Advice: Importance of Pride yet humility

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Christcorp, May 27, 2009.

  1. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Before anyone says something negative; please don't. I am NOT commenting on the actual article or the individual. I'm simply pointing out the importance of remaining humble when you attend the academy. A normal college will usually have a small percentage of individuals who were standouts; "Big Fish in a small Pond" in high school, with the rest of the college being the "Average or Normal" student. In the academies, the vast majority of cadets were all "Big Fish" in high school. So being proud of your accomplishments and having dreams are important, but be careful how you come across.

    For what it's worth, this article has already circulated throughout the academy. If you read the 6 pages of comments and responses at the end of the article, you will see quite a few different opinions. Of course, you have the parents and similar speaking of how it's admirable that this young man has dreams. Yet, you'll have many comments from cadets and similar who find it funny, yet a bit arrogant. Hence, the reason for trying to keep a low profile. This person is not going to be able to keep a low profile. Everyone will know who he is. Remember, there isn't one thing that you've done in high school that probably many at the academy hasn't done also. You are now going to be a small fish in a big pond. Definitely be proud of your past accomplishments; but let your actions speak for you. Stay humble. I suggest starting at the OLDEST COMMENT first to get a feeling of the responses PRIOR to the debating and arguing. Good luck to you. Mike...

    http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/academy-98120-air-riojas.html
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2009
  2. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Well said Christcorps - thanks for posting this.

    This seems to happen every year. Last year it was a kid going to USMA. He mentioned that he would like to be POTUS some day and was crucified in his hometown paper - much like this.
    I totally agree with you that all appointees need to remain humble and keep their eye on the task of getting through the summer, academics and onward.
    I also think these kids in hometown papers are sort of set up. They and their parents don't know any better. These press releases are very common and many times they are the first from their school to attend a service academy. The cub reporter comes to their home, snaps a photo, engages them in conversation - what is your long term goal? and Presto! it's all over the academy. IMO - it's poor leadership for cadets or mids to carry on like this in the hometown paper for the youngster and his family and community to see. It doesn't reflect well on their Academy.
    What begins as a press release with good intentions, can go awry.

    Appointees may want to think carefully before they agree to an interview - in this electronic age it doesn't take long to get around.

    Most likely the kid will recover - the guy last year did, he got some (a lot)ribbing from the Corps and just finished plebe year! :wink:
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Interesting read, and excellent points by above posters.

    The press is looking for interesting "bites" they can patch together into a story that makes for interesting reading. The biases and unintentional misunderstanding of the reporter will affect the context. Advice to appointees would be what they told me in "PAO 101 for incoming CO's" -- be boring and general, resist the urge to be graphic or colorful in descriptions, answer the question succintly and stop talking. When asked about future goals, say something like, "I'm excited to explore everything .... Academy offers, and there are many exciting opportunities available. I'm honored to be chosen. At this time, aviation interests me." There is nothing wrong with being proud of past achievements and looking forward to a SA, but some awareness of how the internet/press can deliver a reputation in advance of reporting is a good thing. Ditto for Facebook and MySpace pages. A bit of tidying might be in order. The detailers will look them up as soon as they get class lists in hand. Nothing like having a little ammo for a verbal blast right upfront.

    I learned this lesson the hard way early in my career, before taking the PAO 101 course prior to reporting to command. During the first Gulf War, I was the Casualty Assistance Coordinator for the LA basin. The LA Times interviewed me about how the Navy casualty system worked, what my role was, etc. Let's just say the headline over my photo "Navy's Angel of Death" made me the butt of a few jokes from staff shipmates. The comments patched together out of context made me furious. My boss even had a nametag made up with Angel of Death on it. The reporter had also asked me an odd question -- were the buttons on my service dress blue uniform shiny? Yes, I said. Well, that got turned into, "She carefully shines the buttons on her uniform, ready at any time to deliver tragic news to Navy families." Ack.

    Above sea story just to illustrate some unseen pitfalls.:rolleyes:
     
  4. Luigi59

    Luigi59 Banned

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    "So I should take that picture of me in the TOPGUN cap and the T-shirt that says HARDCORE off my Facebook Page and change my nickname from NextFighterAce to something else?"

    :cool:
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Luigi, :shake::yllol::shake:... you're probably safe from detailers/cadre at this point in your life, so you're g2g. It's all true anyway, right?
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Suggestion for those this year or in the future who may be interviewed. 1st; remember, your home town is very proud of you. They aren't trying to sensationalize you or make you look arrogant. They simply want to brag about your. Just like some parents want to do. Here are my suggestions that will GUARANTEE that you don't run into the same problems this young man probably will and have run into.

    1. When speaking of the academy, think in your mind the academy as being your family. Consider the other cadets your brothers and sisters. Then, remember how to speak without making your brothers and sisters look bad or as to appear to be conceited or better.

    2. Reference your new brothers and sisters. I.e. "What do you think about attending the academy". ANSWER: "The academy is made up of some of the best students and individuals in the entire country. I feel honored to be a part of them.

    3. When being complimented on your achievements, again mention your future brothers and sisters. When you reference boy scouts, CAP, football team, band, or whatever else you are being complimented on; mention the fact that there are a LOT OF CURRENT CADETS who ALSO achieved these same accolades. And that's ANOTHER reason you are so excited to go to the academy. To be around others who have a similar background to you. Those that you have a lot in common with; with similar goals and dreams.

    If you stick with this basic "ATTITUDE"; when answering questions: "Including the next 20+ years in the military or at any civilian company"; then you will be "THE ONE" that people look up to as a leader and strive to be like. They will recognize that you RESPECT them and your peer, leaders, and subordinates. Best of luck to all. later... mike....
     
