Change of heart

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by equestriangrl93, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. equestriangrl93

    equestriangrl93 Member

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    What are some reasons people decide not to attend a Service Academy after getting a nomination or appointment?
     
  2. Ectriso

    Ectriso Member

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    I'm just a candidate for 2016. But, if I were to receive an appointment I would have to really think long and hard before accepting it. Accepting the appointment would put me at risk of cutting ties with my family (especially mom and grandma) for a long period of time, if not permanently. As of now, I feel like I would not give up the chance of a lifetime. However, that feeling might change if I were to actually have the appointment in hand.
     
  3. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    equestriangrl: The only reason you should decide TO attend any SA is because YOU want to become an officer after a very challenging four year period of development that is quite different from any other college environment.

    ANY reason that leads you to seriously doubt that you either (a) don't want to be an officer, or (b) don't want to go through the ordeal of 4 years at a SA, is a good reason. There is no shame in deciding that this is not the path for you. If you have gained a nomination and an appointment, you most likely have some other very good options. (Note that I did not include normal worrying about whether you could succeed; every Mid I've met has wondered (at times) whether they could get through.)

    OTOH, Ectriso, if you know in your heart that going to a SA to become an officer is what you really want, then I would encourage you to stay true to your dream no matter what family members might say or do. My DD has had to face this exact situation. While it has been difficult, those who tried hard to get her to not attend USNA are (three years later) finally starting to realize that she has made a choice that is right for her. Certainly their relationships are still strained, but they have not completely cut ties.
     
  4. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Like in any romance, some people prefer the chase, and once it's won, they discover they were not really interested in the person (or place) for a long-term relationship.

    And many, perhaps most false starts are fueled by Academy-enamored parents of children who aren't.

    Seeing so many highly qualified candidates who'd "die" for offer of those appointments that have gone to those luke warm dabbler candidates is painful. It will be interesting to watch the attrition figures in the event the current hard-sell admissions recruitment persists.
     
  5. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The #! reason people choose not to ATTEND is probably that they realized USNA wasn't for them for any number of a dozen reasons (liked another SA, didn't want the rigor of an SA lifestyle, wanted a major/career (e.g., law) that isn't immediately available out of USNA, didn't want the service commitment, wasn't sure he/she wanted to be in the military, etc).

    So, they attend another SA, a civilian school on an ROTC scholarship, or just stay out of the military altogether. In my view, there is no harm is going through the process and, at the end, turning down your appt. Had it happen to one of my candidates this year -- who ended up going Army ROTC. Go figure!

    A different question is why people accept appointments, start at USNA, and then leave. Main reason is that they came b/c someone else wanted them to or they thought they wanted to be at USNA and, once there, realized they didn't.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    DS was one of them that had a change of heart. For him it was based on a multitude of reasons, not just one. They were:

    1. The curriculum offered.
    ~~~ He really wanted to major in govt and politics. The college he selected had a very strong program, including internships on the Hill in DC.
    ~~~ He has always been strong mathematically (720 M SAT), but he hated doing Math and realized it would be 4 yrs of math/science based.

    2. Lifestyle
    ~~~ He was/is a military brat. He wants to make the military his career, but he realized he wanted for once experience the "real world", where it wasn't military 24/7/365


    I think this is why all candidates should always do plan B and apply for a ROTC scholarship. You may enter fall sr yr gung ho SA here I come, and later on have a change of heart.

    As others have stated not going because of "love" is foolish. The reality is even if you decide to go to down the road, there is a running joke regarding hs relationships in college...it's called the Turkey Drop. Most kids break up at Thanksgiving, very few end up marrying their HS sweetheart. Probably the same % for the SAa as for traditional...they are called the 2% club.

    Fear and worry is common, one that you will get passed. I also agree with why many leave the SAs...it was never their desire, but felt they must do it because of outside influences.
     
