Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live life on the Yard and walk (or jog, as the plebes do) inside the hallowed halls of the Naval Academy? As the USNA’s only goat midshipman, I can tell you: A day in the life of a midshipman is no ordinary one. Come along with me as we step into the shoes of a midshipman for the day (I had mine specially made) and see what really goes on inside these gates!
Midshipman second class Justin Chu is a Robotics and Control Engineering major at the Academy. He created a vlog of his time during Plebe Year to help those considering applying to the USNA. Midshipman Chu notes, “I’m doing this because I want to give you guys the opportunity that I didn’t have to have a bit more knowledge about the Academy before you apply and go.” For those of you looking to be a part of this incredible tradition, those of you who have been in those spaces yourselves and those of you who are just curious about what it takes to live the Academy life, here’s what the USNA routine looks like for midshipmen in their plebe year.
Midshipmen Routine: Weekday Schedule
0600: Wake up and get dressed in working blue uniform, make bed and prepare room.
0630: Morning Chow Calls: Plebes run through the halls and congregate to recite the day’s schedule to upperclassmen.
0700: Morning Meal at King Hall. On this day, it’s scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes and oatmeal. I’ll eat anything, but this looks especially delicious!
0755: First Period Class: Since Midshipman Chu doesn’t have one this semester, he takes the time to do devotionals and get organized for the day.
0855: Second Period Class: Chemistry.
0955: Third Period Class: Seamanship & Navigation.
1055: Fourth Period Class: Calculus.
1205: Noon Meal Formation.
1215: Noon Meal at King Hall. On this day it’s a full salad bar with rolls, pulled beef, grilled chicken and more.
1220: Announcements & Prayer, then it’s time to eat!
1245: Noon Meal Training.
1330: Fifth Period Class: Naval History.
1430: Sixth Period Class: He does not have a sixth period class this day.
1545: Team Lift at the weight room: The time from 15:45 - 18:00 is typically when varsity and intramural athletics, extracurricular and personal activities take place; there are also drills and parades twice weekly in the fall and spring.
1645: Team Swim. On this afternoon, it’s two hours long.
1845: Evening Meal: It’s another great meal, including fish, rice and vegetables, served family style at King Hall.
2000: Evening Briefs.
2100: Evening Study Period: Midshipman Chu spends the next two hours at Nimitz Library, getting his work done. Typically, study period runs from 20:00 - 23:00.
2400: Taps and lights out for all midshipmen.
While this schedule can vary for each midshipman based on what year they’re in and what their activities are, it gives you the general idea. Here’s a typical weekday schedule that also includes plebe year requirements. Yes, these schedules seem packed, but they are actually even fuller - military duties, inspection preparation and extra academic instruction also fill the time of typical midshipmen, starting in plebe year and continuing all four years at the Academy.
How Does the Midshipmen Schedule Fit in Clubs and Activities?
As you might imagine, getting time with your team or group depends on the club and activity you’re participating in. For Midshipman Chu, water polo practices and games are in the early evening. Most clubs and activities meet between 15:45 and 18:00, right after the sixth period class. In addition to varsity sports, the USNA offers 140 club and sports activities, from the Debate Team to the Dolphin Club to the Drum and Bugle Corps (and that’s just the ones starting with “D”). There is never a “D”ull moment around here!
USNA Life Goes Beyond the Classes
Of course some days will be more exciting, with parades at Worden Field, the Ring Dance for second-class midshipmen and large sporting events like the high octane football games that bring thousands to the Yard to cheer us on to beat Army! Those are my favorite, and I take my duty to move the midshipmen to victory very seriously. The daily routines are incredibly important, though. Through great habits, excellence is born.
Yes, life at the Naval Academy is filled to the brim with academics, military education, athletics, art, music and most of all Navy pride. Now that you've seen behind the scenes, you can be a bigger part of it and support the brigade with any purchase you make on Navyonline.com. Proceeds from the site go directly towards the various clubs, activities and services that all midshipmen enjoy. In addition to helping fund club sports like water polo, the NABSD also provides thousands of haircuts, uniforms, shoes, drycleaning and laundry items and more. They keep us all at the top of our game, every day in the life. Speaking of the Navy life, we look forward to Midshipman Chu’s next story. Stay tuned….