  7. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    oh boy does the whole wing know about him. haha
     
  8. Bombtrack

    Bombtrack Member

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    HAHAHAHAHAHA
    "Anonymity...my anti cadre-hate-bashes.":cool:
     
  9. flyersboy114

    flyersboy114 USAFA Cadet

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    I turned down an interview, my family was mad, but I was taking advice from a parent of a current cadet.

    Im just playing it safe
     
  10. btown13

    btown13 Member

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    haven't been interviewed yet and really hope i won't...
     
  11. starvinmarvin_09

    starvinmarvin_09 USAFA Cadet

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    I took an interview and the article was quite nice. The article really didn't even focus much on me heading to the academy or my other accomplishments. Really humbling though to have people just recognize you from the paper and give a congratulations. I'm not sure if I really liked it though because i'm a fairly low key person so I didn't really like all of the extra attention.
     
  12. Downfall75

    Downfall75 USAFA Cadet

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    Does anybody have the story on 'Vladimir Trovskachowsky'?
     
  13. Emsa

    Emsa Member

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    In the first place the kid didnt write the story in the second its not really that bad, so he has lofty dreams and has worked hard to give himself the oportunities to realise those dreams, hardly a capital offence.

    I think some of the comments made by people claiming to be current cadets are a far greater discredit to the academy than the article is to the poor kid involved.
     
  14. MChansard

    MChansard Member

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    who knows what his attitude is, i think they have to write these stories for people who have absolutely no idea about academies at all, and then it gets a little fabricated here and there for :confused: good journalism?

    i think the only thing that's kind of ridiculous and maybe a little over-the-top is his pose in that picture...:biggrin:
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Emsa; please let me emphasize the first sentence of my original post; and what I INTENDED this thread to be for. I did NOT have a commentary on this young man. Nor do I think it is important for ANYONE in this thread to have a commentary on this young man. Either in a negative manner or trying to rationalize or justify the article. None of that is important. And it has nothing to do with this thread. That article is simply an example of how such interviews, comments, pride in oneself, etc... can be "Perceived" in a negative manner by other people. Especially when you are attending an institution where 90% of the population are generally over achievers and those who "Also" were big fish in the previous life. In other words, the purpose of the thread was to emphasize the importance of humility in talking about yourself. You may think that this individual is totally in his right to be proud of his accomplishments, and that he should pursue his lofty dreams. No one is arguing that point. But trying to tell a student body of 4000 individuals that such an attitude is acceptable is not going to fly. The #1 goal and purpose of the academy; no matter which one you attend; is to instill team work, esprit de corp, and that your individual talents are only good if used cooperatively with those of others for the success of the mission. Which is a "TEAM" mission. That is what makes our military service and their academies better and more successful than traditional universities that promote individuality. later... mike....
     
  16. Emsa

    Emsa Member

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    Never said you did say those things Christcorp, was expressing an opinion on the article and the comments attached to it.
     
  17. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Nor did I say you did say that. I am simply reiterating that this thread was NOT INTENDED to have comments or opinions made about the article. I am not saying that a person isn't entitled to have opinions. Simply that this thread is not intended to be a place where opinions of the article are made. I don't want that. I didn't intend that. But people are definitely free to start a thread that includes that. My intention; after all, I am the one who started the thread; was to have discussion, opinions, comments, etc... about how you portray yourself (An applicant/candidate/appointee/cadet) among others in that group. Now if you want to state that your opinion is that an appointee/cadet/etc... should be as enthusiastic as they like, and brag/talk about/etc... about their accomplishments and such as much as they want to; then that is fine. That's what this thread is about. My "Opinion" that a person should be more humble about themselves when applying to the academies and talking about attending the academies. I simply used the article as an example of how some perceptions can be made and possibly follow the individual around.

    I am not saying you can't have an opinion. I welcome it very much. That's what the forums are all about. I just know how these threads can get way off track. I don't care one bit about the individual in the article. I didn't start this thread to talk about the individual in the article. I only care about the young men and women on this forum who want to successfully apply to the academy; get accepted to the academy; and have a productive and rewarding experience at the academies. Sorry if it appears I am trying to say you can't have an opinion. I welcome your opinion. I would just prefer that it be about the thread I started, and NOT about an example I provided. later... mike....
     
  18. knordski

    knordski Member

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    http://news.cnet.com/2300-13576_3-10001109-4.html?tag=mncol

    here he is..."Another basic cadet also had attracted a huge amount of attention from the group. At one point, I counted at least seven cadets circled around him, screaming at him and yelling and belittling him. I asked someone why he'd been singled out, and was told that this particular basic cadet had somehow let it be known that he planned on being the first man on Mars, and that his time at the Academy was little more than a brief stepping stone on his way to glory as an astronaut."

    This was taken from a cnet article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-10273555-52.html
     
  19. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    I had an interview. They asked things like why do I want to go there and I said it was the top school for my career choice. When they asked my ultimate goal, all I gave was my branch choice at the moment.

    I didn't see much wrong with the article considering some of the perceived arrogance can be attributed to the way the press wrote the article. The dramatic pose of his picture was a little over the top though.
     
  20. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Every yr there is a cadet like this, a couple of yrs ago it was a kid with a facebook or myspace page. He made it onto the infamous youtube. He is just the latest, next yr there will be another cadet. I only hope that he learns to keep his mouth quiet and does not repeat this at UPT and FTU because he will relive it all over again. Just as you don't say that the AFA is a stepping stone, you don't walk into UPT and say you're going to get fighters so you can go to Test. Live for today and don't start counting those chickens, a lot will happen between today and 4 yrs from now.
     

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