C4C considering leaving after BCT

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by FlyMom19, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. FlyMom19

    FlyMom19 Member

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    I am a long-time lurker, but never joined until now. Thank you so much to all of the regular posters. I've learned so much from you, and I feel as if I know you after over a year of reading your comments on the forum. I appreciate what a caring group of people you are, and I really need your help right now with how to help my DS.

    Long story short, he is a C4C at USAFA as of Tuesday, and he is wanting to leave ASAP. I'm afraid he is basing his decisions on emotions and is not thinking rationally at his point. He is still exhausted from BCT, and he also caught a cold at the end, so he's not feeling well.

    From the best I can discern from our conversations, his main reason for wanting to leave is that he is scared and depressed and doesn't think he can make it at USAFA. He has been listening to everyone tell him how impossible it is to get your school work done along with all your other duties, and he's lost confidence in himself. I've tried to feed him facts I've learned from this forum and encourage him to stay and at least give it a try so he can see for himself what cadet life is like and base his decision on real information, but he's not listening. I've also tried to encourage him to go talk to a chaplain, but he hasn't done that yet.

    My questions are, who can my son go to for counsel and when? Is there anybody there who can help him regain his perspective so he doesn't make a choice he may end up regretting? Is it best for him to start the Form 34 process so he can get some counseling, or is it better for him to try talking to people in his chain of command first for advice?

    It is so hard watching him doubt himself, and my heart breaks for him when I listen to his despair over the situation he feels he's trapped in. For years he wanted to attend USAFA, become a pilot, and serve his country. To throw that dream away now, after completing BCT successfully, just doesn't make sense to me. He didn't struggle with the physical aspects of BCT, but the mental strain is what seems to be bothering him. I get it that USAFA and the military are not right for everyone, but can anyone make an informed decision based just on what it was like during BCT? We are not a military family, but we did the best we could to help him prepare for what it would be like at the Academy. Apparently, we failed him.

    Also, we never pushed him to apply to USAFA. It was totally his idea, and, in fact, I tried to talk him out of it. It's not that I am against the service academies, but I was trying to make sure of his motivation. We will support him the best we can, whatever he ultimately decides. We just need to know how best to help him.
     
  2. F15DOC

    F15DOC Member

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    This is heartbreaking to hear, I am sure you will get some great advice here....
     
  3. Godandcountry

    Godandcountry Member

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    If you want to pm me - i may be able to connect him with my son who went through something similar and is a '19.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  4. Godandcountry

    Godandcountry Member

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  5. wannafly18

    wannafly18 Wannafly18

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    I'm sorry to hear your son is feeling the stress. Don't worry. I think all of the cadets are feeling it as they are still exhausted from BCT and things are so busy. I returned home today from our trip to the Acceptance Day and found an email from my daughter. One thing she mentioned was that she has some sort of 'coach' (proper term?) who is a second year student. She said over the past couple of days, he has been giving her advice on how to stay focused on getting used to things and avoiding getting bogged down by the fact that the first few weeks she might be wondering what she's gotten herself into. Maybe your son can ask his coach for support. The kids are tired and sick and so there is a lot of this talk going on. Even though my daughter didn't mention rethinking things, I could tell by her email that she is overwhelmed and extremely tired. A lot of the cadets will likely not tell us how they really feel and so maybe your son can be more candid with a fellow cadet who has experience in first year issues.
     
  6. FlyMom19

    FlyMom19 Member

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    Godandcountry,

    I'm not sure how to pm on here yet. I think I have to have more points or something first. Can you pm me, and then I can reply?
     
  7. Godandcountry

    Godandcountry Member

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    Just send me an email if you can. I cant pm you because you dont have the points. Either that or I could be short.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You need to chat with him and give him some facts. Then, when he has facts, he can make proper decisions.

    Facts:
    1. More than 50,000 cadets before him have made it. So take the word impossible and throw it away. It doesn't exist.
    2. There is more than enough time to do everything, once you learn time management. And he will learn that.
    3. BCT and the academy, are 2 totally different worlds. They are not the same thing. Do not make any decision based on his experience at BCT.
    4. If he does find himself having issues academically, the academy has EI (extra Instruction) where his teachers will help him. They will find time to help.
    5. Quitting after you have given it a real try, is fine. He hasn't even begun. So he hasn't even tried yet.

