I Need Some Advice

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usnaclassof15, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. usnaclassof15

    usnaclassof15 New Member

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    I'm currently a 4/c midshipman at USNA and after about a month into the academic year, I began to realize that the Naval Academy isn't really for me. When I was in high school, I was so passionate about applying to the academy and there was nothing that had ever made me happier than when I received the appointment. Now that I've arrived at my supposed "goal," I'm really confused whether I'm at the right place or not.

    To give a little bit of a background to my dilemma:
    My older brother also goes to the academy and he, unlike me, genuinely wants to be here and wants to become an officer.
    My cousin graduated from the academy and he's really the one that started this trend of attending USNA.
    I've been thinking a lot lately and decided that I came here almost by an accident. I simply mimicked what my brother did; he went to NASS after his junior year in HS and my mom asked me if I wanted give it a try and I thought, "why not?" I just went for a "summer camp" experience. When I came back from NASS and when my mom asked me how it was and if I had enjoyed it, I told her that I had a good time. This has always been a problem for me; I could almost never give a "no" for an answer, especially when it involved making my mom proud and satisfied. Basically, I unintentionally began the process of applying to USNA and blindly accepted the offer of appointment.

    Now that I've spent some time here at the academy, I've learned that I don't really want to be a military officer. Most other people here had a patriotic motivation or a personal goal they wanted to achieve when they decided to come to this place. But when I'm asked the question, "why did you come here?," I have a hard time giving an answer. Of course, the truthful answer would be, "I just did what my brother did and agreed to my parents' suggestion of coming here."

    But the hard part of my dilemma is that I've made some great friends here and developed good relationships with the upperclass. I don't want to disappoint them by leaving. Also, I'm afraid of some of the potential consequences, like how, where, and when I'll be going back to school if I choose to leave, how I'm going to deal with the ACE loan debt, and what I'm gonna do with all of the issued items that I have in possession such as my uniforms and my textbooks.

    I really need some advice here. :frown: When I talk to my parents on the phone and when they ask me how things are going, it's difficult for me to say how I truly feel; I always resort to saying things like, "it's going well," or "it's not too bad."

    What should I do?
     
  2. billyb

    billyb Member

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    Although it feels like it, you should know that you aren't the only one there with those feelings right now. I know because I had those exact same feelings many moons ago at USMA. Went there for many of the same reasons that you did. I ended up sticking it out and graduating and am very glad that I did.

    Unless you really hate it there and can't stand another day, this is what I would do.... finish the academic year (not the semester, but the year). I know it seems a long way off at this point, but if you finish the first 2 semesters you can transfer the credits to another college. You won't have committed to a career in the Navy anymore at the end of the first year than you have now.

    You never know... at the end of the academic year you might find that you want to keep going at USNA for another year and see how that goes.

    As far as the parents... you should be honest with them about how you feel.

    Best of luck.
     
  3. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

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    For a start, you should probably look at the two threads started by "thatguy". They also ask for advice on separating. To summarize here, speak to a Chaplain about how you're feeling. They've sheparded many a Plebe and upperclassman through the process. For now, my advice would be to stick it out until the end of this year and start the process of getting your family used to the idea. Probably good to look around at colleges that you'd like to explore for transfer, because you will need to start the application process early in 2012 when you have transcripts available from this semester. On the other hand, if you're OK with the great education that you're receiving, you may want to hang in there through Youngser year and separate then. The ACE loan becomes much less of an issue because you will have paid it back. I'm certainly not advocating 'using' the Academy in this way, but then again, you may change your mind if you hang in there through the end of Youngster academic year. Overall, you should consider the state of economy as well. You'll get a great education, have a garanteed job on graduation, and be a very competitive job candidate after you put in your five years. In summary, don't be short-sighted in your decision.
     
  4. Spanky58ggpt

    Spanky58ggpt Member

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    Talk it through

    Talk to the chaplain, company officer, senior enlisted, upperclass, friends. You seem to have come to the conclusion that you may have not thought the decision to accept the appointment through thoroughly. Maybe, maybe not. But this is another big, if not bigger decision. Seek advice from the folks who are on site and available to help you. You will not be the first to have second thoughts. Some decide to leave, some realize it is what they want to do. Only you can make the choice, but make an informed choice that you will have no regrets with. Keep working with the idea of finishing the semester, or even plebe year. This is a tough period for you guys designed to make you tough and give you a firm foundation for leadership and success. You are in a place many have been, a crossroads where your decision has tremendous impact on your future. Make an informed choice you can live with.
     
