Most candidates have heard from USNA. If you are one of the 1,000+ who got an offer, and you accepted, you’re wondering what to do with yourself until I-Day at the end of June. This webpage on USNA.edu will provide black and white details, but there’s so much more. A question I often get from women concerns women in a male world. How’s that work?
I asked a recent USNA graduate to help me on that. Lt. Meaghan Murray graduated in 2008, served on the USS Bunker Hill and then the newly-commissioned USS San Diego for her two sea tours, and now is assigned to Washington DC for her stateside tour–the last mandatory assignment before she makes the choice to stay in or become a civilian–and will start an MBA program at University of Maryland in the Fall. Here’s her advice to women:
Ok, you got in! Cheer up, that wasn’t the hard part. There are a million ways to mess it up now. You’re not a big fish in a small pond anymore. Everyone is Type A and out to succeed. We operate like a team and look out for each other, but we all need to individually get through the same obstacles, too. It’s unfortunately common these days for women to play dumb. DON’T! No one respects dumb people at USNA. People who earn the greatest respect are the ones who get the grades, run the fastest, tell the funniest stories, ooze charisma, and seem to do it all effortlessly. Basically, at USNA we are so used to operating in a world where you out perform the people around you that the way to earn respect is to outperform the out performers. You have to be more than a jack of all trades; you have to me a master of all trades. But trust me, you’ll be better for it! Never settle. Always look for your deficiencies (won’t have to try hard because the upperclassmen will be there to point them out to you) and ALWAYS fix them before they snowball.
Women also have leverage over men with their femininity. DON’T USE IT. While the man is under your spell, he still knows he’s under you spell. Don’t dilute your righteous accomplishments with your femininity. Guess what? You’re feminine without any extra effort on your part. God made you that way. Leverage your intelligence, wit and knowledge of trivia—NOT your sexual organs for which you cannot take credit. Enough said.
Don’t forget to smell the roses. It’s hard to remember when you’re being yelled at and bells are going off for classes you’re not prepared to attend, but the Naval Academy is a beautiful, historic place. There are tons of opportunities to maximize your time there and you’ll really regret it if you don’t make the effort. Go to the museum, read the plaques on all the statues, go to church, put up a huge sign for Army/Navy week in T Court, play sports on Hospital Point, try to jump the wall one time (don’t get caught), visit the cemetery, take the sailboats out. People don’t get to do this stuff in regular college. You do, so don’t abuse the opportunity by ignoring it.
Above all, have fun! Get that diploma and start tailgating in the alumni tent at the football games. It’s way more fun on the outside!
If you want to talk to Lt. Murray, leave a comment here. She’ll get in touch with you in between her Naval responsibilities. Here are a few pictures of her journey:
Follow USNA or Bust on Twitter
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a tech columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for ISTE’s Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, and IMS tech expert. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, with questions.