  7. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Interesting perspective. #2 really speaks to the issue he did not want that institutional lifestyle. No problem. Understandable.

    Still, I'd love to be in a debate tournament on your point #1. There is no other place, including the other SAs because of their locations, where poli sci/govt. is any stronger. It is stunning the people who teach these courses ... across the board ... their depth of experience and education. The men and women who teach seminars is literally non-replicable. And as to the point of being immersed in math and science? Yes and no. There are sections of math, engineering, and science courses that are no-brainers for strong math students who are non-Groups I or II majors. Not to argue, but my view is that if your #1 reason for DS not attending was HIS #1 reason? He totally misread those tealeaves. Last point ... internships. Are you suggesting USNA sucks a hind tit on those? I hope you are kidding. I could tell you a myriad of stories.

    I'd place USNAs poli sci/govt/security studies/comparative politics up against any undergrad program on the planet ... Gtown, Hopkins, Tufts, Ivies, anyplace. This one is a no-brainer.

    My own read on your information is ... when it came right down to it? He didn't want a military institutional environment. No problem. But because he could receive a superior poli sci classroom and/or field experience(s). Let's get real.
     
  8. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    It sometimes works the other way: A candidate, rather lukewarm about the prospect of serving in the military, is coerced into applying to a service academy and, once they get there, they discover that it is a perfect fit for them. They love it!

    Although, I will admit, this is not ideal - and I wouldn't count on it turning out that way. But, it does happen.

    I, for one, went to the Naval Academy for many of the wrong reasons. I wasn't influenced by my parents, but I was enamored with the idea of attending without really thinking it through. I had no idea what it meant to serve in the military. Serving as an officer in the Navy was not high on my list. I just thought it would be cool to attend the United States Naval Academy.

    And when I got there - I hated it! I discovered I had no interest in anything nautical. I didn't even like sailing. It sure seemed like a lot of work to get from point A to point B. :smile: (Now you know why I chose aviation)

    But, not being a quitter - I gave it a little time and I discovered it was the perfect school for me. I just needed to mature a bit. I don't think my story is all that unusual.
     
  9. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    USNA is a great school but they are simply not the best at everything. They show up in lists of top colleges and engineering programs but I've never seen them listed as a top politcal science school.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Whistle it was both issues for #1, not just 1 issue for number 1.

    A. As a cadet you will be required to take a lot of Math/Science courses. As I stated it is a strong suit for him, but not something he enjoys.

    Personally, Bullet and I both agreed he would have been able to handle the M/S courses, but would have hated every second.

    As many have stated, a key to success is not only wanting to be there physically, but also academically. Hating the mandated curriculum IMPO is a sure fire way to do poorly.

    B. I am positive that the SA's have a great govt program, but again, it goes back to the entire curriculum. For his college, he loved the idea that he was going to intern on the Hill. He also is in their Scholars program for govt., which requires seminars and internships. This type of learning appealed to him since it was not just classroom experience, but "real world".

    The allure of this over rode any other desire and he knew as a cadet this was not going to be an option. It was one item that he just wanted as an experience and did not want to live without.

    Since he was 9, working on the Hill had been a desire. His career goal at that time was JAG for 20, than the Hill. It was a factor.

    The one thing I will say, and most will agree, be open minded throughout your collegiate career (SA or ROTC). You may enter with intentions like DS, and walk out 180 degrees different. As I stated, DS never grew up with the desire to fly (his Dad flew the F-15E as a WSO), all he wanted was JAG. He received his career field 3 months ago, his 1st choice. UPT!

    Our very good friends have a DS at USNA (12), and he entered with SWO as his career choice back in 08, it has changed several times because he has kept his mind open to all of the options. He is now waiting to see if he gets a flying slot.

    Candidates are young, your goals may change, you will always 2nd guess yourself. My best piece of advice is to make a decision, and don't look back.