  5. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I read the following advice somewhere and thought that it would be worthwhile to pass on to my son if he ever had second thoughts about the USAFA. In addition to the above advice about sticking it out for the first year you might consider the following:

    "If you are going to leave, make sure you are running towards something, not away from something."

    Make sure that you have a plan and a goal in mind. Don't just leave because something is hard at the time or you just want to get away from the USNA. If it isn't for you, I completely understand, just make sure you are running towards a goal. If not, stick it out until you do have a plan. Maybe you can get some transfer credits out of the process at least. Good luck.
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I attended the Naval Academy for all the wrong reasons. I thought it would be a cool school. It was free. Everybody would be impressed. I would gain a lot of attention for just being different. I really didn't give much thought to what it meant to be a naval officer.

    For the most part, it was an admissions game for me. I was intrigued with all the hoops I had to jump through to get an appointment. I saw it as a challenge. I read that admissions book from cover-to-cover and meticulously accomplished everything.

    I was thrilled to get the appointment.

    Once I got there - a harsh reality hit me - I really don't have any interest in this nautical stuff. I'm from St. Louis, for crissakes! I didn't even like sailing. "Prepare to come about ... Jibe ho! ... Helms alee!" All this work to go from here to there? Slap an Evinrude on this badboy! What - are we learning to be pirates?

    From me, once I earned my appointment - that was my goal. I had not thought past that point.

    The only reason I didn't quit was because I didn't want to disappoint my father.

    But, over time, I made friends, adapted, and I did find things that interested me. I majored in Aerospace Engineering (mostly because it seemed like the most un-nautical thing I could do) I probably should have gone to the Air Force Academy. I went on to fly ... I loved it ... and now I'm a Captain with a major airline.

    Life is good and all goes back to my academy experience and my decision to stay and adapt.

    Stick it out. If you feel the same way at the end of your Youngster year - then you can quit.

    I'm just curious - how are your grades? Is it possible your desire to leave has to do with the disappointment that you are not doing as well as you hoped? That's very common. It's a big shock to find out that, at a service academy, you're only average.
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Truly excellent advice- you can't go wrong listening to that!
     
  8. usnaclassof15

    usnaclassof15 New Member

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    Thank you so much for your advice. That is exactly how I felt...from the appointment process to the realization that I wasn't really interested in being involved in the naval service. I think I'll stick it out for a little longer after all; I never know how my perspective of this institution will change in the near future. :thumb:

    And as for my grades, I just got my 6-week grades and they're not looking too bad. Surely, my expectations were much higher, but it was definitely an honest reflection of my effort thus far.
     
  9. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    A wise decision I think. You might want to consider telling your family you've been wrestling with this AND that you've decided to stick it out through the end of the year and go from there. You might find them supportive in helping you with a future decision on this issue. But then you know best. :thumb:
     
  10. angiern

    angiern Member

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    That's the truth. My plebe told me last night that she has three C's. She's just happy to be sat.
     
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Some people get off to a slow start and completely turn it around.

    My first two semesters at the Naval Academy (as a Plebe) I had slightly below a 3.0. I had a 2.94 both first and second semester. (I still remember that GPA like it was yesterday.) That's not bad - but I was used to much higher grades in high school.

    I knew what the problem was, though. I wasn't studying efficiently. Also, being a recruited baseball player didn't help. Practices were long and frequent.

    I quit baseball (best decision I ever made) and became much more efficient. I knew, in the long run, my GPA was going to be more important than my ERA.

    Also, I majored in Aerospace Engineering. That major and varsity sports did not mix well. I was one of only two Group I majors on the team. The other guy also quit.

    Beginning with my Youngster year, my grades skyrocketed! I ended up graduating with nearly a 3.4. Of course, all I ever did was study.

