2 for 7 Signing

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Torch, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. Torch

    Torch New Member

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    Hello, I am currently a Third Class Midshipman at the Naval Academy and I am contemplating whether or not to sign my 2 for 7. I thought it over a lot so far this year and I want to be able to make the best informed decision when the times comes in August. Right now I am leaning towards not signing because I don't believe the Naval Academy is a good fit for my personality and academic ambitions. I actually asked about leaving at the end of plebe year, but my company officer urged me to stick it out through youngster year. Honestly, not a whole lot changed for me and I have applied to another college and have been accepted for next fall. This is a really painful decision for me to make as I have a lot of great friends here and a there are a lot of great opportunities. On the other hand, I really dread going to most of my classes and I know I would enjoy my academic program at the other college much better. I can't say I've been at all looking forward to living the cloistered academy lifestyle for another two years and doing another five after that in the Fleet. There are certain communities which i find rather appealing but others make me cringe at the idea could be stuck there for five years. I am especially looking for advice from people who were very skeptical of signing the 2 for 7 and what decisions they made. Did you sign it and end up being very glad you did? Did you sign and realize it wasn't the right call? Did you leave instead of signing and regret it? Did you leave and feel better once you did? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I'm not sure this forum is the best place to get advice on your particular situation. If you've not done so, I suggest you speak with your parents, a chaplain/priest, your company officer and/or other officers at USNA whose opinion you respect, and other adults (not your college friends) whom you respect. They know you and are thus better situated to advise you.

    That said, the overwhelming majority of new 2/C sign their 2 for 7. In the days of us "older" grads, there was no signing -- we simply showed up for our first 2/C academic class and that was it.

    I doubt there are many who stayed the four years who now wish they'd quit after 2 yrs. Some, maybe, but probably not many.

    I don't personally know anyone who quit after two years whom I could ask, "Did you make the right decision?" I know some who quit earlier for whom it was the right decision -- or so we think.

    It's a VERY hard question to answer b/c you only know how the decision you made turned out. IOW, I don't know whether my life would have been "better" had I left USNA after two years b/c I didn't. It would only be conjecture. Likewise, those who did get out only know how their lives turned out as civilians; they really can't say if finishing at USNA would have been better or worse in the long run.

    Best of luck in your decision-making.
     
  3. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I'll give you the Reader's Digest version of what I usually say in situations like this where the midshipman is not convinced the academy is a good fit for them.

    There was once a time, not too long ago, when you thought the Naval Academy was a perfect fit for you. True?

    If you're right now that means you were wrong then. And that means that you do not always accurately evaluate what is best for you.

    What makes you so sure your current evaluation for you isn't wrong?
     
  4. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    As 85 noted, once you change one significant factor, you open another entirely different box of choices and opportunities, so it is very difficult to do comparables. This is what life is about once you go off autopilot of being a child/minor where someone else is making your decisions. In your situation it is good that you realize that you are in a quandry now, while you have some time to work your way through it, rather than make a rash spur of the moment decision. Go back over why you selected USNA in the first place, then look for any signal events that caused you to become less than enchanted by your course of action. Most importantly, be honest with yourself in this analysis, as you very well look back on this time as the time that you left something on the table. Certainly talk with others who went ahead as well as those who did the mid-course correction. Memphis also provided a major consideration re your decision-making. Don't sell yourself a bill of goods that is flawed - it is your life, and do-overs are very rare.
     
  5. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Wise question...

    I think this forum is apparently a great place to ask for advice on your situation. You've already had three great replies from USNA grads.

    You know what they say, "USNA is a great place to be...from." Not the exact quote, but an applicable one.

    I have three sons, two of which graduated from the academy. If they ever contemplated leaving, they never told me. Lots of trials and tribulations. It wasn't easy for either of them.

    Now twelve years removed from that first I-Day, both are still serving. One Marine pilot, one Navy SWO. Both happy, both employed, both feeling that USNA is a GREAT place to be from.

    You may feel that if you don't quit, that eventually you may be separated. That happened to my oldest son's roommate. He enrolled after sophomore year at another college, went ROTC, and is now an officer and serving his country. Perhaps you fear the danger after graduation. Facing danger in our armed forces is a real possibility. It takes a special person to lay his life on the line for his country. Military service is not for everyone.

    The hardest part is over for you. The classes might get harder, but you're smarter. You're older. Probably wiser.

    I never served and I regret that. Do you think you might carry that regret if you opt out? In any event I respect your decision to attend USNA and your decision if you decide it's not for you. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    I'm not going to try and convince you to stay or go. I, personally, don't buy the "stick it out because USNA is great to be FROM!" argument, but that's me.

