Life after USMMA

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by itszack, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. itszack

    itszack New Member

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    I am really afraid of graduating from college and just falling into an average life; the 9-5 after four or five fun college years. Sorry, now with he questions:
    Would the USMMA give me a chance to see and experience the world?
    Is the time not spent at sea strictly regimented with check-ins and time-killing tasks?
    Would there be enough off time following graduation for traveling, camping, and whatever else comes to mind? If so, what jobs out of the academy would this possible with?
    Thank you
     
  2. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    You might want to check out the KP website. Here is a bit that might interest you.

    http://www.usmma.edu/about/Default.html

    Myself, I sailed for quite a few years after school the came ashore to work as a Class Surveyor and then as a Loss Adjuster. My life has been anything but 9-5, but normal? My sense of normal is quite a bit different from most folks.
     
  3. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    This is possible the biggest advantage that KP has over any other college in the country.

    Yes during plebe year. Less so each year after that.

    I have a classmate who gave up his law practice to go back to sea. I think he spends more time in the US when he is on his ship than when he is off. Most people who sail for a living have about six months of vacation each year.
     
  4. AMF

    AMF Member

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    Definitely the only school in the country where you can see the world.
    Time at school is very regimented, especially during plebe year. Remember you are being groomed to be in the naval reserve, if not active military duty after graduation. "Off time" is a relative term. Most grads sail on their license for 5 or so years after grad, where they have 4-6 months "off". Some choose graduate school during this period, others do internships. But for sure not a 9-5 career. Self discipline, time management skills, and ability to take "s*!t" key to survival at KP.
     
  5. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    My time off while sailing after school was not wasted in grad school or internships. . . . There was a lot of beach time involved, though. Oh, and an adult beverage or two. . .
     
  6. 2009KPer

    2009KPer Member

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    Don't take this as me being a killjoy, but here it goes...

    Your vacation time (not sailing) is when to take advantage of the opportunity to see the world.

    "Seeing the world" through shipping nowadays is pretty much a thing of the past, unless you count 12-36 hours at a container port, far from town, "seeing". Containerization has killed long port times and when you're in, you're usually very busy. Furthermore, U.S.-flag deep sea shipping is almost dead - not impossible to land a job in, but you'll pay your dues/fight for it. The future of U.S.-flagged maritime work is in the offshore oil sector. That and inland/coastal work are where the jobs are now and will probably remain for the foreseeable future. As for deep sea vessels, the majority of U.S-flagged deep sea ships on foreign voyages are container ships and ro/ro's (both with quick turnaround times). Tanker work is vastly domestic. The most "seeing of the world" that I've had was as a cadet.

    As for your time off, it's greatly your own, but depending on what you do, there may be times when you need to take care of professional things (courses/classes, medical appointments, company conferences, etc). If you're working domestic (Jones Act) shipping, expect shorter rotation schedules (anywhere from two weeks, such as on tugs, to three months).

    The time period following graduation can be anything. Some grads start their jobs immediately, others may wait some time. It really depends on what you're doing and who's hired you.
     
  7. AMF

    AMF Member

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    This is a clear indication "waste" means different things to different folks
     
  8. Navy4ever

    Navy4ever Member

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    cmakin and 2009KPer I am sure you both know what you are talking about as you have walked the walk. Some just pretend to know what they are talking about and have never been a Mariner:thumb:
     
  9. EDPKP81

    EDPKP81 Member

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    After graduating, I sailed for 28 years and have been to over 50 countries. I've been to Antarctica 4 times. I got to see places that most people only dream of visiting. Early in my career (before marriage and children) I 'experienced' real college life and actually took a few courses during my vacation periods. Cost me more for those few courses than 4 years at KP! If you choose to sail, you'll have many months off which will give you the opportunity to do things those that have 'normal' jobs can't do. How you chose to spend your time off is up to you.
     
  10. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Itszack:

    I figured I’d get back to directly answering your questions/concerns in a more general fashion.

