I know reddit apparently stole the badge feature from Hubski way back. I say we steal reddit's feature for the badge feature, and allow/ask/mandate people to donate $[however much you wanna make the badge cost] for this great content you're about to badge!
When a new user earns their badge, they can gift it as they do and also "give back" to Hubski for the badge they earned. It's a vicious cycle of fat stacks powered by love.
My goals at the moment including maximizing work efficiency, which I'll judge by how much sleep I can get per week after finishing all tasks. Apart from 18 credit-hours in my 1st semester and an average of 20 in the future, there are a ridiculous amount of random annoying tasks, especially as plebes, including taking out trash, sweeping halls, and delivering laundry to all cadets in your company. These duties also include maintaining a room standard, which is stupidly detailed and fairly difficult to maintain while you're living in the room. Inspection can occur during weekday business hours at the risk of punishment-- the punishment here is called Hours.
On that topic, hours means taking your parade rifle (an old wooden m14 we all keep in our room and use for drill/parades) and walking back and forth central area for x Hours. It blows. Also, you get your rank stripped away if the violation is bad enough, which adds a layer of ridicule when you're not actively completing your hours. As people get lazy and especially cynical, the risk of getting hours aggregates and the shit you eat is likely due to you by the time you receive it.
I haven't answered your question yet, I'm just ranting. But to try to answer your question, we learn everything any other college does, along with a hefty emphasis on maintaining a physical standard and a standard of discipline, aka "military bearing." It's a lot better than it sounds, because everyone going through it with a mind-blowing sense of humor makes playing the game not only tolerable, but a lot of fun.
I'd say the one thing I've learned so far is how far teamwork can go. Every second me or my buddies is out of the room or at a desk working, everyone else is behind them making sure they're covered and accounted for. I've been back on campus a few days and I've already had my ass saved by my roommates, and vice versa for sure.
My short-term goals include deciding between Persian and Arabic and getting squared away to take on the semester on Monday. My long-term goals include reaching the standard maximum on the APFT (Army physical fitness test) which consists of 71 push-ups and 78 sit-ups in 2 minutes each, followed by a 2-mile run under 13 minutes, and getting my GPA high enough to finagle my way into Princeton by the end of my sophomore year, just in case I decide not to commit to the Army.
The GPA is not just academic, it consists of 3 pillars: Athletic, Academic, and Military/Leadership. The 3rd is usually graded over the summer during military training and leadership details, the other 2 are accounted for during the school year. Your GPA dictates your class rank, which is critical at West Point. A high class rank means more opportunities, including travel and exchange programs (all-paid), but more importantly, being assigned the army branch of your choice, followed by the post of your choice.
So, let's say I'm 300th in my class. I'll most likely be assigned Infantry if I choose that branch because they always need more infantry officers. However, I may not be assigned a post with the 25th infantry div in Hawaii, even though it was my 1st choice, cause that clearly awesome gig is already taken up by the top 50 infantry branching cadets before me.
Otherwise, it's just college!
edit: also especially as a plebe my day could start anywhere from 0500 like it was during basic training, to 0600. Classes don't start till 0730 the earliest though, to give you a scope of how much shit goes on that isn't directly a class here.
edit2: Also it's like by far the most beautiful campus I've seen except for Amherst college but that's only because they have a cliff overlooking a crazy cool mountain. I'm right on the Hudson river in the Hudson river valley though so it's a close call. This place looks like fucking Hogwarts, straight-up. On morning runs, I'm usually greeted by a sunrise, a bright pink sky, and literal castle walls on my right with the Hudson river on my left.