    You should ask yourself what you don't like about USNA and consider your decision through a couple of these metrics:

    Peers? As you know, they're probably the best and worst part about USNA...and remember that (depending on service) a significant chunk of people you meet out in the fleet will be from USNA. You will be working with these people (or similar people) for a long time...something to consider if you don't like or get along with your peers.

    Things? Hate practice parades, marching tours, or other meaningless BS? It doesn't end, the shape just changes. Actually, it kind of gets worse. I have countless examples from TBS. My Navy friends have fewer, but it's there. If the bennies from doing whatever service selection you want don't outweigh that, it's something to think about.

    Future? If none of the service selections appeal to you, that should be obvious. It's one thing to grit your teeth and deal for two more years at USNA if you really want to fly/be a SWO/whatever, but it's harder to fake it for five years as a DivO. If you think you'll be twiddling your thumbs going "eff this" for five years, do yourself (and more importantly) your future Sailors the favor of not signing.

    Leadership? There are good leaders out there and bad leaders. Unfortunately a lot of the latter end up in leadership positions at USNA. If your company officer doesn't do it for you, track down someone you respect from one of the communities you don't hate and pick their brain. If what they're saying about the best parts of their community and leading Sailors/Marines isn't doing it for you, maybe it's not for you.

    Also, keep in mind that while you're only a 3/C now, having had terrible leaders when you were a mid never gives you the excuse to be terrible yourself. Don't get cynical because (if you decide to stay) and you try and change things in your company starting 2/C year. You'd be surprised how much influence you can have over the younger classes as a 2/C, 1/C, and particularly as a detailer. There was literally a 180 degree turnaround in my company from 2/C year to 1/C year--completely MIDN driven--thanks to my class (not so much me personally).

    Academics? You didn't say your major, but there's a lot of awesome opportunites out there if you look for them. I was a humanities major who would have been cut out from UK Scholars by, like, plebe year six weeks if I had known it existed. I got my stuff together and graduated with honors, which included a partially-USNA-funded trip to Stanford to do research.
    If you can't get into or don't know about special programs in your major, frankly, make them. Make connections with the profs and get one of them to back you doing independent research. At least for the history department, if the profs know you're a good dude and have a legitimate interest in the subject, they will bend over backwards to help you out and get a positive learning experience.
    If you don't think that'll work out, then maybe USNA isn't for you.


    In general: while a lot of the candidates or whoever on here may secretly be trashing on you, I personally, and this goes for most of my friends as well, have never held anything against anyone who has voluntarily left USNA (unless they were a dick anyway). There is nothing wrong, and actually a whole lot right, with thinking critically about your future and what the best path for you is. IMO, more people should leave USNA before 2/7. I seriously wish you the best of luck with your decision.

    At the end of the day, it's going to be your *** taking the commission and standing the watch. If the idea of getting out there and leading Sailors and Marines doesn't get you fired up, you're probably in the wrong place. There's nothing wrong with that. USNA and the military isn't for everyone. Don't use it as a means to an end or any of that BS. If you don't see yourself happy, fulfilled, or doing good things as an Ensign or 2ndLt, don't pursue the commission.

    But if you decide to stay do everyone a favor and don't be a cynical a-hole.
     
  7. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    I wish I had Hurricane's wisdom at her age but males are always slower. You were unhappy with Plebe Year (who isn't?) and wanted to quit. You took some good advice and experienced Youngster year and all its academics. You gave it a good shot and you still are unhappy. You have no goal to head for on commissioning, and leading sailors or marines is not on even on your radar. I am surprised you are questioning leaving as it seems like a no-brainer. Kiss USNA goodbye, and start being happy in a civilian school.

    True story here. My brother went to USAFA and in the middle of his Doolie year called and said "I hate this place, I'm going to quit". I urged him to stay for the Doolie year as then nobody could ever accuse him of quitting because it was too rough. He did and, in spite of my further urgings to stay for the next year, he quit. After lots of years in civilian colleges, he graduated with 2 degrees after which he called me and said "I'm sick of school. How was the Navy?" He subsequently went through AOCS in Pensacola and became an electronic warfare officer aboard EA-6Bs. After a fabulous career flying combat in the Gulf War, NATO staffs, Bosnia, instructing, and raising his kids in Europe, he retired as a Commander with adventures to remember for years. I one time asked him "Are you sorry you left the AF Academy?" His answer? "I wish I would have stayed".
     
  8. navy83

    navy83 Member

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    Great story! Sounds like your brother had a great career, but just took a little more time finding his direction.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    And who knows? He may not have had such a great career had it not been for the path he took.
     
  10. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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  11. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Some really good, informative, insightful responses for you here. I've nothing much to add beyond a few thoughts ...

