Life at MMA was structured. The cadets lived by a rigid schedule. From reveille in the morning until taps at day's end, the cadets' day was planned with limited free time. Just like adults in society, if cadets followed rules and adhered to schedules, their days were quite enjoyable. Cadets that bucked the system and broke the rules had a much different experience. Cadets slept on bunk beds in a dorm setting. Together they shared responsibilities for taking care of the dorm room. The boys of each dorm would line up for meals and eat together. Daily morning inspections were shared as a group as well. Each cadet's cleanliness, uniform and personal space was inspected daily along with the entire dorm room. Weekends would entail a much more detailed inspection.
Social conformity and rule compliance was maintained in two basic ways. Cadets were rewarded for good behavior with advancement in rank and extra privileges or Cadets were punished by loss of privileges and free time. More severe infractions were treated with corporal punishment that consisted of a swat from a paddle. Peer pressure was also used as a method to shape unruly cadets into conformity. Demerits were given to cadets for infraction of the rules or orders. When a cadet accumulated demerits, he would be required to do extra chores or march, in order to work off the demerits. Marching was done during free time or on weekends, which could affect the cadets' ability to go home on leave.
The cumulative count of each dorm’s members demerits determined what order a dorm would enter the cafeteria for meals. This is one area that peer pressure could come into play. If a cadet received many demerits or if a cadet’s behavior caused each dorm member to get a demerit, the entire dorm would suffer the consequences. In theory, this peer pressure worked as a positive force to get cadets to conform to the group mentality and acceptance, hence discouraging detrimental behavior. According to Maslow's theory of hierarchy of needs, we all have a need to feel wanted and a desire to be liked and respected by our peers.