    You’ve seen earlier replies from at least four other graduates (two who are of the “vintage” I come from – one of whom hopefully has a son entering the Class of 2017). I graduated in 1982 and my own son graduated in 2012. As you can note from the various replies, a sea going life and career has indeed changed over the past 30 years. That said I don’t think, looking at what my son is seeing starting his career, that really changes the root answers to your four specific questions. Here’s my two cents:

    My answer is a simple, direct, resounding – YES. As noted while time for sightseeing, etc. during sea year, and the early part of your career while sailing and satisfying your “obligation”, is necessarily different than any sort of “touring” or “backpacking around the world” or “semester abroad experience” etc. and you certainly are less likely to have a bunch of snapshots of you on the Eiffel Tower, etc.; working – actually working, whether it’s on a ship as a cadet or otherwise somewhere outside you normal culture and environs is, in this old fart’s opinion where and how you truly will experience the world in a way that is unique to USMMA while you are there, and to USMMA and State Maritime Academy Graduates following your graduation. I could write eons about that but, I have found repeatedly that actually working with people from other cultures be they Germans in German y or Turkey; Turks in Turkey; Alabamians in Huntsville or Northern Californians in the SF Bay Area, etc. who have different cultural perspectives from this born and bred US East Coaster have been by far the best and most broadening experiences in my career. It gives you an understanding of them and their culture that no amount of touring can begin to give you. It will be a source of capability that you will likely not even fully appreciate you offer your employers and customers throughout your life.

    My answer in an attempt to be even handed is to point out two paradoxical things: 1) assuming you finish your USMMA degree in the preferred four year course of study – which is the best way to do it for lots of reasons, mainly it’s the best way to make sure you do in fact graduate ;) – you will complete four plus years of Bachelor Levels coursework during your ~3 years on campus. So that ends up being the focus of most members of the regiment of midshipmen – whether they realize it or not. As such the amount of regimented, time-killing activities, etc. really varies from personal perspective. However, while it’s not Annapolis or West Point, USMMA is a 24/7 regimental system when you are on campus. Further your first year, plebe year, privileges/so called “class rates” limit what you can and can’t do and the things you and your classmates will do to break the boredom and monotony of the months between reporting in July and the following June Graduation Weekend while you live “a plebe’s life” will indeed not be like what your friends at “normal colleges” are doing at all. Third and Second Class years – SO & JR at regular schools – are short, more normal and more interesting because of your sea year splits and by First Class (SR Year) you are well used to the life and likely wouldn’t want to know anything else – besides you have the underclass to lead… At the end of the day – this ends up being a personal question, every Mid asks themselves along with “Is this worth it for me” at least a couple times during their time at USMMA.

    Think this has pretty much been well answered by earlier respondents, but I’ll just add my simple, heck yes, and more-so than for those who graduate from most other places in my view, to the crowd. USMMA grads generally share an ethos of work hard – play hard following making sure they “take care of business” first. Not that I’m biased on that.

    If you are asking relative to the above and from the perspective of “right out of the academy” as in the first five years following graduation, then the answer is pretty simple – satisfying your obligation to the US Government, sailing in some capacity on your Merchant Mariner Document (MMD/License) and satisfying your reserve obligation through the predominate post-graduation choice as a USNR officer. You’ll have as much or more vacation time available to you for any of that sort of stuff or alternative things such as graduate school, etc. as with any other early career choice and it will be generally be in larger blocks than most college graduates new hires get to have.

    Good Luck, hope these answers help. Acta Non Verba!
     
  11. cmakin

    cmakin Member

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    This is right on the point. To this day, I travel for much of my work, often at the last minute and at times to some of the less pleasant parts of the world. I think nothing of wandering around a dry-dock in Turkey, Dubai, or other part of the world with locals, expat US and Euro citizens, examining, surveying, consulting, etc. It has been something that I have been doing since I was 19 years old. Quite often when I am out in the field, I am the only US citizen/national in attendance. Getting used to this during Sea Year was extremely important, if not at least as important as the engineering that I also learned at that time.

    Those rare occasions of when I do travel out of the country on my own time, I feel at a loss since I don't make a very good tourist. Rare is the time that I get to do any sight seeing when I travel for work, and I am okay with that. I would much rather be part of "local color", so to speak than just an annoying tourist. . . .
     
  12. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    ^yep

    [FONT=&quot]An old chief engineer I sailed with was asked by a young 'first trip' wiper “just where exactly is Singapore, Chief?” The Chief responded “I don’t know, but I've heard that it’s just outside the Keppel container terminal gate”… That pretty well sums up going to sea nowadays..[/FONT]
     
  13. BisonSoccer

    BisonSoccer Member

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    Sounds very interesting
     

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