Am I making a mistake?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by sjbd94, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. sjbd94

    sjbd94 Member

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    So im sure some of you have seen my post before I didn't get into the Air Force Academy or my first or really second choice school nor did i get an AFROTC or NROTC scholarship. But with the bad news aside I did get a 3-year AROTC scholarship. So right now I am deciding between going to a school that I originally considered a "back-up" or staying home at the college thats about 20 minutes from my house. Academically the college near my house is better only problem is it doesn't have ROTC. If I go to the college near my house I would probably try to transfer after a year or 2 to a college that would offer ROTC, but i wouldn't be on scholarship and it might not be possible for me to even get into ROTC. Then of course there are OCS and OTS options out there. But being honest i am not 100% sure military is the path i want to take and I would hate to end up at a school i didn't want to be at, paying more and not being their for the reason i originally went there which was ROTC. Also, my main goal at the beginning of this process was to become an Air Force officer, but i just feel awful passing up the opportunity to be an officer in the worlds greatest army. So do you guys think I would be right in my decision to not follow through with the ROTC scholarship stay home for a year or two, keep my options open, and then potential try to join ROTC, or do OCS/OTS? Thanks for reading all this, i really appreciate all the help and support I have gotten on this forum.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Totally up to you. Follow your heart. There's nothing wrong with turning down a scholarship if you have the financial wherewithal to take another path. However, if you want to serve your country, the Army is a fine place to do so. But if its not something you feel called to there is no point in doing it. You might ask yourself a couple questions as you ponder this. Why did you apply for the scholarships? If the school was fine as a backup, why is it now inadequate? If you ultimately plan on taking a path to commission, why not take this one? If and when you leave the service, your experience leading troops will carry far more weight in a job search than where you went to school (unless you happen to live 20 minutes from a Harvard).

    Hope this is helpful.
     
  3. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Looking at some of your posts over the last year, it is evident that you have experienced some disappointments in the college application process. You weren't accepted into the SA you desired or given NROTC or AFROTC scholarships. On the other hand, the AROTC scholarship board evidently saw potential in you, and you can choose among college alternatives. You aimed high, didn't quite hit the target, and you are anguished over having to choose among the options afforded to you. Although I don't recall you saying so, I'm guessing that in preserving those options, one was to accept the offer of the three year AROTC scholarship.

    There are a number of people who contribute advice and information on this board. Many of them have themselves experienced military careers and in some cases, military commitment has involved successive generations. Some posters have found themselves or family members in situations similar to yours, or with even fewer options, for example not being offered the 3 year AROTC scholarship. I've read inspiring stories here about young people who overcame obstacles through their determination and perseverance. The problem is that even though you've presented verbal snapshots of yourself, nobody here knows you well enough to give you advice based on your personality or your true motivations. Remember that this is essentially an anonymous board (even though it's one of the best forums I've encountered on the internet). People here are eager to help, but the choices for you are highly personal.

    You've mentioned that you come from a military family and that you saw yourself having a military career. You apparently also want to do that from the vantage point of an officer, that is, as a leader. Clearly you're bright and ambitious enough to achieve that, if that is what you really want to do.

    I wonder if you've had a heart-to-heart conversation about your concerns and goals with your parents. What about someone else who knows you and your situation well? A trusted family friend, a relative, a guidance counselor, a pastor? It may well be that you don't really feel comfortable about attending college. There is no shame in that, and certainly many young people have learned after the fact that they weren't ready for college.

    A good start might be to reserve some time to sit by yourself for an hour or two with a pad and pen. Write down your various options, their pluses and minuses, your own likes and dislikes, your fears and your strengths. Since it's only for your personal use, you can let loose and see where it takes you.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree follow your heart.

    I don't think that doors will close for you and will never happen if you don't do it now. This past weekend our DS's det had their dining out, and I attended it,, along with other parents of C400's. At our DS's table there was a cadet (C200), but would be graduating (fall), he will be in AFROTC and after graduation will stick around going for his Masters and commission in 2014.

    Obviously this cadet entered in his jr yr of college, and they took him. He took that time to make sure this life was a life for him. I am sure people thought he was nuts, but he really wasn't IMPO. He was smart because college is the fun, easy times, AD life is a whole different ball game. If you are unsure that the military life is for you, be it AF or Army, and after your soph. yr., you sign the contract you are in it for 4 yrs AD..for a penny or for a pound.

    I would take this time and really investigate ALL of the types of careers in each branch, because there is absolutely no guarantee that you will get your 1st choice, or even your 2nd choice. The only guarantee is you will serve in some type of military career field.

    Many times people create illusions of these careers. I.E. I am going AF and will fly fighters. The reality is from an AF perspective only 10% of those that graduate UPT will get a fighter. There has never been a 100% graduation class out of IFS and UPT. Bigger reality is not every cadet in AFROTC will be offered a UPT slot. If you do the math, for every 100 cadets, maybe on a good day it is 2 or 3 that actually get fighters. The rest if lucky enough to stay will fly a desk.

    You need to place that into your equation if joining is largely in part of doing one type of job in the branch.

    Good Luck.
     
