Going in with a (slightly)reserved attitude

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by MABlue, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    Back in January, I received an appointment to USNA. As expected I was in shock at first, then after I came back down to earth and after much personal deliberation, I have decided to accept the offer of appointment. I am certainly enthused that I have been appointed, and i'm also completely sure about accepting the offer, however I have a question. Is it ok to go into USNA with a determination to succeed, but also somewhat reserved attitude? I am completely willing to put in all the hard work, and have the desire to be a Naval officer, however I am not quite as "Gung Ho" as many other people I see on here. I am hoping some current and former Midshipmen could comment on this. Have you been or seen people who don't go in completely gung ho about USNA succeed and thrive?
     
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  2. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    Define 'gung ho'? I bet my definition is different from yours.

    ....it is certainly a relative term, IMHO.

    I don't think you need to fit some certain 'state of mind' other than you want to be a good to be a Naval officer and you are "going in with your eyes wide open".
     
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  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Your motivation and level of enthusiasm are your own. As long as you are clear on your reasons for going, understand the service obligation, just attack the challenge in your own way. There is a wide range of "hardcoreness," across the Brigade, across the Fleet and Corps. People approach new challenges with a variety of demeanors.

    Once there, you will have your highs and lows in your attitude. Either you will be crazy with joy and pride tossing your cover in the air in late May, 2020, or you won't, and just be "okay, then, let's get on with it."

    Be yourself, do your best, be positive - an approach that works well throughout your life.

    Congratulations on your appointment.
     
  4. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

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    Well said, Capt MJ.!!
     
  5. farmgirl1776

    farmgirl1776 Member

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    What is your Myers Briggs type? My son is an ISTP, and "gung ho" for him is not noticeable on the outside. He's really laid back and funny, kinda opposite of Top Gun or a stereotypical type A officer. He's still waiting on an appointment, but I think what you're noticing is that those guys -- like my son -- are not on forums. He's out skateboarding, not plotting his future on the internet. (That is not a critique either way of personalities-- obviously I'm here as a Type A mom -- just an observation that guys like you probably aren't on internet forums. Or they are, but they don't comment.)
     
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  6. USNA89

    USNA89 Member

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    Being reserved is ok. The guys and gals that are "gung ho" would do well to be more reserved! As long as you know what you are getting into (i.e. 4 tough years by the Severn followed by at least 5 years in the Nav) you'll be fine. Also, don't let "being reserved" turn into "having regrets" or second guessing yourself. You've made a great decision that will benefit you in many ways for the rest of your life.

    Congratulations on your appointment to the finest school in the country (imho).

    Go Navy!
     
  7. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    Last year when my DD was a junior, she went on a CVW. Her Plebe was terrible - had gotten a rare chance to have leave and so left my DD alone in the dorm room with a stack of magazines. For hours! (She did not return until midnight, after DD was asleep. My DD actually never saw her again, it was a roommate that returned her to us the next day.)

    Both the other roommates were miserable and were leaving USNA at the end of the semester, and they both said they never really wanted USNA but were pushed to apply by parents/others. They told my DD how much they hated it there, it was too hard and not what they expected at all.

    Luckily my DD found some other mids that were more than happy to actually show her around and DD ended up having a great CVW despite her Plebe and the roommates. Granted, this CVW was during the Dark Ages of February and it was the coldest weather in Annapolis history that weekend. I have no idea if those Plebes did actually separate, maybe spring finally arrived and they changed their minds and maybe right now they're thriving & happy 3c's. I'll never know.

    But your post reminds me of those Plebes, and how sad and unhappy they were. Could you succeed if your heart isn't entirely gung ho? Probably. But I suspect your heart needs to be in it or you will not be happy....and if you're not happy with what you're doing then it isn't exactly a success, ya know?
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    As long as you are going to USNA to learn and develop as an officer as your own decision (not your parents, teachers, coach, etc) then you will be fine. Yes, it can come across on these boards, other boards, meet and greets that everyone is so "gung ho" and ready to serve 20 years. For those of us who have commissioned either through USNA or another source, we know that alot of that is youthful ambition and love to see it, but we know the reality of living this life. USNA is a grind. Its a long, fun, hard, weird 4 years. Active Duty is the same way, but it is almost harder as life is more complicated as an officer. Throw in a spouse, kids and the complexity of caring, feeding and everything that comes along with a family while one parent is away for 8 months in a year, moving to a foreign country, or working shifting work, it is hard. I was a very laid back kid from the beach in Cali. I probably didn't show that "gung ho" outwardly either. If you are like me you are probably a little more quiet and reserved, listening, processing info. That is not a bad thing and can actually serve you quiet well. As long as you are there for you first and foremost, you are fine.
     
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I think gung ho can be mistaken for actual heart. They aren't one and the same. The biggest gung ho guy I had in my unit pissed himself the first time we took incoming rounds. The quiet guys might not stand out as much, but man they can be amazing when the time comes. It isn't being outwardly gung ho that matters. Its about going to USNA because its your decision alone, not mom and dads or anyone else's. It why I am so insistent that every aspect of this process be owned by a candidate. And when I say own it, it means every piece of paper and phone call should be done by a candidate (doesn't mean Mom and Dad can't help mentor and guide). I have seen so many Mids come from small towns and be the hometown hero being accepted. Some can't handle it and don't know how to back out of something they don't want. They are miserable at USNA and end up leaving. If you heart is in learning, educating yourself, surrounding yourself with like-minded folks, to become a Naval Officer, you will be fine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  10. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    Very true NavyHoops, there is a difference between the two. My take on the OP was more about heart.
     
