you and say, “You’re Obsessed!”
  • you know that the “Yard” is not that unmowed patch of grass that surrounds your house.
  • you actually know the words to “Anchors Aweigh”
  • you skip your neighbor’s wedding to wait for that all too fast, once a week, 5 minute phone call — and then he doesn’t call til the next day!
  • you are on a first name basis with the local Post Office staff.
  • you can’t get dressed without at least one item from the Mid Store.
  • you feel guilty enjoying air conditioning during Plebe Summer and beyond.
  • if YOU lost weight during Plebe Summer.
  • you cry every time you hear the hymn “Eternal Father.”
  • Blue and Gold have suddenly become your favorite colors.
  • you live on the net hoping the elusive message will arrive.
  • you have pre-I Day photos on your desk beside those taken over Parents’ Week so that you can see the new maturity on your mid’s face.
  • you worry about the Bancroft roaches that might hitch a ride to your house during Thanksgiving leave.
  • the sight of the engraved marble slab in Memorial Hall makes tears spring to your eyes.
  • you begin to use nautical terms and find that you understand them.
  • you know that your mid lost more weight over Plebe Summer than the Academy acknowledges.
  • you check the mail every day the way you did when you were in college.
  • your identity becomes inseparable from your mids and even your signature contains a reference to him/her.
  • you sent a taller appointee to I-Day than the one the Academy measured. (…interesting way to camouflage weight loss.}
  • the Academy website and USNA-Net are among your list of frequently visited pages.
  • the National Anthem has taken on an entirely different meaning.
  • you look at your clock every night at “lights out” and thank God your plebe is in the rack, off his/her feet and not being grilled!
  • receiving e-mail longer than 4 lines makes you fall to your knees in thanksgiving.
  • you see the world in terms of suitability for care packages: “good box for care Package,” “good care package item”, “too perishable for care package”, “good storage container for Bancroft”, etc.
  • your prayers include lines like “and please, God, let [my midn] NOT be one of those on crutches at the game” or “help me to appreciate all upperclassmen…even those on the hall who seem to have sadistic tendencies” …
  • your friends start to groan/roll their eyes when you start to talk (again) about your mid, the Yard, the Academy
  • you have spent at least 15 minutes since the beginning of August trying to absolve yourself for thinking someone OTHER than your son was in fact your child….
  • you have at least one picture of a good looking plebe you actually thought was your own child, in some formation…you don’t know who he or she is, but you can’t bring yourself to throw away the print…after all, these are members of the Brigade!
  • you look for ANY excuse that brings you within a 100 mile radius of Baltimore on business … “no, really, I think I do need to brush up on legal issues surrounding maritime patents”
  • when they forecast the course of the NEXT hurricane, you find yourself worried if it’s heading to the mid-Atlantic states…and you live in Kansas
  • you have Anchor’s Aweigh playing on the answering machine
  • your voice mail says Beat Army every time you have mail
  • “Annapolis” means much more to you now than it did when it was just the capital of Maryland!
  • you shoot a full 36 roll of film of your mid “wearing the same white uniform” and think your friends are as anxious to see them as you are.

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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  1. […] Life the USNA Way You Know You’re a Plebe if… July 30, 2009 If you read my post on Plebe Parents, here’s one for your future or current Plebes. These are from the USNA parent networks. Good […]

  2. Wish I was a Plebe parent. We have your book. My son will be a senior this year and wants NOTHING MORE than to go to the Naval Academy. So far he has made contact and had a preliminary meeting with blue and gold officer, got 10 letters of recommendation and given them to our local congressman (who he has also made contact with) and taken the SAT and ACT.
    My son is an Eagle Scout, Senior Patrol leader of his scout troop of 80 kids. He is also a Sea Cadet (received Honor cadet at boot camp) He is going to petty officer leadership academy this summer for Sea Cadets. He is a 4 yr wrestler, 2 yr pole vaulter and it looks like he will be the school mascot this year. He is involved in video production at school and is an extremely artistic out of the box thinker. He is a well rounded, passionate, patriotic kid. His shortfall is a 3.4 GPA. He got rejected from summer seminar and just got a letter saying that his academics need to be stronger and he should retake the ACT and SAT. (He was planning on doing that anyway) But as far as a well rounded person with leadership and athletic experience as well as being involved in Sea Cadets I don’t know why they told him not to even proceed beyond a preliminary application! Can’t he still apply and try to get into NAPS or a foundation scholarship? He was pretty upset when he got that letter. If they only knew how serious he is about this. Do they not want to see a well rounded person? Is it always about the GPA and SAT? He is smart but not the best test taker because of the timing issue. Should we proceed at all at this point? Should he still try to get a congressional nomination? He is considering going to Valley Forge Military College as a self designated “prepster” for the academy but even then it is only a 50/50 shot (and expensive!) I am trying to help him but I am not sure what we should do at this point? Do you recommend he call the admissions office? How persistent should you be? Should he just go in another direction completely? He is such an awesome kid who stays out of trouble and wants nothing more than to serve his country as a naval officer and possible Navy SEAL. They don’t know what they are giving up. Wish they could talk to him in person instead of looking at his numbers on paper. He also has an interest in Naval Architecture and politics.
    Any and all advice is welcome. Thank you!

    • Yes, do anything you can to deliver the message to USNA that your son is the right choice. They respect tenacity and perseverance. Do retake the SAT. My daughter took it 4 times, each one a bit better than the last. What does the B&G officer recommend? You have a Congressional interview coming up in November (ish). The Congressman has the ability to push your son to the top of his list if he’s that impressed, so focus on that. I have a few posts that discuss it on this blog. Go to some Service Academy nights and have your son introduce himself to the Congressional rep so they are familiar with him. Have your son take the hardest classes offered at his school. That helps to make up for a lower GPA. We didn’t visit the Admissions office, but if we’d been back there, we would have. Not many do that, so it will make your son stand out..

      Let me know how it goes.

  3. I got this email from a future Mid Parent. I want to share it because it expresses the feelings of so many other people I hear from.

    I’ve been meaning to thank you for months for the blog site. My 14 year old son devours everything from it – as do I. He begins his Freshman year in about 19 days. Everything will count then and he has a growing appreciation for what is at stake. Your blog has been a great source of motivation for him for a while. I’m looking forward to purchasing your book.

    His school currently has one graduate who is going into his 3rd year at the USNA. The varsity football coach went to a great deal of trouble to coordinate with that Mid’s family to arrange for the two to spend some time together after a summer football workout session. The window of opportunity was very small because of the Mid’s summer commitments. But it happened! The Mid was incredible and was gracious enough to spend a great deal of time with my son that morning telling him about what he can expect in a few years and the mindset he needs to develop now.

    I thought I was just going to thank you for your blog. But after reading a little about your family, i must, above all else, thank you for sharing your two kids with our Nation. We are praying for them and their families.

    By the way, please don’t slow down your life to respond to this. It doesn’t look like you have enough hours in the day as it is. 🙂

    Semper Fi,

    Montgomery, AL

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