Any regrets?

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Curyea, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. Curyea

    Curyea New Member

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    As a mom, I'm curious as to why many of you chose to go from home to such a structured and tough environment in these military colleges. Why was it the right decision for you? Do you regret not going to a state university with your friends?
     
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  2. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Trying to bump this up for you. As a mom of a 4th Class Cadet at VMI, I can ask him but as far as I know he has no regrets. He absolutely loves VMI. I believe he thrives on the structure. I wthink he would have struggled at a "regular" college. I think he would have gotten on his Xbox and wasted time, missed classes.... He isn't a partier so, that would not have worried me, but he sure likes his Xbox . At VMI, can't speak for other SMC's, there is no skipping class without repercussions. The professors know each Cadet in their class, because the classes are small, and want them to succeed.

    My DS loves the brotherhood he has with his Brother Rats. He has done SOOOOO many things since August that kids at regular college haven't done:
    - reinacted the charge at the Battle of New Market
    - cheered for the team at every home football game
    - climbed a mountain, several times.
    - rucked 20 miles
    - flown in a black hawk helicopter
    - spent 5 days on Ft Pickett learning many skills in leadership, marksmanship, survival.
    - been thrilled for the privilege of having his cell phone, a bathrobe..

    It has been an amazing experience.
     
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  3. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    I'm just a mom, and my DD does not enter college until this fall - so I cannot yet answer if she will have regrets - but I seriously doubt she will regret her choice.

    In her case, she has wanted to have a military career since she was in junior high. She's the type of kid that is very driven and focused and had been that way since she was a toddler. She's in Sea Cadets and has loved every minute of the drills and trainings she has been on. She thrives best with rules and structure, especially when she's surrounded by peers with the same drive and ambition that she has. High school has been challenging for her; she is not like a typical teenage girl. She would rather go to the shooting range, work out or earn some money at work than go to a party. Hanging out at the pool or the mall was never her cup of tea. Her eyes are always forward, always looking to improve herself. She cannot wait to get to VMI because she is very much looking forward to learning all she can so that she can be the best officer she can be.

    Not all kids are like this. My oldest is a freshman at a State U, a fine arts major. Going to a SA or military school is the last place she'd be happy with. She is where she thrives best, in an artistic environment with peers who enjoy the same types of things.

    I think that's what it boils down to, each kid choosing the path they are most comfortable with. If a military college is where your son/daughter feels at home, they will soar there!
     
  4. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    +1 turtle runner -- same here

    My DS isn't on the forum, but I can share what he told me.

    He was never interested in going to State U. He said he felt like it would be a continuation of high school for him.
    In his words, he wanted to go some place special and be tested. He was all in for USAFA but his medical waiver was denied. He found out Army gave waivers for his condition so he pursued USMA and AROTC earning a 4 yr national AROTC scholarship to VMI.

    (He was also accepted into the Physics programs at Purdue and Case Western Reserve Univ. and was offered good merit scholarship money, but he was always more interested in attending an SA or an SMC. He was also accepted into Corps at Texas A&M but chose VMI.)

    He is thriving. He was always looking for a brotherhood of serious and focused peers, and he has found it. His eye is on the prize. Wants to commission as an officer and serve.

    These past 5 days VMI AROTC was in the field doing their spring field training exercise. Helicopters. Sleeping outside on the ground in the cold, learning tactics, learning to shoot (qualified as a sharp shooter on the range with the M-16.) He loved it.

    His physical fitness is better than it ever has been. Lost all his baby fat thanks to VMI and is now lean and cut. Was always a good athlete and now even better.

    The hardships amplify the joys. Got his iPhone back in mid Feb after Breakout. Huge deal. No longer just a Rat, but still a 4th class cadet with very limited privileges. VMI freshmen were just in the last 2 days allowed to have bathrobes! Bathrobes of all things and they are ecstatic!

    Some kids excel in the SA/SMC environment. Some excel in other conditions. Not judging. I think it is very personal.