    1. While there is undoubtedly more to your circumstance and your consideration of going elsewhere, the essence of your message seems to be "push", i.e. your communication shouts "I wanna go." Beyond some cursory information, very little expression of "pull." Were I you, I'd pay close attention to that issue. Why?

    For several reasons.

    2. From what you've shared, there is no magic magnet drawing you toward something that you simply cannot live without absent introducing much about you cannot live with. Yea, you've got a place to go, but from what you've shared, seems that's what it is. Simply a place to run to.

    3. Consequently, were I you, I'd be very careful and cautious to guard against simply surrendering to succumbing to, avoiding, and or quitting something that is far less than "perfect", all in the absence of running to something that is simply a viable option, not a burning passionate desire or "more perfect" fit.

    I get none of that from you, and you may well say, "Yes, but I didn't really think that was necessary" ... or ... "Yes, but I thought it would be better to focus on the USNA 'stuff' on a USNA site." ... or ... some other "Yes, but ..." explanation. But you did not.

    Remember, wherever your option might be ... it too will be sorely less than "perfect" and if you don't know that now, you surely will upon arriving at that place.

    Guard very carefully against the possibility that this could become a major step toward developing an "addiction" of sorts of running from or avoiding that which is less than perfect. Work equally as carefully to develop the habit of working at making good decisions (see Memphis' response. It merits your serious consideration, imo.)

    My fear for you is that this could be a step that has lasting consequences on the "push" side that might outweigh the lasting consequences on your "pull" side.

    I know you're not, but let me reinforce that which you already know ... don't depart easily. There would be consequences you cannot even imagine right now.

    And that's what some of the younger responders on here cannot much appreciate ... yet.

    Long journeys always begin with one step. Whatever you decide will carry risk of regret. Which might weigh more on you?

    P.S. I'm with '85. This is not an appropriate forum, in light of its purpose and its readers, imo. Simply because one can and apparently does receive some worthwhile feedback doesn't make it so. This is about taking the steps that the OP now questions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    To WP's point, my dad once gave me some great advice:

    Wherever are is "the worst." Wherever you're going is "the best." Wherever you came from isn't a bad as you thought it was when you were there.

    Words to live by.:wink:
     
  13. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    "And the grass is always greener"
     
  14. sandnnw

    sandnnw Member

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    Strong advice, but what/where may I ask, are you contemplating giving up for the equivalent of an Ivy education?
     
  15. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I sat across from many midshipmen during the obligatory counseling-up-the-chain process for those seeking to voluntarily resign, during my 3 years as a BattO. It was our job to help the midshipmen assess whether they had thought through all the pros and cons before taking a big step.

    The mids who could clearly lay out their reasons for leaving, who had already taken steps to explore other educational opportunities, jobs, scholarships, and had a PLAN, while expressing appreciation for lessons learned, friends made, challenges met -- well, I knew they were ready to go. They were relaxed and confident the decision had been made, and they had a concrete direction.

    At one end of the spectrum was the youngster mid who decided to leave right after youngster year, whose parents were in the restaurant business, along with other family members. Back in HS, this mid was sure he didn't want to do that, but found himself cooking meals for others at his sponsor's house at USNA. Start of youngster year, he realized he wanted to leave USNA. He worked hard to ensure he had courses and grades to transfer, researched opportunities and had a scholarship all lined up to Cornell for the hospitality services curriculum. He had done all the work himself, came up with a plan, and presented his family with clearly-stated reasons for leaving, as well as his plan to further his education. While he had enjoyed his time at USNA, he realized he wanted to work in the hotel/restaurant business, and that he did not want to serve in the Navy as an officer.

    At the other end of the spectrum was the youngster mid whose girlfriend attended UVA, who had stated she would break up with him if he didn't leave USNA. 'Nuff said about that one. He had no plan except to leave, go home, and ask his parents to pay out-of-state tuition at UVA if he could get in. We encouraged him to do the research, give summer training a shot, and see how he felt. He had a great summer, made the leap to seeing himself in a warfare career, ended up staying and was happy he did. He dumped the GF.

    It was always difficult with mids who weren't really clear about their source of discontent, who were down the middle with their thinking. I encouraged them to build a balance sheet of pros and cons, with both tangible and intangible items, about what their life might look like a few years after graduation.

    Everyone's journey is different. Good advice and food for thought from other posters. Think about whether this is a function of cold, dark days and the knowledge of 7 years hanging over your head, and transitory, or whether you really can't see yourself enjoying some form of employment as a Navy or Marine Corps Officer. If you can't, and find yourself actually researching alternatives and taking action to pursue them, not just talking about taking action, then you are on the road to a decision.

    Best of luck to you!
     

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