I don't know if the military is for me

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by LittleFox, Sep 24, 2016.

Tags:
?

Is the military for me? If so, which academy?

  1. USNA

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. USAFA

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Military life isn't for you

    10 vote(s)
    83.3%
  1. LittleFox

    LittleFox New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, I suppose a quick introduction is due. I'm a female in my sophomore year of high school and recently I've been seriously considering the military/academies. High school has been tough because I feel like the majority of my time is being wasted in class, but I've pulled in the A's for freshman year (I wasn't sure whether this was important or not).

    Anyways, I've always had an acute awareness of my own mortality making me want to do something with my short life. While it may sound contradictory to joining the military (I think?), I feel that if I join, I will gain even more appreciation of life, and that it will give me a sense of fulfillment. I would be serving my country, but more of important, serving the people. I was looking into the Navy or Air Force (mainly Navy) because I would like to become a pilot. However, I'm only 5'2" (1" too short).

    I don't really know what to do with my life, and I was hoping that perhaps the military would bring some structure into it, set me up well for a good future. I do know I want to travel and see the world (influenced me to want to fly/pilot). Graduating with a good education and debt free is always a plus.

    (Possibly relevant) Side Notes:
    Biggest fear of joining (assuming I can even get in), death. Over the past two years or so, I've tried to confront this fear death (not dying ~ death ) I've managed to (sort of) make peace, but yeah, it's still something that weighs heavy.

    I'm also worried that I may end up finding out the military life isn't for me and being stuck (if I understand correctly, I will be 27 years old once the contract is up)

    I can follow orders easily, but struggle to not despise it if I either a) don't know why I'm doing this b) don't agree with the reason (in other words, I can follow orders, but I have a "curious/skeptical" mind)

    If not the military, I'm not quite sure if I would go to a "good college" ~ I really don't want to be paying off student loan debts in my 30s, so if I end up not going to a military academy, I would most likely try to get a good ride (i.e only pay for boarding) to a mediocre college.

    *A very good friend went to West Point and she has graduated successfully. Currently I have a sibling who just began her West Point journey (first year cadet). My family is not a military family (to be honest, my parents disapprove.)

    I want to get the most out of life; will the military be a good place to begin?
     
  2. MABlue

    MABlue Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    203
    Likes Received:
    118
    At a service academy you are not contractually bound and financially liable for your education until the beginning of you 2nd class(junior) year. The purpose of this is to give mids/cadets 2 year to really decide if the military is for them. You could voluntarily leave at any time during the first 2 years with no penalty, and some college education under your belt.
     
    LittleFox likes this.
  3. NavyJax

    NavyJax Member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    23
    Now is the time you are going to be asking yourself these life questions. What you need to do is to keep the grades up so that all your options are available to you. First, there are some great civilian universities/colleges - just because they are not service academies, that does not mean you won't get a top notch education. You need to make a Plan A, B, and C at a minimum. From your above post, Plan A sounds like a service academy (USNA?), You can have Plan A1 (USNA) and A2 (USAFA), or any of the service academies. The key is to do research now on the different services from a primary source. Try to gather enough information on all the services. If you don't end up going to a military academy but still want to serve, you should research ROTC, which is another path, with future military service, after college for your possible plan B.
     
    Avenger, shock-n-awe and LittleFox like this.
  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,670
    Likes Received:
    814
    I suggest you broaden your net. Investigate the Peace Corps, clergy, non-profit service organizations, missionary work, etc.
     
    LittleFox likes this.
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,370
    Likes Received:
    1,840
    There is the Public Health Service. It's a uniformed service, but not armed. A wide variety of career fields, most definitely a service career, with dedicated professionals.

    http://www.usphs.gov/student/

    If your focus is service, start developing categories to research, such as military, non-profits, the ones mentioned above. Focus on the career and lifestyle after the college part, to see what resonates. Then, work backwards to determine a path right for you.

    A sister of a USNA mid we sponsored majored in Economics at a state university, did a Peace Corps stint in a 'stan country (can't recall), got a job at a prestigious foreign aid non-profit in DC as a grant writer. She was a top-of-class private schooler with great all-around stats, but didn't want to saddle herself with a lot of college debt. She is working on her Master's in non-profit management in a hybrid class/offline program, on a grant. She is very happy with her path, feels like she is serving and growing professionally. Her older sister is a Marine pilot, also very happy in her path, but living a very different life.

    There are many ways to experience a full life. It's all in how you define it for yourself.
     
    Avenger and LittleFox like this.
  6. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,059
    Likes Received:
    270
    Not sure there is any value in surveying others to indicate which path you should follow.

    Good to remember that you are NOT guaranteed your first choice of service selection, so have to consider how your would value your military experience if NOT able to become a pilot.

    Talking to those currently at an SA is a good place to gather input, read the official information posted on their websites and visit any college you seriously plan to consider. Sounded like you have a brother/sister currently at WP who can also be a good resource.
     
    coachkarl, LittleFox and murfthesurf like this.
  7. murfthesurf

    murfthesurf DS - USNA 2020

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    Messages:
    570
    Likes Received:
    622
    Like you suggested, 'serving' means it is more than just you.

    Look carefully at the US Coast Guard Academy.
     
