Dropping after first semester

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Budlow77, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Budlow77

    Budlow77 New Member

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    Background: Son (ACT 31M 28V) attends USNA Summer Seminar 2009, applies Class of 2014 (3Q-3Nom) declined, Re-applies (3Q-2Nom) declined again, but receives NROTC scholarship for Fall 2011. Fall 2010 did college prep program and Spring 2011 attends future unit's university (GPA 2.5 on 14 CR - "D" in calc). This past Fall semester, now in unit, 1.08 GPA, 4 F's (calc, chem, logic), 1 D, "A" in NavSci (17 credits). Note: Had a concussion shortly after mid-terms, sidelined by health clinic from any physical activity, now confesses he skipped a week or more classes, was ready to drop earlier but Fresh. LT. advised him wait until semester, re-evaluate.

    Announces this week he's dropping out. (returns next week) Says he does not "fit" at this school, dislikes unit, no major he's interested in, believes officers mostly watch, sailors get the challenging duty, have more deployments, etc. Would consider SeeBees as an option but told he cannot get to CEC via this pipeline. (true?) Thought about MC Option but would have to compete in nat. pool. New plan is visit recruiters, take aptitude test for every branch and see what jobs best fit him - then enlist, or possibly attend college but no calling as to where or major. Extracting his basis of decision and game plan have been very difficult - like a circuit breaker tripped and won't reset.
    While disappointed, not sure want him to continue in present situation, he says he's given best effort, obviously not. Suggested he finish 2nd sem to prove he can pull the grades, redeem himself, take summer cruise, decide after that and more fact-finding.
    Any advice or PM welcomed. He's 20, his decision, agree on that, provided it's an informed one. Sorry this is windy or if topic previously posted.
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    ^^^ Sorry to hear all this. I know this is a difficult time for you all and my prayers will be with you.

    Your DS is obviously bright, given his test scores. It seems to me something went totally awry beside NROTC and his concussion. The rest, except perhaps disliking the school (that he picked?), seems to me to be rationalizations to help him deal with his failure. Um sure its the first one he has ever faced.

    If he were allowed to continue in NROTC (with or without the scholarship) he will no doubt be on mandatory study hours which may be of help to him. There is something to be said for getting back on the horse but it seems his heart would not be in it.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir, but, of course, you need to be worried about helping your son deal with this in a positive manner so it doesn't become a pattern. I don't know if his NROTC advisor would be willing to talk to you, (if your son signed a release allowing him to) but that might be helpful sorting through this and coming up with a plan of action. He could also let you know what your son would be facing should he decide to return.

    On the other hand he seems determined to be in the Navy. Keeping in mind that I don't know your son or the situation really, perhaps enlisting would give him the time and skills (especially discipline which he seems unable to bring to his studies) to allow him to deal with this in his own time and fashion. He could always do college later through the GI bill should he eventually decide that's the right course for him.

    I'm sure this isn't very helpful. I know you all, including DS, are heartbroken over this. I hope and confident your DS will get through this and end up where he was meant to be in life. He seems to be too bright a young man not to.
     
  3. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    First, let me say I'm glad to see you are looking forward as to how your son can best proceed without looking for recrimination. So many parents of kids whose grades tank up front after a successful HS experience start by blaming the student and cannot get beyond trying to hammer the kid down the same path.

    Second, before determining how to move forward, it is still important to understand why he struggled in school so as not to make a similar mistake, especially considering that you mentioned going back to school as one of the options. Understanding why he struggled will take a little more than the stated, "didn't fit the school", "didn't like the unit", "not interested in major" which all say to me "I'm frustrated and don't have the tools to move forward".

    Breaking this down further, the "didn't fit the school" can be an honest assessment, but we don't know whether it is "this school" or college in general because he has exactly one data point. Looking back at your past posts, it looks like he was at USD a medium sized private, Catholic school. I'm not familiar with the specifics of USD, but in general, private schools like this are not considered impersonal places where young students get lost. However, not knowing your son's HS background (public/private/religous large/small) it is hard to assess whether there was a culture shock experienced that he was not prepared for. Also, private schools tend to have a different demographic (outside of recruited URMs, etc) being a bit more affluent, so if your demographics don't match up well with a large part of the population there, that could very well be the problem. Let's face it, kids want to find a social scene that is comfortable - it isn't just about the time in the classroom.

    Moving onto "didn't like the unit", this could be related to the social scene mentioned above - these same students are in his dorms as well. However, it could relate to a different expectation of ROTC than the reality as you mentioned attitudes like "officers mostly watch" which really could mean he was expecting to be trained by officers, not the upperclassmen who are the unit leadership (who he may not identify with per the above). One caution here though is that if he isn't dealing well with the leaders of his unit, these will be the same type of people he reports to if he enlists (although not directly at first).