    Some of these facts may seem like harsh advice. So be it. They are facts and must be accepted. Make him realize it.

    I'm on my iPad, so copy and past is difficult right now, but do a quick search under my screen name in this forum for a post I've made numerous times called. "The emotions of a cadet" . Give it to your son. If he reads it, he will likely realize that his has all of the emotions. Well guess what? At one time or another, every cadet there now or has ever been there, has had some or all of those emotions.

    And definitely get him to agree to at least hang in through parents weekend. Before thinking about any decision. He will be settled in his squadron. Settled in his classes. And he'll have a nice long weekend off to put things into perspective. And if nothing else, the last part of the emotions of a candidate mentions the goal and reasons a person wanted the academy. If those goals and reasons are still viable, then he WILL make it through. Just like 50.000+ have before him.

    Best of luck.
     
    FalconsRock, Midwest and AROTC-dad like this.
  9. FlyMom19

    FlyMom19 Member

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    Christcorp,

    Thank you for your reply. I agree with all you've said--that's exactly what I've been telling him since he got his phone back two days ago and we've been able to communicate. If only I could get my son to agree with you too. Since he isn't listening to me, I am trying to find out if there is anyone at USAFA who could try to talk some sense into him.

    I remember reading your post about the emotions of a cadet, and I will try sending that to him.
     
  10. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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  11. FlyMom19

    FlyMom19 Member

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    I sent you an email.
     
  12. FlyMom19

    FlyMom19 Member

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  13. Godandcountry

    Godandcountry Member

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    Just replied.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  14. haleym

    haleym Member

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    To be honest, I considered leaving a few times over the past couple of years- even as recently as January. If you would like for someone to talk to him and explain the counseling options he has, I would be happy to do so. Otherwise, I wish you both the best!
     
  15. FlyMom19

    FlyMom19 Member

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    Yes, I would really appreciate it if you could talk to him. Is there a way I can give you his contact information privately?
     
  16. haleym

    haleym Member

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    Sent you a PM! Guess you hit that magic number of posts.
     
  17. Dad

    Dad Member

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    I need to push back on this. Sounds that DS did the research, filled out the lengthy app, got a nomination, and was accepted. You did NOT fail him. He made the choice to go and he needs to make the choice to stay/leave. He has an AOC and a non-com officer to talk to. He has the support of his flight (now cadet squadron) and has been briefed on his options. I think that you're going above and beyond by providing additional contacts to reach out to him. You raised a great son or we wouldn't be on this forum.

    That being said, your son has selected the profession of arms and, if he continues to graduation, will take an airman's chance in the AD AF. Your role has changed from protector to support and cheerleader. Whether he stays or not I have full confidence that he will make the best decision. Over the years, I have heard virtually every cadet I have talked with express that there was a point of doubt of staying there during their Academy journey. Wanting to quit is not a rare occurrence.

    My recommendation is to keep the lines of communication open, allow your son to vent, listen with the intention of understanding, and offer your input by invitation only. It sounds like that is exactly what you're doing. Stay strong and best wishes to your son and your family.
     
  18. ebotterb3

    ebotterb3 Member

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    You are welcome to PM me as well and I can put him in touch with my DS a C4C. It seems to me, words of advice, like talking to a Chaplin or encouragement that he can make it, are taken better than from parents.. At least for my kids.
     
  19. Blueblood1

    Blueblood1 Member

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    Hi Flymom-I sent you a PM as well.
     
  20. 2018DAD

    2018DAD Member

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    Can you PM me his squad number, if you do not want to state it here? Might just know someone in or nearby to help.
    Also best advice I have ever heard here: " Never quit on a bad day"!
    CC's advice is one of the best examples of setting a short term goal and then achieving it.. Heck most in BCT just tried to make it to the next meal!! It works.. PW then maybe Thanksgiving.. Xmas.. Next thing you know you make it to Recognition and enjoy Air U!

    His coach can be a valuable asset right now... Encourage him to talk to his Coach...Guaranteed the coach will affirm that those thoughts are never far from a lot of Cadet's minds!!
     

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