    KP2020Dad, nodiva and LittleFox like this.
  8. LittleFox

    LittleFox New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for your reply ~ I looked into ROTC, and it definitely has me intrigued, although a little bit confused. If I understand correctly, ROTC would have me go to a normal college, while on the side training for the military? ( the service afterwards would be roughly the same? )

    Thank you for your reply ~ Very wise advice, I think I had a very tunneled/narrow vision before reading all these responses. I looked into Peace Corps ~ definitely something I want to do, unfortunately (but understandably) it would have to be after college.

    Thank you for your reply ~ definitely gave me a clearer focus on what I want to do. Made me realize that I do want to serve (with purpose), but not strictly in the military. Will be reading more into USPHS. To clarify @Capt MJ, one sister was a Marine and the other was a civilian?

    I never really looked too far into the Coast Guard Academy (I think I was so set on flying...may have blindsided myself) but it definitely seems more catered to my "goals/life" after college.

    Thank you all for taking time out to help me.
     
  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,370
    Likes Received:
    1,840
    Yes. Elder attended USNA and became a Marine pilot. Younger said, military not for me, worked hard to get scholarships and went to state u, then Peace Corps, now working full-time as well as earning Master's. Both had outstanding academic, athletic and leadership stats and attended a rigorous private school, but not because their parents were wealthy. One parent was a school employee, so no tuition was part of compensation.

    Do your research on colleges. Many state/public ones are "good" too.
     
  10. rjb

    rjb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2014
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    35
    Aviation is certainly an option at the USCGA, both rotary and fixed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  11. che527

    che527 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2016
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    7
    I am in the same position as you. I am a high school junior, and even though I have decided on USNA as my top school choice, I tend to think of those questions when it comes to mind. Life is short, and trust me, you would want to be doing something that fulfills it, not waste it. Also ask yourself this question: Imagine yourself 5 years from now, what would you be doing? Would you be enjoying what you're doing?
    Although all service academies are free tuition, do not make that as your main reason to apply. That is still something that can affect your decision entirely.
    I wish you good luck on whatever you decide to do. Make sure it is something that YOU want to do. Not for anybody else.
     
  12. RadDad6337

    RadDad6337 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I second the advice of che527. I just heard a talk from the USNA Superintendent that the number one reason that plebes drop out is because they were doing it for someone else. Be sure you want to do whatever you choose because you have the fire and desire for it.
     
  13. GrilledCheese94

    GrilledCheese94 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    44
    Please do not apply to the Service Academies if you do not see yourself as a leader in the profession of arms.

    There are plenty of awesome opportunities available, including commissioning options in all of the uniformed services, should you be looking for something outside of the profession of arms.

    The service academies were founded to provide line officers whose primary focus is to lead our nation in times of war.

    You sound like an extremely focused and self-aware young adult, qualities that are often lacking in this day and age. I wish I had that level of maturity the first time I sought information regarding our service academies.

    I wish you nothing but the best in wisdom and counsel as you pursue your options.

    S/F,
    Grilled Cheese
     
  14. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    582
    Likes Received:
    346
    A sibling that attends... obviously was successful through the application, interviews, and appointment stages, and you're asking strangers for advice?

    Tell us more about tourself. Do you think your preparation has made you attractive to the academies so far? What did you learn from your brother''s journey to be appointed?
     
  15. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,807
    Likes Received:
    444
    Many kids end up at SA not embracing the concept of service to the nation. By graduation, most cadets/midshipmen embrace/internalized the concept. So if you are looking at SA for great education and no tuition and see the military service as a means to "travel and see the world," you will get your wish. However, the military might send you to places you don't want to visit. My case - the desert of Kuwait, Korea, Bosnia, and Iraq.

    It matters because when you face a situation at a SA that make you wonder what I am doing here and you will, the concept of service to the nation will keep you there.
     
    AROTC-dad likes this.
  16. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,370
    Likes Received:
    1,840
    True, true and true, regardless of commissioning source.
     
  17. Alaskan

    Alaskan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2016
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    45
    "The only thing to fear is fear itself", you only go around once!
     
  18. GrilledCheese94

    GrilledCheese94 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    44
    I say again...

    If you do not want to to be a warrior leader in the military, ready and willing to engage in armed combat as an unrestricted officer of the line (USN & USMC), please do not apply to the Service Academies.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    Messages:
    8,759
    Likes Received:
    1,011
    USMMA would be a decent alternative.
     
    KP2020Dad likes this.
  20. Brawny77

    Brawny77 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    391
    2 or 3 years ago I would never have guessed my DS would be at USNA. I thought he would be in a hammock on some beach playing a ukulele and renting out dive tanks. But he changed. He got way more motivated after his older brother left for college. He retains his laid back side but has absolutely excelled at the academy. He now has a sense of purpose about him. I remember his first phone call home about 2-3 weeks into plebe summer. He was talking about a few who had decided to quit. He said "you will never hear the words I quit come out of my mouth as long as I am here". That was when I really noticed a resolve in him that I had only had glimpses of during high school. USNA was developing that side of him. He also was so impressed by his fellow plebes. He said "I am surrounded by the most amazing people". I don't know if this helps you or not but for some people it is an amazing place and opportunity but if it isn't for you decide before the selection process ends because there will be many others who really really want your spot.
     
    Avenger and AROTC-dad like this.

Share This Page