    Finally the "not interested in majors" comments to me say one or several things - he is not dealing well with how college is taught (it isn't spoon fed like HS - a larger degree of independent work is required) and cannot find any classes where he is catching on quickly. Another thing is that given the nature of college classes - not hands on, practical things where he can see the end use - the idea of enlisting where you are "doing things" satisfies a need to have accomplishment especially considering the struggles he is having with the theoretical.

    It sounds to me like he is considering "practical" paths going forward - not necessarily a bad thing for a kid who sounds a bit lost at present. Doing testing to determine where he might be best qualified isn't a bad thing though not foolproof. It also builds confidence in a kid who sounds a bit down on himself. Enlisting might not be a bad thing if he can choose a MOS that fits his skills although there are plenty of dull, unrewarding jobs in the enlisted ranks and he must realize that he doesn't get to choose his exact duties and he must make the best of things.

    Taking a semester or two at a CC to enroll in a practical program might not be a bad alternative, though he may find a different type of culture shock there as well (the 13th grade syndrome).

    Bottom line is that it sounds like he is still trying to process the unexpected and disappointing results of his college experience to date. Sometimes a little time isn't a bad thing.
     
  4. bsherman92

    bsherman92 Member

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    What is his major? Sounds like it's along the lines of engineering or a science from the Calculus, Chemistry, Logic (Liberal Arts requirement? Philosophy?). You and your son should know, the first two are not in the least easy; the third I would say depends on how much of an affinity you have for the humanities and on what type of institution you're attending. That being said, his absolute, first priority is his grades. Those grades will not get him in the Navy or anywhere in the civilian world. Sorry. Balancing ROTC and a major like that is extremely challenging. He will most definitely have to spend a lot more time solving all the problems in the back of his textbook than whatever else he's been doing. You'll have to be pretty hard on him: for the tuition you're being forced to pay because of the loss of scholarship, those grades will not cut it. Understandable with his head concussion and medical "leave," but I don't know if that would've forced him to skip a week or more of classes... Three or more absences in most schools is usually equivalent to failure.

    There are alternatives to NROTC (though it seems he's handling NROTC just fine). Instead of participating in NROTC year-long, he can simply attend OCS through the CEC (Civil Engineer Corps Program), NUPOC (Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program) , or BDCP (Baccalaureate Degree Completion Program). The Air Force has a similar program for meteorology or engineering majors, called TDSP (Technical Degree Sponsorship Program). From your posts, it seems he'd be most interested in CECP. You can find a Navy officer recruiter near you who can fill you in on the details. And of course, for the Marines, there is PLC (Platoon Leaders Course).

    CECP - http://usmilitary.about.com/od/officerjo2/a/cestudent.htm
    https://portal.navfac.navy.mil/portal/page/portal/cec/accessions
    NUPOC - http://navynupoc.blogspot.com/
    BDCP - http://usmilitary.about.com/od/officerjo2/a/bdcp.htm
    General Officership in the Navy: http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/noru/orojt3/generalofficer.htm
    USMC PLC - http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/marinetrng/a/marineplc.htm
    http://officer.marines.com/marine/m.../commissioning_programs/platoon_leaders_class
    Air Force TDSP - http://www.airforce.com/benefits/officer-education/ (under "Money For School")

    Of course, re-taking the courses he will ultimately have to re-take because of the grades will also set back his graduation date. There is also nothing wrong with enlisting in the Active Duty Navy or Reserve, although I'm sure as a parent, this worries you. As for not enjoying his time with a particular NROTC unit... There is nothing that can be done about that. There are cadets and cadre I would rather not have worked with, but I would have to bet money that my experience is nothing compared to what the actual enlisted corps has to go through on a daily basis. That is just a fact of the military: your son will encounter things (and people) he will absolutely hate during his time in the Navy, or any other branch for that matter. I'm sure he'll muddle through. He should be back on track as soon as he finds his academic niche. Do consider the alternatives together, and best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  5. EDelahanty

    EDelahanty Member

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    Budlow, sent you a pm
     
  6. paradoxer

    paradoxer Member

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    Although there seem to be multiple issues, some even unknown, I think you should also explore a medical withdrawal for the semester even though the semester has finished. If you have proper documentation this is potentially possible depending on university policy. Many with concussions have lingering issues even though on the surface they seem to be functioning normally.
     
