Firsties (and others): Would you do it again?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by fencersmother, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    OK, you've had the whole Academy experience... would you do it again? Would you have opted for AF ROTC? Would you have studied art history at NYU?

    Or, was it so great that you'd relive every moment?
     
  2. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Hi!

    YES. OH HECK YES!

    Now...at the risk of destroying what little ya'll think of me...

    It took me TWO attempts to get into USAFA. And once I was there, I excelled militarily! I was a fish in the right ocean! NEVER missed a question on a knowledge test, EVER. I was the "poster child of the 4.0 STRAC cadet!":worship:

    Academically...I spent 4 years at war with the Dean :hammer:. I went before an academic board for disenrollment and was retained ONLY because I had 3x the amount of "EI" (extra instruction) from the instructors as there were lessons in the semester! ALL FOUR YEARS were academic nightmares to me. :stretcher:

    But I graduated...and later went to graduate school where I "breezed by" with a 4.0. Thank you very much USAFA!

    The lifelong friends, the amazing opportunities while a cadet, the incredible "historical figures" I met and got to speak with at symposiums, etc., and so many more things.

    Yep, I would do it ALL over again. It'd still be VERY TOUGH and I'd get JUST as frustrated as I did then.

    But it was, and is, WELL worth it!:thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
    "DG"
    (did graduate)
     
  3. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    flieger, tell me how you really feel, ok? :shake:

    I am glad to hear that AFA was definitely the place for you! Such a great synopsis!
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hell; I just wish I was 18 years old again. :frown:

    You get past a certain age in your life where even the bad seems great, IF YOU COULD GO BACK and do it again.
     
  5. eagle36

    eagle36 USAFA Alumnus

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    do it again? no way. i'm done

    if you rewind the clock 1155 days, would i have gotten on the bus again? definetely.

    it's definetely been an interesting ride, and one with not so great moments. but on the same note, what i've learned from those experiences combined with the many GREAT momments and opportunities i've recieved, i know "I" made the right decision (although i believe it was more than me, but that's a faith discussion i won't get in to). I'm thrilled with the way things have turned out and although i feel like pulling my hair out right now with all the work i have to do and things i need to balance, i can't imagine myself anywhere else
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Wait until the FIRST day at your first duty assignment and some crusty Chief comes up and says: "Good morning Ell-Tee...what's on the agenda today?"

    It'll make USAFA seem easy in comparison!:thumb:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    In a word: YES!

    It's true that some days suck, but every once in a while the perspective hits you. When I go home, I see what a lot of my friends are doing, and I just cannot see myself enjoying that nearly as much. I have friends in AFROTC, and I've had many more opportunities to to amazing things with my time. Things are just more extreme around here, than where my friends are at. The bad days can really suck, but the good days are once in a lifetime (or never) for my friends.
     
  8. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Just to give a perspective to folks about "opportunities" and "things" that can happen while you're a cadet.

    I mentioned meeting historic figures while I was a cadet. Here's a smattering...

    Admiral Hyman Rickover
    General Sir John Hackett
    General Johannes Steinhoff
    General Gunther Rall
    General Walter Krupinski
    General Charles Yeager
    General Robinson Risner
    Colonel Bud Day
    Senator Barry Goldwater
    Mr. Bob Hope

    In 1981 I was an escort for the remaining members of the "WWI Overseas Fliers Association." I think it was their "final muster/reunion" and that was amazing! There wasn't a gent there younger than about 90...some were over 100 and ALL were quick to tell a story of their days as pilots and seemed fascinated by the academy and we cadets!

    Bob Hope was a great occasion. He came to USAFA and did a "USO Type Show" in Falcon Stadium my doolie year. Many of us volunteered to help out and he came up during the prep, setup, etc., to each of us and shook hands, took pictures, and said a kind word or two. A man of class!

    NONE of this would have happened at another school...well, similar things would have happened at the other SA's I'm sure but this is just a "little bit" of the 4 years...

    It's pretty amazing.

    So yeah, as I said before: I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  9. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Let's see...
    Meeting famous and interesting people
    Flying gliders and small aircraft
    "flying" a 500 million dollar satellite
    MOUT/chemgear/landnav/base setup training, etc
    visiting other countries
    Seeing the inside of an ICBM control center
    Visiting other AF bases
    Getting fighter rides
    Helping train new AF trainees and basic cadets

    ...having an awesome job lined up after graduation
    ...and getting paid to do all of this!
     
  10. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    A high school friend of my son's recently popped in for a visit. We hadn't seen him since Thanksgiving. So, he graduated from Penn State with an accounting degree. He is completely miserable at his job, though grateful to have it. When I asked him what were the highlights of his college career, he laughed and said it was "not once stepping in vomit on Friday night." I was mortified! Tim, asked I, wasn't there anything ANYTHING that stood out in four years at Happy Valley? Well, he had season tickets to the Nittany Lions games all four years, had a job in the cafeteria, then at a bar after he turned 21. He went to a couple "whacked" concerts (yeah, I'll bet), and went on a bus trip to New York City.
     
