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No matter what the background of a future cadet is, chances are the living arrangements at the academy are different from anything he or she have experienced. The day begins with reveille and ends with lights out. The cadet goes on details, marches to meals and wears uniforms for almost everything he or she does. The cadet and his roommates must keep their room ready for a military inspection at any time and keep personal uniforms in regulation conditions: a room or uniform that is not in proper order or “squared away” will result in punishment for its owner.
All cadets live in a dormitory complex. The future officer is assigned to a room with one or more cadets and lives in close proximity to about 130 other cadets in his company. Male and female cadets from all four classes make up each company. Each company has its own living area, for meetings and recreation. Cadet rooms are wired for computers, Internet access and phones.
The company is the most important unit of the 4,000-member Brigade of Cadets. Many of the most rewarding experiences at the Academy are those the cadets share with members of their company. They eat, sleep, study, drill, play and compete as teams with their company mates. The cadets learn to trust and rely on each other. The company experience also give the person an idea of how things work in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, where small-unit cohesion, teamwork and morale are as important in peacetime operations as in combat. Each year, companies compete for the title, ‘Color Company’, the best in the Brigade. The year-long color competition among the 30 companies is one way company spirit is built. Companies accumulate points for academic, professional and intramural excellence. The company with the most points is recognized at the Color Parade during Commissioning Week and then enjoys special privileges for the next year, including the honor of representing the Academy at official functions such as presidential inaugurations.
Typical Day at a Military Academy
0445. The day starts with the blaring sounds of Reveille over the Public Address (PA) system in the barracks. The cadets snap out of their racks and get dressed for morning PT (Physical Training). Each company of cadets forms up in ranks for morning exercises and a brisk morning run. They run in formation as the Drill Instructor (DI) provides a motivating cadence to keep everyone in step.
0600. Morning run ends with company led cheers to show their spirit. After a brief cool-down period of stretches the cadets are given the opportunity to shower and put on their uniforms for Breakfast muster.
0635–0710. The cadets march into the mess hall for a delicious and nutritious meal. During the meal the cadets are required to sit on the front six inches of their chair with their feet flat on the floor at a 45 degree angle. This promotes good posture, or at least that's what they are told.
0710–0800. After Breakfast the cadets return to the barracks to clean their rooms. The cadets make their beds to exacting precision with hospital corners. Next the cadets are responsible for cleaning the bathrooms and showers that are in the barracks. At approximately 0745 the Drill Instructors and Officers inspect the cadets rooms and cleaning stations. Details are meticulously inspected to ensure proper hygiene.
0800. Morning Colors. At 0800 each day the cadets get into formation to raise the flag. This very symbolic ceremony instills pride and respect for America.
0800–1200. Four one hour instructional and administrative periods. These various blocks of time are filled with instruction in marching and drill, honor and integrity, military studies, leadership as well as other basic subjects. The administrative duties include issuing of new uniforms and supplies, paperwork and medical examinations. The cadets also receive counseling and instruction on stress management.
1200–1300. Lunch. During the meals the cadets are responsible for setting up their tables, serving themselves as well as the officers, and cleaning up afterwards. All cadets quickly learn to clean up after themselves.
1300–1700. More one hour sessions with topics such as military duties and familiarization with the military traditions.
1700–1800. Afternoon PT and intramurals. All cadets are required to participate in various athletic events. This participation fosters teamwork, competitiveness and company pride.
1800–1900. Dinner. Before each meal all cadets are given the opportunity to say grace if so desired. Each candidate is given 20 full minutes to complete his or her meal.
1900–2045. Company time and review of the day's performance to correct problems observed throughout the day to ensure compliance with Regimental standards.
2045. Taps - lights out. Each candidate gets a full eight hours of sleep each night to prepare for the next days rigorous tasks.
When one adds to this schedule the time required for military duties, inspection preparation and extra academic instruction, one can see the demands on personal time are considerable.
Even with a cadet’s demanding academic and athletic schedule, he or she will have time for extracurricular activities (ECAs). There are more than 90 that give cadets a chance to share recreational, professional and athletic interests. Cadets run most of the ECAs. Among them are Athletics/Club Sports, Aikido Club, Pistol Club, Powerlifting Club, Rugby Club, Astronomy Club, Chemistry Club, French Club, Musical/Theatrical, Catholic Choir.