  7. clarksonarmy

    clarksonarmy Recruiting Operations Officer at Clarkson Army

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    See it happen all the time...My personal opinion (not judging) is that these kids get fed a line of bull about how the enlisted side is so much more exciting and Officers just sit behind a desk. That advice usually comes from an enlisted soldier or recruiter. The kid then uses that as an excuse to not put in the effort to earn the opportunity to lead soldiers (or sailors). I feel for you, but I sat across from a Cadet and his father who was in the exact same boat last Spring, and all I could do was rebut all the bad advice he had gotten from friends and recruiters, to no avail. That Cadet had the same track record, missed classes, not living up to potential, and a lot of sour grapes. Don't have a solution for you, just letting you know you are not alone...for what it's worth.
     
  8. NorwichDad

    NorwichDad Member

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    This is so true about the kids leaning to enlisted versus the officer side. I've heard it from a few kids and I don't spend much time at my son's school. I really respect all enlisted personnel. Especially the one's we have now with many deployments behind them. I tell these kids they need to embrace the opportunity of being an officer and leadership. You are affecting, molding and helping with many people's lives. I try to put age into perspective for them. What they think they need or want at 20 or 21 is often different from what they will need and want at 25, 30 or 35 years old. A college education is necessary for success. Life is marathon and they should not be short sighted to miss opportunities. That said I like this kid who is moving to next step. One door closes more will open. This will be a character building event for him.

    Best of luck, I know he will change for the better.
     
  9. Gojira

    Gojira Member

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    If he goes back for second term, he has to achieve a rock solid, all A's term GPA to bring it up, otherwise, it's unlikely that he would be allowed to continue into the second year at USD. Most schools have an Academic Probation policy. Have you looked at theirs?

    I am sorry that your son is going through this.
     
  10. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I agree with gojira, it is really important to look at the school academic probation program.

    The fact is he cannot commission, even from OCS/OTS without a college degree.

    I am not a betting woman, but a 1.08 cgpa is something I would bet the school will place him on probation for academics.

    Outside looking in Budlow77, but it seems he wants to be out of that college and he sabotaged himself thinking he could still have a Navy career and get out of this school.

    He is 20, and as you stated his decision, his life. He has the brains and the smart ones are the ones to watch because they can rationalize out how to achieve their goal while making it look like OOPS.

    My 0.01798763 cents. Withdraw now. Make a deal with him, he returns home and enrolls in CC until he gets his associate's degree. Goes full time yr round and it should take him no more than 18 months.

    Explain to him this will allow him to remain on your insurance.

    If after 18 months he wants to enlist, he has your full support. Explain also that it could also mean he enters at a higher pay scale for enlisted. If after getting his associates and wants to transfer to a 4 yr he has your support too, but at least he is moving forward either way for his Navy career.

    Pull up the pay scales from DFAS. www.dfas.mil Sit him down and show him how much it costs to live...car payments, insurance, food, rent, utilities and do it with taxes with held.

    An E3 under 2 yrs makes @$1100 a month less than an O1 and that is before housing pmts. An E3 at Pensacola compared to an O1 makes 250 a month less. Put them together before sea pay and we are over 13500 a yr difference.

    He will get a big clue fast that it is worth it to stay in college. Money talks to them.

    The best you can do is support, inform and guide him.

    JMPO, even at 20, they come home to your home where you pay the bills, they do not comprehend the real cost of living because you have done it for them by providing that roof over their head. They don't realize that the home and the things in it took yrs of sacrifice to obtain them. They don't understand that although there has always been a microwave in the house to pop popcorn, the microwave came out of your paycheck. That when you bought your 1st microwave you sacrificed something else, or saved for it.

    This past weekend Bullet sat down with DS1 who will be commissioned in May, and worked with him about budgets. DS was a little stunned to realize that even as an O1, it would be tight. Car payments and insurance, for the car he wants would take about 20% (ins is the problem due to age) O1 is 2800 before taxes, @ 2100 after, add in those lovely Cell phone bills (100), and just going to the dinner/ movies 2X a mo with his GF, and he is out at least another 300 bucks, this is before gas for the car (100) or food (300). Between those items he realized with a 300 car pmt and 200 insurance. He had left 700 a month.

    Sounds great right? Our DS thought that too until Bullet started other deductions.

    Live off base and you have:
    Utilities
    ~ Cable
    ~Water
    ~ Sewer
    ~ Trash pick up

    Another 200 in total. Leaving 500. Nobody in the 21 yrs Bullet and I lived in the AF had enough left over from their BAH to pay all of their utilities. We rent our home out at an AF base, and it is at the BAH rate. As renters those utilities are out of pocket.