  11. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in here: this is my EXACT reasoning for pursuing the Air Force!!! I can't stand it when people say they hate their jobs. If you're going to do something for 20 or 30 years, make sure it's something you enjoy.
     
  12. luv2swim

    luv2swim Member

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    Making the most of your college opportunities

    fencersmother, this is a great topic you've started! :biggrin:

    I know that civilian schools have tons of terrific opportunities for their students, including (I'm sure!) Penn State. But, not all of the students take advantage of them. Many (most I wonder?) just go with the flow and don't seek study abroad opportunities or attend guest lectures, etc.

    The impression I'm getting is that at an SA, the flow is quite different. Could students/grads comment on what kind of guidance/encouragment you received to take advantage of the opportunities presented? How hard do you have to seek them out or are you selected/counseled to participate?
     
  13. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    My brother is at Penn State; he does not get involved and consequently isn't as happy there as his roommates. You get out of an experience what you put into it, whether it be at an academy, private university, or state college.
     
  14. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Yes, you need to work/volunteer to get the really good stuff at USAFA. That said, you can get a lot out of just about any program you get put into.

    From my list, here are things I've done in programs I was "stuck" in:
    "flying" a 500 million dollar satellite
    MOUT/chemgear/landnav/base setup training, etc
    visiting other countries
    Seeing the inside of an ICBM control center
    Helping train new AF trainees and basic cadets

    So, you can get AMAZINGLY GREAT programs by doing well and volunteering, or you can get great programs by doing almost nothing.
    NOTE: Sometimes the program, as a whole, isn't very interesting/exciting. You need to find what is great about it. For example, Space 251 was not my first choice for a summer program. I wasn't very happy about it, but I did get to see the Atlas rocket factory, how ICBM bases work, and arm a nuclear missile...but that was after the hours of boring briefings! You have to take the good with the bad, sometimes. FIND what is great. There are people here who HATE working as cadre for BCT, but you can get a heck of a lot of valuable experience from it.
     
  15. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    Just curious, what was your first choice?
     
  16. Drew_22

    Drew_22 USAFA Cadet

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    I agree!! Do something that you enjoy doing! Nothing that you dont, that is why I want to join the Air Force and hopefully becoming a pilot.
     
  17. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Soaring
     
  18. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    I would be estatic to take jump...
     
  19. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    Agree. I'm kind of a dissenting voice I suppose - given the opportunity for a redo, I'd probably go to a civilian school. SA types seem to have this perception that civilian students are all a bunch of nihlistic burnouts who do nothing but party, but as a ROTC grad Academy instructor once told me, "You can't get drunk and high every day for four years and get a mechanical engineering degree and a commission." It's all what you put into wherever you go, and in hindsight, I really haven't seen any particular advantage to a lot of the nonsense at an SA.
     
  20. GizmoQ

    GizmoQ New Member

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    My experience was much like Steve's, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. For me it started out as a game - role playing. Then classes started. I made the ultimate mistake of validating out of half my freshman classes which made academics seriously difficult. With what I know now, there are several things I would have done differently, but the experiences, knowledge and discipline I learned there could never have been achieved anywhere else.

    I too met many great leaders of our time (I worked the Bob Hope show, too) like Chappy James, Yeager, Risner, Ritchie, and so many more. I worked on programs that were leading edge technology. Flew gliders, Cesnas, and rode in fighters my friends back home could only dream about.

    I learned quickly that athletic tables and the radio station would keep me sane and warm. I could actually eat a meal at the athletic tables and learned more about the unwritten rules than my peers. It only took me a year from the day I started at the Academy radio station as a technician till I was in charge. Since I ran the Radio station, I didn't have to freeze at the football games cause someone had to be at the station for the broadcast. :shake: I had been a discjockey in high school so I helped design the Disco and ran that for 2 years, got the Academy to foot the bill on Class 2 licenses for all my radio operators and technicians, and even got a contract for the academy to get demo albums before they were released to the public.

    Then there was my cadet car. My contemporaries back home were running around in hoopties and I had a brand new Jaguar XJS. My sponsor let me keep it in his garage and use his tools for maintenance and "upgrades." Tinkering with it kept me out of a lot of trouble when I was a Firstie (I was already a Centurion by the end of my Junior year). It was like the interim reward for surviving so far.

    Sure there were hard times, but the ends justified the means. I was subject to strife, ridicule, and torture - and that was just the academics! Life was not easy. A great anecdote to summarize: My dad sent me a timely message my sophomore year. I had just returned to my room after a test I thought I failed; in walks the Superintendent, Lt Gen Ken Tallman, "I just talked to your Dad and he wanted me to remind you 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger'" and he walked back out before I could come to attention. What college president pays personal visits to their students?
     

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