Although many kids never went to formal schools in the early 19th century, the Ulysses was lucky to go to school more than most of his peers. Ulysses's father believed in education, and he knew a U.S. Military Academy degree would give his son some advantages in life. As for Ulysses, he wanted to travel, and a military career would offer plenty of opportunities to see the world. But he was terrified he might fail his classes. After an exciting trip through the Midwest, Philadelphia and New York City, a nervous Ulysses arrived at West Point in May 1839.