Form 34

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mislead_cadet, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Mislead_cadet

    Mislead_cadet New Member

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    So I am currently a cadet that is in the process of leaving the academy. I don't know if I will get anywhere but I had a few questions.
    1. Has anybody ever heard of cadets taking a year away from the academy and coming back?
    2. Is there anybody who can shed some insight on if this is a mistake or not?
     
  2. Rage_14

    Rage_14 Member

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    I don't know what class you are, but assuming you are a doolie, I would strongly, strongly encourage you to finish the year and 34 this summer. There is a '17er that left halfway through when he was a freshman (he was originally in my c/o 2014) and had to start completely over when he came back. I know one guy (c/o 2015) who was a '14er and left for a one year mission and came back, so he should be graduating in a couple of months, so it is possible. People of the Mormon/LDS faith often do two year missions and come back.

    I don't know what is leading you to leave or decide that it is not for you, but I will tell you this, I would not give anything for the education, opportunities, and friends that USAFA gave the chance to have. It is invaluable to me, and even though I have only been AD for a little under a year, I can tell you that the Academy is nothing like the Academy. The Academy, while you do wear a uniform, have customs and courtesies, and march to lunch, is not the military. It is a university with a military leadership laboratory.

    I sincerely hope this helps you and maybe sheds a little light on this for you. Talk to your parents, the chaplin, friends, upperclassmen, MFLC, or anyone else before you sign it away. Also, feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I will answer them the best I can.
     
  3. Mislead_cadet

    Mislead_cadet New Member

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    That person who left when he was a freshman, did he form 34 or did he do something else? Also I am prior enlisted so i do have some sense of how the real air force is.
     
  4. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Honestly, only you will be able to answer if this is a mistake or not.

    What are the circumstances of wanting to leave? Have you decided the Academy isn't for you? Are you worried about academics?
    Are you a doolie & just fed up with all the training (especially now since it ratcheted up for Recognition?) If so, there's only 7 days left.
    Are you depressed and just need someone to talk to? Try PPC (the first 3 are off the record), speak to a chaplain or a PEER.

    If you're still wanting to leave, I suggest you finish out the semester so you have credits to transfer. Above all else, do not make this choice if you are angry or upset! Really think about your goals and if they don't align with what the Academy offers, then follow your heart. This is YOUR life. Be happy with your decisions.
     
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  5. Rage_14

    Rage_14 Member

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    He would have to done a Form 34. I don't think there is another way to leave. Even when you get the boot, I think that is what they use. Are you planning on going back to the enlisted side? I know for some, their contract runs out while they are at the Academy. I only ask because I had another friend who left right after BCT to go back to the enlisted side. He is still in. He actually pinned on SSgt and got back from a deployment as well not too long ago.

    Whatever you decide, I would tell you, make sure you have a plan for afterwards. Best of luck.
     
  6. Mislead_cadet

    Mislead_cadet New Member

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    I read your tag. I'm actually an 18'er in tiger ten so I'm pretty sure I know your child. But anyways. I have been seeing the PPC since like week 2 of basic. They really have helped. But I might try to go one more time to get clarity. It isn't the way of life that is being a doolie. I've been miserable here ever since I've been here. There are cadets here that are going through worse stuff than I am and I know they are happier than I am too. It's hard to explain and I can't always point out specifics on why I not happy, but it's really hard being 22 here while giving up a life outside of here to come here and be treated worse than you ever have been before. I feel this place doesn't train people properly for becoming officers and I have a hard time accepting a lot of stuff that goes one here.

    Also I do plan to go back to being enlisted. At the end of the year I would actually be able to pin on SSgt and continue on. I also plan to do ROTC as well. It's not like I don't have options. It's just I know what this place does for careers and I think I'm having a hard time with that.
     
  7. Rage_14

    Rage_14 Member

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    Well, I'm glad that you have a plan. I'd still encourage you to finish the semester to get the credits. It will help you when you decide to do ROTC. If you don't mind me asking, what was your AFSC before you came to the Academy?
     
  8. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    If you plan on continuing your college education, I would strongly suggest finishing out this academic semester. You are already half way done with the semester, so with all that effort put in, it would be a shame to waste it. Besides, the more credits that transfer, the less time and cost (personal as well as financial) to complete your degree at another college. It would also indicate a commitment to finish/complete things before moving on.

    Is there a prior enlisted club (hate to call it a support group because of all the negative stereo typing of "support groups")? One which assists priors in dealing with academy "stuff" and which can also advocate for change? A change that would improve the leadership development and reduce cynicism. There is a world of experience and knowledge that the priors could put to use. I have heard the superintendent is attempting to change things for the better and combat cynicism. If there isn't one, maybe you can start one.