    I ask him every now and then if he thinks he is still in the right place. He never waivers in his answer.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
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  5. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    So great to read all these posts. It's great when you hear that these young people are thriving in their new environment whether it's a SA, SMC, or Traditional University. My belief has always been to advise my sons to go where they believe they will thrive, For my sons they had to make the decision between a SA or traditional university, they chose the latter. My only advice to them was to be involved, take advantage of every opportunity, they did and never regretted their decision.

    I give my utmost respect to any young person that makes a decision and then works hard to make the best of every opportunity. So proud of all the young people represented on this forum, no matter what path they choose, they make us proud every day.
     
  6. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    I heard DS say many times... why did I do this I should have went to a traditional university. But when the chips were on the table, he always said, I would not have done it any other way. DS was at an SMC, did ARNG SMP, and contracted Army between Sophomore and Junior year. A tight schedule indeed, with all the weekend and summer training, but he feels it put him far ahead in experience level vs others he is now rubbing shoulders with.

    And of course you build a bond with fellow peers at an SMC or in a ROTC program that no others will have.
     
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  7. MAJOROFSTLO

    MAJOROFSTLO Banned

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    grew up in a military family and wanted to serve so a military school was a natural choice. More importantly I wasn't a very serious student in high school and needed the discipline, if I had gone to a civilian college probably would have spent to much time partying and flunked out. Treasure the comradarie I still share with classmates and the valuable lessons I learned, would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
     
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  8. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    I sent your question to my Cadet, here is his response:

    I chose it because I want to serve in the US Army and nothing can really prepare you for that but a military academy. The regimented lifestyle will show you what it's like in the military, and allow you to decide early on if it's what's for you. Also, the things done at a military academy (especially VMI, I'm a tad bit biased though) will prepare you for so much more in the military than any standard ROTC unit could ever hope to. It was definitely the right choice for me, I've never been happier. It's difficult and you're put through a lot of stress, but as long as you handle it right you'll enjoy your time. I don't really regret it, I've made more friends and bonds here than I ever thought possible, and I still have the bonds I did. On top of that, the military academies open up doors a standard college never really could. I'm not saying that those who go to military academies are better, everyone has their own lifestyle and things they want to do, but the connections made and the success had tends to be more. That's my personal take, I'd make the same decision 100 times over.
     
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  9. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

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    I think each kid needs to really dig down deep to discern what kind of environment would be the best for him/her. I think some kids can get caught up in the prestige of the academies and a perception that the most successful officers come from that commissioning source, and ignore the fact that that an academy may not be the best fit for them. I recently asked both my DD and DS if they have any regrets in the choice they each made. They both resoundingly said, "NO!" DD had started the process of applying to academies, after going to NASS and SLE. In my heart, I truly believe she had the total package to get appointed, however, she believed that it was not going to be the best path for her. Admittedly, I was somewhat disappointed, but knowing how we had raised our children, I knew she had intently discerned this decision. She opted to pursue the ROTC route and is a Midshipman at the University of Notre Dame. She absolutely loves it there, from the religious experience, to her NROTC unit, to the diverse group of friends she has made and never regretted her decision not to go to an academy. Our DS, is currently a Plebe at USMA. He knew that he would thrive in the disciplined environment, (he actually likes morning formations!) enjoys the mandatory sports, doesn't think he's missing out on the party/fraternity scene and is doing exceedingly well there. So, even though they each took a different path, neither one has regrets.
     
