Ben White is currently attending the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. It is an honor to have him as our Sunny Star this week and I personally thank him for his dedication to our country. While life at the Academy may be challenging, Ben has tried to find a way to be happy in his daily life. I appreciate Ben for sharing his experience and I hope you enjoy reading about what a typical day at the base is like- makes you appreciate a homemade dinner!
1. What is your role in the Merchant Marine Academy and what does the future look like for you?
BW: Well as of now I am simply “Midshipman White 3rd class.” I go to school and study to be a Marine Engineer as well as being involved in small unit leadership. I don’t even have a first name here. The future is all I look to here. Once I graduate is when life gets better and easier. I will eventually be going out to sea and earning a good sum of money. As the years go on, school gets better and more bearable but not easier. Bottom line: “The Merchant Marine Academy is a great place to be from, not a place to be.”
2. Describe a typical day at the Merchant Marine Academy and how happy you typically feel.
BW: Well I have to get up at 0600 everyday and get into uniform and clean my room. Then I go to the dining hall to eat breakfast (worst college food in the nation). After I eat I go back and make sure my room is squared away and then I inspect the Plebes (4th classmen) to make sure they are in correct uniform and ready for the day. Then we have morning colors where we raise the flag and march in formation. After this routine ceremony, I go to classes to morning classes till 1200. Lunch time follows and we have to march again to the dining hall and eat at our assigned tables. Then more classes. When I get out of all my classes at around 1600 I get to work out or go to football practice, shower, eat, then homework till I pass out and do it all again!
So I would say it’s very difficult and tiring but I do have pride in it. I am generally more upbeat then most but I wouldn’t say I am happy here. The best part of my day is going to sleep and working out. But its all for the final result, in the end it will be worth it.
3. What has been the happiest part of your experience?
BW: Probably gaining the friends that I have, getting to play college football, and probably most of all getting to wear my Navy uniform around New York City.
4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your experience and how has this affected your level of happiness?
BW: Grades; hands down. The teachers here are tough and the classes even tougher. So if you fall behind you are screwed. I take on average 7 classes every 14 weeks so it is pretty difficult.
5. What does happiness mean to you? Do you consider yourself to be a happy person?
BW: A tranquil state of mind where I don’t have to worry about school or sports, I can just be me. And overall I would say that I am a happy person, I always try and look for the up side in every scenario.