    I realize the form 34 of the 2018 class president didn't help inspire others to stay, especially when he sited cultural issues as a reason for leaving. He too was a prior enlisted who was tired of the culture and had other options. I have no idea what personal "battles" he fought. He did what was best for him. What I do know is that it did get some cadets wondering (priors and direct from high school) about other options. Is part of your doubt based upon his leaving? If he hadn't left, would you feel as you do? I know it can be difficult to continue on the same path when others are taking forks in the road.

    Do you know why other priors stuck with it? What the "pros" were that made it worth it?

    This is a decision only you can make. Good luck on whatever path you choose to walk.
     
  9. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Oh! Then I have a pretty good idea who you are. :) My DD has a lot of respect for you, btw. She's spoken of you. I do understand that the age difference can make it more difficult. However, I want to pass something on to you because I'm sure you've never heard this - my DD has commented how she & others look to you to see what "real AF" is like. Your maturity helps some of the younger ones stay grounded. You play a role that you may not even be aware of. The respect is real, just unsaid. Let's face it, some of these kids need to work on social skills - haha!

    DD's had problems with homesickness and injuries (you can ask her about some of her other challenges). Others may look like they're happier/have an easier time, but they just hide it better. Everyone has periods/semesters/years when you just think you've had enough. The Academy is tough - emotionally, physically, mentally. But with great pain comes great rewards. Those upperclassmen who don't show good leadership are the examples of what NOT to do. Learn from that. THEY certainly will once they graduate because those antics will NOT be tolerated. Hey - that's something to look forward to. Haha!

    Right now, as a doolie, you have so very little control over your life -- something you're not used to. In a week, that all changes. I'm not saying things will become roses and rainbows, but you'll take on another role. Stick it out for the rest of the year. I'd even say, stay through summer so you can experience that as well. You have much more influence than you think -- influence to help the younger "kids", influence to effect change in squad. Hang around positive people (sitting with grumblers will only make you a grumbler.) Attitude really does affect mood.


    Having said all that - the final decision is yours and yours alone. You need to do what makes you happy.
    Ask yourself:
    Will you be happy going back to the enlisted ranks?
    Will you be ok with the decision to leave?
    What are your goals?

    By the way - my dad started in the enlisted ranks. He eventually went through OCS and became an officer. He told my DD that it doesn't matter which route you take, they all have "games that must be played." Tradition doesn't make sense sometimes, but its done & becomes something you talk/laugh about in your old age with your buddies.
     
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  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I will echo others on the academic semester - best to finish it out even if it means sticking around unhappy for a couple months. Two months more of suck is worth the value of the credits when you continue on at a civilian school (if you choose to do so).

    Realize that the officer world, the politics and behavior, is not so different from what you see at USAFA. The freshman experience can be jading in what you see, but not all of that goes away as an officer. A large part of the reason I separated early from the Air Force was due to my experiences in the politics of being an officer. Some can navigate that well, others cannot (like me). USAFA may not provide the officer training program you think it should, but ROTC and OTS won't change things once you are active duty. Feel free to PM me if you would like to continue the conversation in private.

    In short: I think you are helping yourself more by finishing the academic year and then making your decision. You are jaded from the USAFA experience but many of the things you dislike will continue on as an officer (but many won't). Good luck in your decision and I hope whatever choice you make is the best route for your future.

    Also - Huzzah from an old 2010 Tiger 10 graduate. My old room mate (and best friend) was walking the halls and at lunch during NCLS last week if you met a tall, skinny C-130 pilot who was a 2010 grad with an abominably long last name.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hornet and others have posted so accurately the situation. In your case, most definitely finish out the semester.

    I just wish many of those applying would read this and similar posts. I don't care "How Long you've always dreamed of this", the academy and the military will not be what you dreamed about for the last 5 or 10 years. And when you graduate the academy and move on to the "Real" air force, it too won't be what you thought it was going to be.

    Those who do best, or have it easier, seem to be those that have no idea of what they're getting into; and they admit it to themselves from the beginning. There's no expectations. This way there's no disappointment, second guessing, etc. They simply take it for what it is and decide whether it's something they can do and live with or not. The other group that tends to do well are the Brats. Not because they are use to the military attitude and upbringing, but because they know that the military is always in a state of flux and that the politics involved will dictate a certain attitude. Basically, they already know the good side, but they are aware of what really sucks about it too.