  10. Curyea

    Curyea New Member

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    Thank you all so much! My son just came back from his overnight pre-knob visit. His was a very realistic experience and he is looking forward to going next year. I'm so glad he had the opportunity to go visit and I'm glad it wasn't sugarcoated. He is ready. Now to get me ready....... ;-)
     
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  11. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    He will be just fine and so will you. I would encourage you to get to know other knob parents next year. I'm sure they will have a FB page. Being able to share the experience with other Rat parents during the Ratline for my son was a tremendous help. Your friends whose kids are going to regular colleges will just not "get it". That isn't meant to knock them, or regular colleges. I went to one, my daughter will be going to one, she could not thrive at an SMC or SA. It is just a very different experience. I got so much more than I ever expected from my son choosing an SMC. I gained 434 Rats as my own, yes we actually think of them all as our own. Made amazing friends (hey FalconA, Mrs FalconA, Hillcher) and many, many others. So many parents that go out of their way to help in any way. " hey, I'm going to post this weekend, does your Cadet need anything"......

    The Brother Rat atmosphere extends to the families. This was unexpected. It has been wonderful.
     
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  12. Lawman32RPD

    Lawman32RPD Member

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    I didn't write this, but I am passing it along. This comes from a blog written by a Mom of two cadets at Texas A&M, one has graduated and is serving as an Air Force officer, the second is a senior there now. I pass it along for your review and consideration from the perspective of a Dad who didn't attend an SMC but who has a daughter who did four years at A&M in the Corps and who will graduate this year, and who has a son finishing up his second year in A&M Corps. I wholeheartedly agree with the comment this Mom wrote. "Monday, March 7, 2016 - I hope your cadets are hanging in there. As was posted on FB this morning, only 60 days until Final Review. *sigh* It will be a big day in our house. I can't say every moment has been golden -- or even every month. But the over-arching view in our house is that the Corps has been an invaluable, positive learning experience for our sons. Has it been fair? No. Has it been easy? No. Has the best person always risen to the top? No. Has it caused hardship and struggles? Unequivocally yes. So what's the point? you may ask.My takeaway is this: It is a microcosm of real life where you don't get a trophy for just showing up. In fact, you don't always get a trophy for being the best. The most important lesson for both my boys has been that failure does not define you. It creates resilience. It creates the ability to look at your life and say, "OK, this ain't gonna work. So I'm going to move on and try something else." And, in an interesting way, I see my sons looking at life this way. If you want to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit, i.e. the ability to pivot to another goal, you should be a cadet. Maybe the point is that life is not a zero-sum game. There are plenty of paths to success. You just need to find the one that's right for you.” http://cadetmoms.blogspot.com/
     
  13. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    Curyea, Yes I am sure there is a FB page for parents in Battalion he will be assigned. Does he know which Battalion yet? Tell him to run, run,and run some more. I am not sure where you are from but the humidity and heat in the Charleston August is no joke. Arrive in shape and there will be no issue. PM me with parent questions, I may can help. DS was a do it yourself-er so we made trips only on special occasions. And we are SC residents, so we were fairly close. Of course with guard duty, Corp duties and later ROTC duties (after contracting) he rarely had much time for visits. Good Luck.
     
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  14. pop031752

    pop031752 New Member

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    Here is what I learned when my son joined the corps at Texas A&M University: Joining the Corps of cadets at Texas A&M does not guarantee acceptance to ROTC. That may seem obvious to the reader, but is was not to me. He was not particularly challenged in the short time he was in the corps. I had the mistaken idea that if you were in the corps and did the work, performed well, that the ROTC would work out. That is not the case, and his application was denied. He did not perjure himself on his application, he did finish FOW, and left the corps with his honor intact. Also, the earlier an applicant commits to TAMU, the earlier he or she could attend new student conference, and have a wider choice of units to join.
     
  15. NAS

    NAS Banned

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    It was an exceptionally tough experience and I would not want to go through it again, but VMI changed the course of my life and I wouldn't change it for the world. A unique aspect I look back on at VMI, (and appreciate time and time again) is the fact that we had to work together to make it: We were not competing for the best MOS assignments, or best slots at pilot training, or other service-specific goals. We all came from and we were all going back to, every walk of life, so there was no back-stabbing or cut throats... we all helped (and continue to help) each other because "We're VMI."
    Looking back: the challenging experiences along with the world-class education at VMI have made all the difference. Any regrets? ...hell no.
     
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