    Do not be surprised if your daughter completely turns it around in the near future. It happens all the time. Of course, it sometimes works the other way - but that is usually because they have lost their drive and passion in many other areas.
     
  12. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Memphis, that is exactly what happened with me, though I didn't have the varsity athletics excuse. I just had never had to work hard in high school, and so figured I could get away with that here.

    I finished plebe year with a 2.6 and didn't do much better the first half of youngster year. What finally got me to turn things around was getting a C in physics...I'd done well in the class but once the final (which I had, uh, not done well on) got factored in I ended the semester with a 79.66, and the teacher didn't round up.
    I was so pissed at myself that I refocused and starting actually working hard on academics and now I'm on track to graduate with a 3.3+.
     
  13. angiern

    angiern Member

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    She got an A in Calc, so she's got that going for her. She'll probably turn it around, but I'm just glad she's not beating herself up about it.

    Attending USNA wasn't a burning desire of hers. She had applied to several Ivy League schools, but wasn't accepted. So she had a choice between USNA and a state school. She wanted something more prestigious, so she chose USNA. I believe she is happy with her decision overall, but I imagine she has probably doubted her decision on occasion. I thinks that's normal. I'm glad to hear the OP is deciding to stick with it for now. I agree that the OP should consider talking with his/her parents
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011
  14. vira

    vira Surfrider

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    If someone had told me a story similar to yours, I may not have dropped out of the Naval Academy. It just seemed like no one motivated me at the time during Plebe Summer. If anything, I just felt worse when they tried
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I don't remember much "motivation" during Swab Summer at CGA....I don't think many people should expect to me motivated over that first summer. I do remember encouragement from my great Swab Summer roommate at night, whispering after lights out on a hard day.

    Don't expect the cadre to be your cheerleaders. 95% of getting through the summer is on you. That other 5% is your classmates. If you don't want to be there, nothing they do or say is going to keep you there.
     
  16. vira

    vira Surfrider

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    Encourage would be the better word.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Yeah, I don't remember being encouraged either. I do remember my cadre telling me I was going to be sent home, walking me by each of my classmates as they were forced to say "Goodbye Swab LITS", took me down to the vans and told me to pick out the van that would take me to the airport, to fly home.

    I seem to remember my cadre taping over "Coast Guard" on my shirt, and writing "Civilian" telling me I didn't deserve to be there and I must have wanted to go to Civilian Academy.


    Needless to say, none of that was encouraging in any way. I was told long after that some of the cadre regretted it, but hey, that's how our cadre did things.... and how did I cope? I dug down somewhere deep and my classmates helped me (and I helped them).
     
  18. vira

    vira Surfrider

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    What exactly was that for? Did you have thoughts of leaving and then the Cadre found out or were they just giving you a hard time because it was Swab Summer?

    My detailers and officers all told me that I should stick it out for a year and that I would enjoy the ac year a lot more, and also that I was leaving for the wrong reasons.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I don't think a day went by that I didn't think about leaving....even if just for a second. That didn't end at Swab Summer either.

    Why did they do that? I screwed up.... more than once. Sure I had classmates that screwed up too, but I seemed to package all of my screw ups in a 48 hour period, helping the cadre remember who I was.

    That said, I've seen Swabs in the same position when I was a cadre. The rules were different, and we had different tools, but it was never our place to tell them if they deserved to be there or not. We were 2/c cadets, officers up to a captain had determined they deserved to be there.

    I have to say, some of the things I head, especially the things I mentioned, stuck with me into my 2/c year. Our 2/c summer we were trained by Coast Guard boot camp company commanders, and one of them said some very kind things that stuck with me. I think I doubted myself before that, but what he said went a long way to restore that confidence (in time for me to train new swabs).

    As hard as Swab Summer was, I thought it as harder as a cadre, realizing how much damage you could do if you abused the trust that was given to you.

    No one goes through Swab Summer or Plebe Summer whistling and thinking "Ah yes, this was the best idea ever". I had classmates far tougher than I, broken in front of us. I think that's why you end up being so close to your classmates. You've seen them at their worst, you've seen them at their worst, and you come out of it together.

    I don't remember any pats on the back though, not from the cadre.
     

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