Based on my character traits, do I have a chance to enter/survive the USAFA?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by BlackSnowMarine, Mar 15, 2014.

  1. BlackSnowMarine

    BlackSnowMarine The catch? Catch-22.

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    Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum, and it's nice to meet you in advance. Since at a fairly young age, my dreams of graduating from the USAFA have inspired me to do my very best in school. I maintain a 3.9 GPA as of now due to my hard work ethic. What sets me off from most students in high school is the action of producing quality work, rather than trying to finish an assignment as soon as possible to get rid of it. Other than a powerful academic ethic, I'm fairly athletic as well, being in Track & Field. I also plan on joining the Civil Air Patrol real soon. I feel like I have a great chance of being admitted in the Academy if I continue these traits.

    However, I'm not exactly the gruff and assertive type of guy. I'm not disrespectful to people and I do not like to command others with a yelling voice (I prefer to command others with a normal voice, one-by-one rather than commanding a platoon). Whenever I see these stereotypical officers in the military commanding groups of soldiers with such a booming voice, my dreams plummet from my grasp because I'm not strict or intimidating by nature. I'm not ruthless or hard-core; I respect people's personal space, not yell in their ears like what drill sergeants do (assuming by movies and stereotypes).

    In addition, I lack the ability to fend for myself. I'm not a Boy Scout, and I will forever regret the day in 2nd grade I rejected my dad's offer to become a Boy Scout. Whenever I see Eagle Scouts, I absolutely envy and loathe at their accomplishment in perfectionism at such a young age, as I often compare their accomplishments to my inferior capabilities. I cannot build a fire, I cannot set up a tent without assistance from another; heck, I can't even untie a tight knot. I don't even know how to tie the special type of knots you learn in Boy Scouts. I've lived a pampered life. I hate myself for it. I plan on joining Boy Scouts to redeem myself, but I'm turning 17 in a month and I may be too old to be eligible to join. I am hoping the Civil Air Patrol will at least teach me how to fend for myself.

    My overall goal in the Air Force (in life in general) is to become a successful Astronomical Engineer. My interests in the universe emulsifies my mind with immense curiosity. I will also pursue my hobbies in art and world history, and maybe even compose my own novel considering my talents in creative writing.

    To whoever read this, I am absolutely thankful. Absolutely thankful. Just being able to express my feelings to a community united by the same philosophies is good enough for me. I know I sound very depressed or very pessimistic, but that's the effect of my stress and worries getting into me. Hopefully I will be accepted in the USAFA, as I have two able hands ready to serve and contribute to the Air Force.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I can understand and appreciate your concerns. But it's really nothing you should really worry yourself about.

    Lets start by deleting your 3rd paragraph in it's entirety. Nothing in that section has anything to do with traits, personality, or capabilities. Those are simply "Skills". Skills can be learned. Do you think if you go to the academy and you spend a summer in survival school type training that they're going to drop you in the middle of some place and say: "We HOPE you survive and we'll see you in a few days"? No. They'll train you on any skills you need to learn. And hopefully, you'll expand on those skills and others you have to develop even more skills.That's called "Life".

    Your last 2 paragraphs talk about your occupational goals. That's cool. Nothing there that should concern you. Your first paragraph is about your academic accomplishments. Sound good and like you're on the right path academically. My only suggestion there, is to not be so presumptuous in thinking that just because some people can finish assignments quickly, that somehow the quality of their work is less. The academy is full of type-A personality people who have been able to combine school, athletics, clubs, family, social life, etc. all together; and have developed some exceptional time management skills so they can excel in ALL areas. So continue on with your excellent academic and athletic achievements.

    So, what does that leave us in your post that you "think" you should be concerned about? Well, basically that you don't feel that you are a very assertive person when it comes to leading others. You believe your leadership style is best done one on one instead of towards groups. Well, this is probably more in your mind due to inexperience than actual personality trait.

    I know many individuals who went to the academy who were naturally shy or introverted or simply reserved. Almost all of them had no problem coming out of their shell when it came to commanding/leading others once they understood WHY certain things were the way they were. If you think a "Yelling" voice is always disrespectful to others, than you're wrong. When you perceive that a military leader with a "Booming" voice is simply trying to intimidate others, be ruthless, or hardcore; then again, you are WRONG.

    The main reason for a "Booming" voice is because you're directing/leading/commanding a large group of people. You can't lead people if they can't hear you. As for one on one!!! Sorry; that's not the military. You can't lead or command at the "Individual" level. You can train, motivate, assist, etc. at the individual level; but in the military, leading and commanding are usually done at the "Group" level.