    Credit cards:
    Even a min pmt of 100 bucks a month brings them down to 400.

    Now 100 dollars a week sounds great, he can invest 200 and have 200 left for fun money.

    True, but I just did an O1, not an E3. For him to have that life as an E3 he is now 700 bucks in the hole with no investment. Remember E3's make 1100 a month less than an O1.

    I think if he was hit with hard real numbers and not pretend world he may find motivation to pull up his grades.
     
  11. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    I agree with this. That 1.1 GPA will hold down his GPA his entire college career, which affects his participation in the school, in NROTC, and in the his Service Community Assignment in 3 years.
     
  12. Gojira

    Gojira Member

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    Exactly. Even knocking it out of the park for the remaining terms, they can go back and look at that first semester and use it against him saying that he hasn't always been up to standards.

    Plus - he may have even more difficult semesters ahead, depending upon his major.

    Taking a medical leave might be the best way with the concussion during midterms affecting his GPA. Theoretically, he could come back as a transfer in a year or two after building up a stronger GPA and I doubt that leaving now would be held against him.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would never suggest this method.

    I would take my child using our medical insurance and have it done privately to see if there was brain trauma.

    No. 1 priority is their health.

    IF a scan revealed an injury I would than approach them.

    The minute your child asks for a medical waiver is the minute they will start a DoDMERB review.

    If you apply for medical, they will start a medical file and that can equate into more issues. Lots of testing.

    Your child had a concussion, he was at college, take him to your doc and ask him to review the results. The clinic stated he had a concussion. Get a 2nd opinion before you jump.

    Be prepared if you use this he may be deemed medically DQ and will never serve one day in the military. They may say he can't serve, and now because you used it, and he was willing to go enlisted, he can't do either.

    Again, my position is if it was brain injury thank the Lord it was found. If it wasn't and he used it as an excuse to you for his grades, than by taking him to your doc he is still able to serve in the Navy. No harm. no foul.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  14. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    The problem is that the concussion occurred at least two months ago, in that it was at the time of midterms. There isn't a need to "prove" there was a concussion, at least not how I read the post.

    I don't agree with keeping it hush hush, just to not have a DODMERB issue. If there is an existing brain injury, no one (mother, cadet, Army) wants that person serving in harms way anyway. If there isn't a remaining injury there shouldn't be a problem getting a waiver.

    In my view, the 1.1 GPA hurts this officer candidate more than having a consussion on the record will.

    Giving this further thought, the cadet "announced" he wasn't returning. Maybe that's because he is embarrassed by the 1.1, or feels he has an impossible task in GPA repair. Maybe if the medical withdrawal were authorized, this cadet would be reenergized to pick himself up and outperform this upcoming semester. Who knows? I can't find any upside to keeping a semester of 1.1 GPA on the permanent record.. OK, clean the slate. If he doesn't clean the slate, that 1.1 GPA will follow him to his community college, and onward.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Let me stress this:

    I am opposed to keeping it hush hush. It will come out in the end. Call it now instead of wasting yrs hoping they won't find it.

    I am positive that I said No.1 priority is their health.

    I stated to go to their doc now and get a scan. The OP stated that the college health clinic diagnosed a concussion. Nothing in my post said Hush, Hush.

    Cadets and mids are not on Tri-Care, (military insurance). Cadets/Mids prior to commissioning will go through a more intense DoDMERB physical. DS AFROTC rated was flown to WPAFB for a 3 day physical. This concussion will be in their physical, and if they use it for an academic defense they will have opened a door for the docs.

    Budlow77 did not state types of tests given to their child.

    As far as the gpa dunninla I agree. 1.1 is an issue.

    My position is if you can prove it was medical, due to a concussion you officially claimed that you have brain trauma...DODMERB issue.

    Look, I love my kids and they try to BS us all the time.when they have problems. I am just stating go to your personal family doc and have it cleared not only to serve in the military, but to guarantee your child's health.

    Either it was medical and you can address it...including now asking for waivers! Or it wasn't medical, and all about traditional freshman, which you can address too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  16. Packer

    Packer Member

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    Say it ain't so! Our adorable children would never BS us loving parents.:rolleyes:
     
  17. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    :yllol: My son would never do that! :biggrin:
     
  18. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent Member

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    What - he might be BSing me....:eek:


    Honestly, OP, there isn't a good solution. I'm sure you already have, but no matter the GPA, the BS or the path he picks - hug the kid and tell him you love him, no matter what. Prayers for you family as you feel your way forward from this situation.
     

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