Jacob Hare ’17 returned to Culver Academies to talk with interested students about attending the United States Military Academy and to answer questions about the service academies and ROTC programs in general.
Hare, a second classman at West Point, said the academics are rigorous, but that is for a reason. During the first two years, the service academies challenge you to make sure you want to be there. He said the standard class size for fourth classmen at West Point is 1,300. By the time the class graduates, it will be down to approximately 1,000.
In many ways, West Point is like Culver, only at a higher intensity level, he said. The academics are harder. The training is tougher and you have to manage your time better. “It is designed to make you fail,” he said of the system, adding a cadet can get pulled in a lot of different directions. That causes you doubt yourself.
But by capitalizing on your free time, working ahead on your class assignments (which are laid out on a calendar for each semester), a person can effectively manage their time. He has found he has to “micromanage” his time to make sure he is ahead in his classes just in case something pops up unexpectedly, “which can happen.”
But that doesn’t mean the cadets don’t have free time. Along with athletics, there are dozens of organizations to choose from. New cadets are restricted on the number of times they can leave campus, but older cadets can take leave on the weekends and New York is just an hour away by car or 90 minutes by train.
He credits Culver with making his transition to Army easier, especially when it came to getting along with others in his unit and talking with professors and leaders. He does wish he had taken more advanced math classes while he was here, Hare said. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do the work, but it was taking him longer to do it.
He explained the commitment after graduation, saying it will be five years of active duty and three years in the reserves if a person doesn’t re-enlist. It is the same for all the academies and ROTC programs.
Hare told the students that he does feel fortunate to attend West Point because of all the opportunities it has afforded him. He has studied in Spain and traveled through Europe, met President George W. Bush and other dignitaries, and his summer internship will take him to Washington, D.C. this year.
“I’m just a regular kid from Downers Grove,” he said. “How do I deserve all these cool opportunities?”