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Very true. There are personality types that gravitate to various warfare specialties, though there is a good mix. Good broad examples are extroverts going naval air and wanting jets, and introverts going subs. There are successful leadership styles rooted in all personality types. Being flexible enough to adapt to the situation at hand is the key to success.
     
  12. MABlue

    MABlue Member

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    @NavyHoops Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate the insight. I am an extrovert(at least according to Myers-Briggs test). My heart is definitely into it. Also, even considering USNA was only my decision. Parents had nothing to do with it, and I don't have a single family member in the military. In fact, my parents didn't know I was even considering USNA until the official candidate package came in the mail last spring. I was just worried because it seemed that the vast majority of appointees, especially the ones on the facebook page, seem super loud and gung ho about serving 20 years, whereas I have no clue about if I would want to serve after the 5 years post graduation. All I know is that I definitely want to attend USNA and become a Naval officer, and i'm committed to doing so.
     
  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    MABlue you will be totally fine then. No one knows if they will serve 5 or 30. Most will serve somewhere in between there. Take it one day at a time and really just keep yourself open to the opportunities that are presented to you. Life at 17 looks incredibly simple. It is supposed to be, nothing wrong with that. Life as a 22 year old in flight school living with your buddy and no spouse. Pretty simple also. A 28 year old with a spouse, a 1 year old and deciding if you should take the Dept Head bonus with orders to Japan is a different story. Your wife doesn't want to move, but the bonus money is great and you would like to make it a career. You are are a 30 year old pilot reaching the end of your commitment with a chance to go to grad school, but then head back to the fleet. All scenarios that you could face that make the 17 year old vision of life much more complicated than serving 20 or 30 years. Everyone has their doubts right now if they can make it, is it the right move, etc. Most keep it to themselves. Nothing wrong with that.
     
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  14. usnagrad1988

    usnagrad1988 Member

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    I concur with many thoughts. I saw some who showed up "gung ho" Plebe summer and changed over the 4 years and others, possibly like me, who came for probably the wrong reasons and it grew on me. I had never heard of the Naval Academy until my Senior year and was recruited for football. I was offered NAPS and went into it thinking of it as my "red shirt" year and then I'd get to play Div One ball and get a free education. My parents certainly couldn't afford to send me to college. Over time the entire officer program experience grew on me and I became "gung ho." At least I wasn't as bad as another plebe ball player (who later quit). We were on the practice field resting and had a few minutes to reflect. He told me, "No one ever told me I had to wear a uniform all the time." I responded, "Wow, who recruited you?"
     
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  15. Row2020

    Row2020 Member

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    @MABlue I am so happy for you and I am glad that you posted this. If you are thinking this way then someone else probably is too. I am sure that you are happy to have these tough choices to make but choosing curtain A, B, or C is always hard. This is an exciting time of life but transitions are always full of "what ifs?" Wishing you all the best! (this post was also a nice break from the "pete and repeat were on a boat" posts - sheesh! SMH)
     
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  16. truenorth

    truenorth Member

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    I am not in the military and have never served. I am in business with a DS who aspires to USNA.

    I concur with NavyHoops' observations about how one's perspectives and priorities evolve over various life stages. That is true regardless of the career one pursues in life. There are always trade offs, weighing of priorities, and self-reflection.

    If I may offer some life nugget advice: just be true to yourself. If you are, and do so consistently, you will have a happy and fulfilled life. The fact that you demonstrate this level of self awareness at 18 suggests to me that you will be just fine, gung ho or not.

    Congratulations on your appointment, and thank you for your desire to serve our Nation.
     
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  17. farmgirl1776

    farmgirl1776 Member

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    ^^^ I was going to say the same thing about the original poster's self-awareness at age 17-18. Self-aware people tend to do well in life no matter what path they choose...
     
  18. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    Congrats on your appointment. Like everyone says "hung-ho" is relative. Be yourself and chart your own course through the academy, not someone else's. You will get out if the academy what you put into it. Enjoy your last few months of HS.
     
  19. Coach62

    Coach62 Member

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    I'll go out on a limb here. I seriously doubt you're the only 18ish year old that doesn't know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. . You'll be fine as long as you keep a good attitude.

    I'd say you'd be a tad abnormal if you didn't have at least a touch of a "am I doing the right thing?" Moment on occasion. Now if it's a predominant train of thought, that may be different. You're young and making a huge decision. Honestly, I'd say a moment of questioning is perfectly normal.

    I didn't serve in the military, but did become a full time fireman, I had the same moments, but loved it and wouldn't trade it for anything.

    Best wishes. I'll see you there on I-day most likely.
     
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  20. ahs67

    ahs67 Member

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    My son was a little fearful that he maybe wasn't gung-ho enough for USNA either. He's 3rd class now and seems pretty happy with his decision, but I know he sat on that appointment for months before he decided. He did an ncaa visit kind of late in the process but it was then he realized that USNA does not ask you to necessarily check your personality at the door. There were all kinds there. He was more laid back or introverted going in and he's still that way.
     

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