    Can the "Booming" voice sometimes be used to shock or intimidate the intended audience? Yes. In the military, especially on DAY-1 of basic training, this is necessary and very important. But you won't be the one with the "Booming" voice until your 3rd or 4th year at the academy. By then, you'll understand how sometimes it is quite necessary. The military and it's effectiveness is all about taking "individuals" and having them perform as a "team". Individuals from 50 different states; different lands overseas; with different personalities; different sets of values and morals; different back grounds; etc... and trying to get them to "Work Together". The best way to do this is to strip away all their "Differences" and have them concentrate on the things they have in common. When they start concentrating on that, they perform quite well as a team. If they don't perform well because they are still too "Individualized", then a drill sergeant, commander, etc... can use that booming voice to sometimes force "Commonality" among the individuals. Even if the only thing they have in common is that they all hate or fear the drill sergeant, that's at least SOMETHING they have in common.

    Point is, all the personal traits that you mention here that you consider to be a "Negative" are only such because you don't fully understand the different motives and why's behind such behavior. Once you realize that just because someone is yelling, has a booming voice, or is assertive, doesn't mean they are being disrespectful or trying to be ruthless; then you'll have no problem developing some of those communication skills to use "When Needed". Like I said, I know plenty of individuals who went to the academy very shy and timid. By the time they were in their 3rd and 4th year at the academy, they had no problem communicating with those they were commanding.

    Unfortunately, I've also seen some people in the military system in positions of authority, who never learned the reasons WHY. As such, some of these individuals have tried to promote a more "Kinder - Gentler" military. I believe that has hurt our military effectiveness and readiness. But that my friend, is a totally different subject to discuss at a later time.

    So, continue on with your academics and athletics. Don't worry about "Life Skills" such as you might learn in the boy scouts or civil air patrol. You can learn those when needed. And stop believing stereotypes that a leader or someone in command of a group who uses a loud or booming voice is only doing so to be intimidating and disrespectful. Best of luck to you.
     
  3. Rambo2015

    Rambo2015 Member

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    BlackSnowMarine, I agree with the above. You shouldn't let personality get in the way of your hopes and dreams of becoming an astronomical engineer. If that is what you truly want to do, then do it.

    Yelling, as you will soon find out in Civil Air Patrol, is not about invading one's personal space or making them feel inferior to the Drill Sergeant, but about instilling military discipline and a hardened attitude. Plus, an officer actually doesn't do much of the yelling, if any at all. They are mainly behind the scenes making sure that everything runs smoothly and according to plan.
     
  4. BlackSnowMarine

    BlackSnowMarine The catch? Catch-22.

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    Thanks for the elaborate responses, you guys. This really helped my self-esteem. :shake:

    I've always assumed that prior to your arrival in the Academy, you had to know and master the life skills, such as properly tying knots, building fires and tents, and knowing how to fend for yourself in general. I'm deathly afraid of being ridiculed in the Academy by my officers, being ridiculed for not knowing these basic life skills. For example, if they notice that I can't even tie square knots or build a tent, then they'll subject me to public humiliation. Or if I make a simple mistake, they'll humiliate me in front of my comrades.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that I prefer to work individually, rather than with a team. I have no problem working with a team, but throughout my school years I've always been a lone wolf. Not only because I'm shy, but that's just how I went with my life. I also have the belief that working alone will train me to fend for myself, a life skill I desperately need.

    I pray that the Academy will be strict yet gentle enough for me to grow and thrive. My learning process consists of making common mistakes and asking questions for further clarification. But if I irritate or annoy any officer because I ask too many questions, then I will not thrive at all; I will wilt and die. If I anger officers because I make the occasional errors in my learning process, I will wilt and die.

    And when I say I ask "too many questions", I really mean it. Most people refuse to ask questions and just "go with the flow", but if an intriguing question pops in my head I halt myself from moving on with the flow until my question is answered. Asking questions and making mistakes are what allows me to learn and grow, but if the Academy shuns people who do ask questions then I have a near-zero chance of surviving.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Don't know what grade you're in; and I think track and field is a great sport. But it sounds to me that you really need to get involved in some "TEAM" activities. I highly recommend some "Team" sports. If you can't get over the idea of working alone, then I can tell you right now that the military is not for you. Especially the academy. Many tasks are designed specifically so you CAN'T ACHIEVE them without the help of others. In the "REAL WORLD"; meaning the real military after the academy; very few jobs are such that you can do them completely on your own. Whether you're a doctor, pilot, engineer, telecom, special forces, etc... You rely on others for success. That's the whole concept behind a successful military. That's why the academy prefers individuals who have been very involved in competitive sports in high school. It's not so much because they want you physically fit. They want to know you're a "TEAM" player. Someone who can work with others. Work towards a common goal. Willing to put your wants and needs aside to help the greater good.