    Don't get me wrong. I love the air force. I wouldn't have traded my 21 years under any circumstance. There are so many positives about being a part of it, and being an academy grad and officer. Simply saying to all those that "Dreamed of this their whole life", and those who think they have a foot up because they were in JrROTC, CAP, Boy Scouts, etc... throw ALL of that out of your head before applying, accepting, and going to the academy. JrROTC is NOT similar to the academy and the air force. Neither is CAP, Scouts, or anything else. It also doesn't matter how long you've dreamed and wanted this. The air force, academy, and military is not the same as it was when you were dreaming of this years ago.

    If you apply, receive, and accept an appointment to the academy, simply accept the fact that it is not and will not be the same military that you dreamed of or think you have knowledge of. If you're a brat, I'm sure your parents have told you a number of times how the military is always changing. They mention the politics. It all comes down to being similar to being the new kid at school or to the neighborhood. You'll have a lot of people telling you who's cool, who's not, who's bad, etc... You have to make up your own mind and develop your own impressions of the academy and military. If you don't go in with any preconceived perceptions, you'll do much better. Same with any job, town, school, or person. Walk in with an open mind and make your own opinions. If it's right for you, continue on. If it's not, then move on. No harm, no foul. I've said it many times. It never bothers me when a cadet goes to the academy, gives it a serious try, and decides it's not for them. That's cool. Just warning those who aren't in yet..... go in with an open mind and decide for yourself. Don't go in thinking you know what the academy and military is all about, simply because it's something you've always wanted or because you were in JrROTC, CAP, or scouts; or you were a Brat. You won't know until you get there. Make your own decision.
     
  12. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I wanted to clarify some things that I said. Don't get me wrong. If you want to be a SSgt (and beyond), then go for it! I have the utmost respect for NCOs and what they do. Officers do deal with the politics, management, Congress, etc. They have NCOs right by their side doing the heavy lifting. Look at Gen Johnson's staff. She makes the decisions, but she depends on her staff to implement. Which part of that interests you? Some love it, some hate it.

    My brother decided to stay in the enlisted ranks and go the NCO route. He was happy with that decision. He's a do-er. That's who he is. He had the same opportunity you have but it wasn't for him. I respect his decision (like he really cared what his sister thought! Ha!)

    Don't stay for anyone but yourself. No one judges you on this - no one. This is your life. If you decide to leave, have a plan. Keep talking to people to help clarify in your mind what it is YOU want from life. Not what someone else expects.
     
  13. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Mislead_Cadet,

    To spite your avatar name, if you are here asking about this then it means at least some part of you still wants to stay. So let me offer you a piece of advice I've found crucial in my life...

    Always make sure you are running TOWARDS something, not just AWAY from something.

    If there is truly something else out there that is a better path for you, then you deserve to pursue it. But all too often we make decisions based on moving away from something and fall into the trap of rationalizing that anything has to be better than what we are going through right now.

    The SA's are hard; I would think in some ways perhaps more so for priors in the first year at least. I heard it explained this way - You spend the first year learning how to follow, so you can spend the next three learning how to lead. As a prior, you've already learned some of the lessons of the first year so it can seem especially futile to repeat them. But now you are mere days away (literally!) from Recognition; that marks the end of that first phase for the most part. Soon your life changes in fairly significant ways and you may be surprised how your outlook changes with that.

    Bottom Line.... Stay the week at least. Then after the pressure is off following Recognition, take Spring Break to think with a clear head and decide if there is truly something that is a better path for you to run towards. For everything you've accomplished so far, you owe yourself that at least.
     
  14. Momof4

    Momof4 Member

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    I read the forums a few times a day. I read this before I left for work this morning, and have been thinking about your post all day. I know you are not looking for sympathy, but as a mother who has a son that is awaiting to see if he is "good enough" to join the ranks of the best of the best, I have a pit in my stomach. As Christcorp has so wisely advised, many of those applying should read this post. You must be going through a truly horrific time, if you are considering leaving before the semester is over. As someone mentioned, they break you down, to make you a good leader, maybe if you keep telling yourself that, it can help you get through to next week, and maybe the week after, and who knows, maybe you will have the clarity to know which decision is best for you!!! Good Luck, and always remember, there's a solution to every problem, and things happen for a reason......
     
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  15. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    Again... only you know if this is the right path for you or not. The grass isn't always greener (I've learned this at the Academy and also as an Lt). Up to you if you want to suck it up and deal with the temporary misery for a solid future or pursue another path that may also lead to a solid future. What are your plans? You are an adult and don't need a bunch of strangers telling you what to do. Some harsh words and tough love, but that's the reality of it. Remember... it could always be worse and there's plenty of E's that would love to be in your shoes right now. Just some things to think about.