    2nd best piece of advice is to remember that career choice is a factor, but realize your number 1 goal is not a career field, it is to get the best education and military training for you. You do not raise your right hand and take an oath to be a pilot or submariner. You raise it to be an officer.

    Don't be swayed to go one route over another because of other's opinions. Go that route because of your desires.

    X-posted with Aikibudo
    I agree. SA's are renown for technical majors, not non-tech majors when it comes to their programs. If you want to be an AERO engineer, there are no better schools than the SA's. If you want to be a govt major, there are schools with better programs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  11. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Sorry, I don't buy the list thing. And I'll stick by my contention having watched it closely. Remember ... undergraduate program. Remember ... teaching vs. publishing. Remember ... engagement. If one were to list the speakers, seminarians, lecturers, visiting officials, etc. for USNA vs. any of those for any designated time period ... it would be phenomenal. It's daily, weekly, constant exposure at USNA. And much of it is coincidental to being a Mid, peripheral to any specific "major."

    btw, I don't buy the top engineering thing either. I've asked many engineering students about this, and most concur ... it's a great sampler ... but a grad degree is essential for a for those desiring an indepth experience. Conversely the poli sci / govt thing is pervasive in virtually all that goes on at USNA.

    If the primary argument is USNWR type lists? Poppycock. Pure and simple. We'll just have to disagree on this one I'm afraid. I'll take substance vs. symptoms and perceptions. USNA is a virtual political science and government lab. Soooooo much to be learned in every day living and listening, learning via summer experiences, internships unique to USNA, and both domestic and overseas opportunities vs. an occasional lecture by an occasional adjunct. I still say ... and it is specific to political science, comparative government. When one really looks at this one, it's a no-brainer, imo. W/ no close second. This is not about being "known" or recognized by academe. This is about, and in this instance it makes sense, the meaning of "is".

    btw, I fully agree that USNA is not the best at everything. In fact, I'd go further on that and say it's not the "best" on most things. Don't try and tell me an English, econ, or even engineering ... are as good as many other places. No way they can be. Most are relative samplers of the subject. Simply too much "else" to study and do. Conversely much of that "else" complements the study of politics, illustrating in action, hands on, real life stuff. And it starts with the admissions process. Big time. And goes on and on.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  12. usna2012mom

    usna2012mom Member

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    I don't think your story is that unusual either. A prime example would be Adm Mullen. He had no military family background, never considered the military. He was recruited at the last minute by Navy to play basketball. As a young officer, he made mistakes, now he is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. You just never know what is in your future.
     
  13. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    And 2012 ... you've provided powerful, dramatic evidence of the political lessons to be learned at USNA. His story of success and ultimate rank and position have as much to do with coddling, cooperating, compromising and cajoling ...and his ability to recognize, understand and play politics as it does flying a plane, manning the con, or captaining a carrier.

    Frankly, while all Mids receive BS degrees, I've wondered if each should not also merit a minor in politicking!

    So much for "bull" majors. Eventually the masters of that universe rise to the top, whether their foundation has come from USNA or the "school of harder knocks."
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    The rhetoric appears to be ratcheting up. I hope we can bring it back down.

    Nobody is slamming the SA. IMPO, I have stated over and over again, the SA is great. Again, the OP asked why somebody would have a change of heart? I did not mean to create a firestorm, when I answered WHY our DS opted to go ROTC over an SA. I have made it clear it was never one issue, but multiple issues.

    Let's get back to being there for the OP, not arguing about a major. None of us know if the OP wants a tech or non-tech degree.

    Back on topic.

    Equestrian, people back out for various reasons. It is not a one size fits all.

    The BGO process will help you through this process. Unfortunately too many candidates, never realize it is a 2 way street. Yes, they are there to assist the USNA, but also there for you too as a candidate. If you have questions or fears, talk to them. They know you better, personally, than anyone here. They have done this for yrs., and their true desire is to find the candidate that fits; they don't want to make the candidate fit. Trust in them. Use them as a resource. They are IMPO the GO TO resource.

