"Make no mistake about it: this journey you have embarked upon will be challenging. It will test you. You will have doubts and at times you will be tempted to quit," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens. "It is OK to have those thoughts, but it's what you do with those thoughts that will guide you toward your goal of becoming a naval officer."
Stevens, the first MCPON to speak at the Academy, delivered his speech to more than 1,100 plebes of the United States Naval Academy's Class of 2019, marking the beginning of their four-year academic tour.
MCPON shared a personal story about a time when he faced adversity in his career, and encouraged the future naval officers to dig deep inside themselves when they face adversity.
"I made the decision that failure was not an option. I applied the level of effort that was necessary, and ultimately passed the course with flying colors," said Stevens. "It was what I learned from that experience, and others just like it, that has helped me throughout my career."
Stevens shared his perspective on how to be an overall healthy, well-rounded Sailor.
"Something that I share with all my Sailors, is to be fit. Not just fit in the sense of physical exercise, but that you must be spiritually, physically, morally, and mentally fit," he said. "What these things mean to each of you will vary, but I encourage you to be as fit as possible every day."
He continued, "I also ask that you remember to control those things which you own. There will be many things you do not have control over like reveille, academic standards, and injuries. You can't control these things because, simply put, they are out of your hands," Stevens said. "What you must focus on, is controlling those things that only you own. This includes your integrity, honesty, accountability, and treating one another with dignity and respect."
"Finally, remember to make every day your masterpiece," said MCPON. "Attitude is everything. Each morning when you wake up it is a new day, so have a positive attitude, and when you step out - step boldly. Embrace the challenges you will face.
Class of 2019 is one of the most diverse in all of the Academy's history, boasting 27% women, 36% minorities, 12 international students, 61 former enlisted, and candidates from all fifty states, including the Virgin Islands, Northern Marianas Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.