    Only you can tell what's best for you. But you really need to look at the big picture. You don't go to the academy because it's a great university and not consider the cost. As a minimum, you have a 9 year military commitment. 4 at the academy and a minimum of 5 more years on active duty. This entire 9 years will require you to not only be a "team" player and work with others, but to lead others and command as a team. The military is not the place for a lone wolf. You'd be miserable. And no college education is worth you being miserable. Hopefully you have enough time to determine how you want your future to go. Best of luck to you.
     
  6. BlackSnowMarine

    BlackSnowMarine The catch? Catch-22.

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    I'm currently in my Junior year in high school. Regarding about teamwork, I have no problem when it comes to working with a team, as long as they're determined and persistent. It allows me to converse and express information or colloquial chat with others. I've just preferred to work alone just because it allows me to think and fend for myself, and it allows me to avoid any conflict between any stubborn teammate.

    And regarding about "relying on others for success", that sounds like you're leeching off of other people's energy for your own success. Despite the goal of successful teamwork, I've always thought the military trains you to also grow into an independent person capable of driving his/her own future, not by others. In my head, relying or over-relying on people for success sounds like a very bad habit to get yourself into. What if the people I relied on disappeared one day? Since I was so dependent on those people, my future just disappears.

    Regarding the leadership qualities, actual team sports such as baseball or football sparks an interest in me, though my fear of being terrible in those sports keeps me away from them. But I plan on running for ASB Secretary, as well as running for Secretary for Key Club. I'm hoping these opportunities will add some leadership qualities into me.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Don't know what to tell you. Maybe someone else can better explain it. But if you think a football game, building a skyscraper, or winning a war/battle can be done without relying on others for success, then maybe you should stick to being an artist, poet, or novelist. It definitely appears you don't have a good handle on the concept of teamwork.

    And for what it's worth, it's not just a military thing. Although, the military can't survive without it's members relying on each other. But even in the civilian world, there are very few occupations where your success doesn't have some reliance on others. The military just happens to be one where your actual "Life" may also rely on someone else. Best of luck.
     
  8. BlackSnowMarine

    BlackSnowMarine The catch? Catch-22.

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    It's rather intriguing to me how my dad, from his own experiences, has always told me to stop being so dependent on other people and accomplish your responsibility of making your life as great as possible. In school, I highly rely on teachers to the point of irritating them. At home, I highly rely on my parents to accomplish little tasks to the point of annoying them. I've always tried on improving to be independent since then.

    Now, I'm hearing that it's acceptable and required to rely on others for success, and these desires of independence vs. reliance creates a confusing storm in my mind.

    I don't know anymore. I'm only 16 and I'm already having a crisis. I apologize if I'm missing any vital point from what you stated; yes, I know the military forces cooperation and reliance between different people from 50 different states, but since I was encouraged to stop relying on others and to take responsibility for myself as a child, this whole situation confuses me.
     
  9. LFry94

    LFry94 USAFA C1C '17

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    I think you've wrapped your head around a military stereotype and have led yourself to believe that you are incapable of living up to it. I will be the one to tell you that you, or anyone reading this, can do it if you have the absolute determination.

    I never played any team sports...
    I was a quiet and reserved guy...
    I wasn't an eagle scout or boys state attendee...

    I just had the determination, and put in a lot of hard work.
     
  10. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    You can do both. Different people bring different skills to the table, so while it's not acceptable to completely rely on someone else for success, acknowledging your own weaknesses and getting help is a must. Part of being a good leader is managing the strengths of your team in a way that utilizes them the best. So yeah, you do what you can on your own, but there's no shame in getting help. And why would you not? You want to do the best you can, and if working with a classmate or friend does the trick, then by all means you work with that person. And in return, when your skills can help someone else out, you do it.

    Look, I think you're getting confused by stereotypes that all military officers are gung-ho, Type-A, extroverts. A lot are, sure. But a lot aren't. I definitely consider myself an introvert, and I've never been a yeller. That doesn't make me a bad leader or a bad officer. However, it does mean that sometimes I have to come out of my comfort zone. If you push yourself and make that effort, then your personality quirks would not be an issue. At the end of the day if you're not willing to do that, or you're not really excited about the idea of leading Airmen, then USAFA is probably not for you.
     
  11. BlackSnowMarine

    BlackSnowMarine The catch? Catch-22.

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    Understood. The Academy's seemingly uptight and strict atmosphere prompted me to think that the people who attended the place were perfect. To my mind, it was reasonable to think that, considering the people at the top of the food chain will thrive at the Academy, and the people at the bottom of the food chain will have to improve by a lot to thrive. Seeing how I have much to learn and experience, I felt naturally inferior to them.

    Seems like my question is now resolved with precise and meaningful answers I could never get anywhere else. Thank you so much for your time. I honestly can't thank you enough. I salute to you all.
     

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