    Be honest and open with your fears and questions because that will allow you next yr to be able to succeed as a C4C, NROTC cadet, or neither. Your fears/qiestions are not un-rational or uncommon, talk to them. Personally, I love the system, because candidates also will listen to their opinion before the parent. They will also be more open due to the fact it isn't their parent.

    Good luck. Thank you for wanting to defend this great nation. No matter what option you choose we all believe in you.
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    There's hardly any curriculum in the world that comes close to the service academies as far as preparing their graduates for the "real world" of their future occupation - that of a military officer.

    I remember that impressing me as being very evident while I was still a midshipman while on summer cruises alongside NROTC midshipmen. We just flat out knew more than they did and were more comfortable with the ship, everything from the way it operated to proper military protocol.

    Your son is simply looking for a different type of "real world" experience. But don't kid yourself, the Naval Academy is not all about academics.

    It sounds like he made the right choice.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Memphis,

    Please understand I 1000% agree with your statement of:
    Nobody can do it better than an SA. NOBODY!

    Yet, not everybody is meant to live the military life at 18. Our DS is unique, he had never lived his life as a "civilian" since birth. He wanted this time to be a kid with limited ties to the military. His entire life was classified as AF/AD/DS-01. He was Bullet's son. His friends were military dependents, or lived a life with military dependent children. He wanted to meet people that didn't understand what rank meant, unless it was tied to their hs performance. He wanted for the 1st time in his 18 yrs to be DS, not LTC Bullet's son. He wanted to see the world, and that world was "civilian" college student.

    I am just trying to assist the OP and illustrate reasons why some may select this path. It is not a peeing match.

    I do have to say, Colin Powell proved that you don't have to be an SA commissioned officer to prove your worth!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  17. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    +1000 to pretty much everything Pima has said. The Academies, and the military in general, are not for everyone. There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a "normal" college experience. No matter how much you try to make it up on the weekends, a SA is NOT a normal experience. It's been a great one, but there's been times I wished I would have considered NROTC or PLC a little harder.

    A lot of people jump into a SA headfirst and don't really think it through. I thought I knew what I was getting in to, and I really didn't (and still don't, really). It's not something cool to do for a couple years, there are potentially real consequences and responsibilities down the pike. If someone applies, gets an appointment, thinks it through, and says no, then hey, good on them in my book because at least they thought about it.
     
  18. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    Equestriangrl93 - Hopefully some of the experiences and insight shared by Pima, Memphis and others will help you and others struggling with a difficult decision. Good Luck.
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Equestrian,

    You have a lot of time. The 1st boards will not meet until Oct.

    Take the time and investigate. The more you investigate, the more you will feel confident in your decision.

    We are all here to support you through your emotions. You are not the 1st to question the path and will not be last.

    Talk it out until you feel comfortable.
     
  20. singaporemom

    singaporemom Member

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    Talk, research, and visit. Every bit of information will help you make your decision. My DS met with Army, Navy, Air Force recruiters, Officers who had gone to academies and officers who had not. Interviewed many ROTC programs and just kept looking for more information.

    When he received the appointment I honestly didn't know what he would do. He didn't talk to us for over two weeks while he thought about it. When he signed the offer and put the bumper sticker on his truck, we knew he was fully commited (NO bumper stickers ever go on the truck...that duct taped 1996 Ford F150 is his pride and joy!!!)

    He speaks Chinese, and knew that USNA did not have the strongest Chinese program. He wanted a math or science major and knew that many schools could give him a great if not better degree in Math. But he wanted to be in the Navy and an officer and he knew that USNA was the best choice for that. I have also discovered a drive and competitiveness that I didn't know quietly existed. To him, this is all a fantastic challenge. He will not let this beat him. One year down, he is excelling and we can tell he made the right choice.

    Good luck to everyone as you figure out your own path. Remember that is is YOUR path to follow.
     

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