    Nobody cares about your future/career more than you do. (Some of the best advice I've gotten so far)

    *Also, freshmen year by no means dictates how the rest of your USAFA career would go... it is only one phase of it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  16. Invisibility

    Invisibility Member

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    Plenty of people leave and CAN come back. Apparently it's not even that difficult to do (assuming you weren't kicked out) because so few after a year away actually reapply. That said, you do have to reapply--there are no guarantees.

    I think a lot of people have given good advice, so I won't add much. I don't know what your life goals are, but we need people who disagree with things the Academy does to stay here and try to fix it. That may not be a road you're willing to take, but at least consider it. Also, regardless, you should finish out freshman year and get those credits. Halfway through the semester!
     
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  17. EagleDriver

    EagleDriver Member

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    :shake:
    Finish the year...go to the summer session...your best years at USAFA are ahead of you...you will be in leadership roles...take your experiences as an Enlisted and help "shape" properly of what Officers should be. As for being "older" :sleep: My DS is a soon to be a 24 yr old C1C...he is a Returned Missionary (LDS Church) originally c/0 2013. he has adjusted and accepted the fact along with other RMs back at USAFA that they are older and wiser. He enjoys the leadership roles he's taken since he returned to USAFA. When you become a O-3...no one will really care or know how old you are anyway or how long you've been in the service.:shake:

    My question to you is: what did you expect when you applied to USAFA and going through all the process to get in etc..and now you want to get out? Did you not realize that you will be older and should be wiser etc? Why do you feel you're "mislead" ?
    It just seem odd that you would want to leave at this point of the academic year. And if you do leave and go back to the enlisted ranks etc...get commissioned via ROTC route etc...I wonder what your thoughts/opinions are of USAFA graduates since you feel that " I feel this place doesn't train people properly for becoming officers and I have a hard time accepting a lot of stuff that goes one here.[/QUOTE]

    You're going to find if not already...that there's some things in life you don't agree etc...so instead of making excuses etc...why not be in position sooner or later to try "change for the better"? And if quitting USAFA now is for the better for you instead of being in the system and working from the inside to make it better for yourself and others, than so be it. I sincerely wish you the best in whatever path you take in the future.
     
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  18. batmom

    batmom Member

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    My biggest hope for you is that you will go through "Recognition" and finish this semester. Everyone will tell you that your "life" after "Recognition" will be substantially different. Also, Spring Break will give you a chance to breathe, relax and re-group. You are less than 12 weeks away from finishing this scholastic year...so go ahead and finish. Then, I would also see what your summer is like, and then make your decision. This decision will have an impact (either way) for the remainder of your life, so please consider waiting a few more weeks before you consider departing. I truly don't think you will regret the decision to stay for 12 more weeks, but you might forever regret the decision to leave now...with the school year nearly over. Only you can make this decision, but my assumption is that your past experience will be an enormous asset in the years to come. Clearly, they selected you because you have an enormous amount of skill, talent, commitment, perseverance, intelligence and leadership aptitude. Whether or not you return to your prior job, you will probably not have the chance for a "do-over" at the academy. My suggestion is "stick it out until this summer" and then decide. You may see things very differently in the span of a few (12-14) weeks... My best to you and I (like many on this forum) have a cadet that I am sure would be happy to chat with you one-on-one.
     
  19. Midwest

    Midwest Member

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    Misled - My dad served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam in 1963. While he was stationed in Germany during the 50's, he said the transition from being enlisted to becoming an Army Officer was harder than serving in combat. Said he felt like he was caught in a no man's land and felt very conflicted, plus very lonely as he lost his enlisted friends and had no officer friends. However, when he got to the next duty station, life did improve and he went on to have a very successful military career.

    Perhaps you are experiencing some of the same challenges. Becoming a leader is a chance to get shot at; hang in there and dodge the bullets. You will make it. Hope this helps.
     
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  20. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    FINISH THE SEMESTER. STAY FOR THE SUMMER.

    Are you thinking that being an NCO is a better option for your future than being a commissioned officer? Certainly NOT better, long term, for your wallet, but perhaps you are thinking that you don't want to "play the game" any more? Especially since you are older? I can understand that emotion, but I think you've left out what's really bothering you, especially since you say you have ROTC in your back pocket. You want more fun? Wait a couple weeks. And soon enough, you'll have either your own car or access to your superiors' vehicles.

    The Air Force considered you "good enough" to take a chance on you. Do you think after months of looking over your stats that they decided incorrectly?

    About taking time off, yes, Catholic and LDS students have done this, but there is a long re-application process, so be prepared for that. (My sons' friend went for two years on a mission to central America, came back and finished up - lots of paper work but he's happy)
     

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