  5. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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    If in your gut you know that your heart is not in it, decline the scholarship.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    ED,

    As I mentioned I attended our DS's graduation dining out this weekend. LG Fadok (Commander and President, Air University, Maxwell AFB --- he is also in charge of AFROTC) was the keynote speaker.

    He delivered a great speech to these kids because he was brutally honest about the AF and their future. One thing he said which I hope every cadet took to heart was this:

    THERE WILL BE FAILURES IN YOUR FUTURE I PROMISE YOU! He told them he had failed along the way, but it is what you do after that will be more important than if you had succeeded in the 1st place.

    He is a living example you can still pin on 3 stars even if you stumble along the way.

    Not everyone has a golden brick road to follow, some have to take their own path, but if they are determined to succeed they will make it.

    I think the idea of writing down things is a great idea. I would add it might be best to write down things you don't want to think about. For example:

    I go AROTC, hate the college love the unit, will I be able to maintain a high enough cgpa for my OML to get my 1st choice?
    ~~~ Every kid believes they can, but reality is college life is a factor, and those who hate the school typically do worse academically just because of the motivation factor.

    I go AROTC, want anything in the Army, but Public Affairs or Finance. What if you get PA/Fin and S Korea right out the gate?
    ~~~ It can happen. As a military dependent ask your folks how many times they got their "dream" assignment, and how many times they were told where they would go? That is reality in the military

    I don't go ROTC, but to the other college and regret it, what is your Plan B, C, D?

    There is one option the OP did not think about, transferring colleges after a yr. It is not as if they are being given a prison sentence and must stay there for 4 yrs.

    The OP can take their freshman yr and really decide. Entering ROTC as a soph will have very little impact when it comes to commissioning. If they maintain their grades, most colleges will accept him as a transfer. On top of that traditionally most colleges will accept almost all, if not all of the credits if you are staying in the same major. They usually start nit picking at the 45-60 credit level regarding this issue. 30 credits shouldn't be an issue, and even if they only take 24 credits, they would only need to take 2 more classes over the next 3 yrs to be on target.

    The downfall for this is most kids bond as freshman, and it is hard to leave the college because of those bonds/friendships. The OP needs to ask, what if I fall in love, will I be able to cut the cord and transfer, or will I stay?
    ~~~ Life is funny, it gets in the way more often than you can imagine. People plan, God Laughs!

    Be your own devil, ask the hardest questions you can think of, and be honest with your answers. After you do, and depending on your relationship with the folks, maybe you should share what you wrote down. Your parents know you, and if they think you are having 2nd thoughts, they will be honest with you regarding your answers if you are sugar coating your answers. They will throw up the BS flag. This is great because you will talk it out. It is amazing when you say it out loud defending yourself, because 9 times out of 10, the person you are saying it to will have the same response: "You have your answer, you just said it"!

    Good luck.
     
  7. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    FYSA, Public Affairs is not a branch and Finance is one of the most competitive in the Army.
     
  8. riroka

    riroka Member

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    My opinion would be to seek the advice or wisdom of the students who went the plan B or C route. I could tell you what I think my son would say, but he is the one who dealt with not getting his first choice or second choice then picked himself up and moved forward with plan C which was AROTC. It has been good at times and not so good at times. During the not so good times he relied on the wisdom of the older cadets who had "been there, done that".

    I would gladly give you my sons contact info if you would like to contact him.
     
  9. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    welcome to the club. Not very many people are 100% sure of anything -- the school they choose, the job they choose, even the spouse they choose. All you can do in life is to do your homework, and take the best option available to you at that moment, even though nothing is 100% or guaranteed.
    True, but how do you even know what it's like to be at a school you haven't been at? What you're really saying is that you have imperfect, partial information, from the outside looking in, and you THINK you won't like it as well as another college.

    Bottom line, make the most of those opportunities that ARE presented to you, and don't look back or waste time or emotional energy thinking about what things might have been like behind doors that have closed. I don't know if you are a person of Faith, or even Fate, or Karma, but do you think there is a reason behind the opportunities that are in front of you vs. those that are no longer?

    Right now you think you want to serve your country as a military officer, with first choice being Air Force, second being Navy, and third Army. Is there a better option for you to achieve that than to accept the AROTC 3 Yr. AD scholarship? There is VERY little likelihood you can commission as an Officer at this point by any other path... OCS, OTC, joining ROTC as a Junior transfer, enlisting, etc. Because nobody is ever 100% about anything, you have 12 months from entering ROTC to decide it is not what you want. Then, assuming you decide you DO want to serve as an Officer in the Army but are not 100% sure about Active Duty vs. Reserves or Guard, you have until mid Sr. year to decide between those three options.

    Best of luck to you:thumb:
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  10. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Good post dunninla. I might add that IMPO the things that make a college experience great are what you make of it and the good times you have with the friends you make. At least its the friends and landmarks I remember, not so much the school itself.
     
  11. Aglahad

    Aglahad Member

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    With only 40 something slots a year finance is an extremely coveted slot. Funny thing is many of the nerdy accounting guys I know who wanted finance and nothing else got it, albeit a branch detail in a combat arms branch
     
  12. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yeah, I hate when facts get in the way of a good story :wink:
     

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