Life at the Academy

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by StarsAndSnipes, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. StarsAndSnipes

    StarsAndSnipes New Member

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    While waiting to find out if I was appointed to the academy I heard about this forum and I had a few questions about the academy from people who have gone through it very recently. One of my concerns is that I won't be able to enjoy myself during college and my time will be spent getting yelled at or doing school work all the time. Can anybody attest to that? Am I wrong or will I have time to be a normal human being?

    I was also wondering how much dating and relationships of that sorts goes on at the academy. I haven't found anywhere talking about it or if dating is even allowed while your at the academy.
     
  2. strakerak

    strakerak Member

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    I have a friend at USAFA right now.

    Keep it appropriate.

    Also, you're going into an Academy knowing that you're not going to have a normal college life. If you want to 100% enjoy yourself, consider ROTC? I've heard that when it comes to study period and athletic period the upperclassmen don't bother you as much.
     
  3. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    It is different for everyone and it depends on you, your classmates and what squadron you land. Some squadrons are known for training and some less so.

    It can be a lot of fun but very different from 'normal' college life.

    Amazing you have gone through the entire appointment process and don't seem to have a clue what you have applied to do
     
  4. StarsAndSnipes

    StarsAndSnipes New Member

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    I do know what I applied to, I was hoping to hear this from people who went through it themselves. A very recent unfiltered perspective on academy life, not what I heard from my ALO or people who know people who have gone through it, so I apologize
     
  5. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I think that's a very reasonable request. There are a few current cadets on here right now. They're pretty busy this week with exams and papers due. Check back often but don't be surprised if you don't see any responses until next week.
     
  6. skismuggs

    skismuggs Member

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    Just a parent that did not go the any SA asking... If you found out you wouldn't have much fun, not have a typical college experience and have a miserable four years where you get yelled at a lot and have no guarantees of graduating, would you still go?
     
  7. brovol

    brovol Member

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    I think it is pretty understandable for a kid to have a strong desire to attend one of the academies, even after understanding all that is involved, both during and after the academy, but at this late stage in the process, only months from starting, but before committing, needing to pause and think about it again. I believe that's a healthy thing to do. Deciding to pursue an academy, and then going through the entire application process is so intense, and frankly leaves little time for true thoughtful reflection. Taking a second look, and reassuring yourself that it is the right thing, before you fully commit is wise; and part of that is getting answers to questions that you are not completely sure about.

    I have heard of situations where cadets realized after starting, and even after their first year, that it just wasn't right for them, and then dropping. Much better to figure it out now. It is interesting that after receiving his appointment to West Point a few weeks ago my son gets stopped and loved up by just about everyone in our small town, as word spreads fast (especially when I am telling everyone, including strangers. LOL). I can imagine it would be hard to back out for a lot of kids.
     
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Fun is a relative term. Is having fun going to parties every night and being in a frat? If it is, then probably not the right place. If fun is learning, spending time with friends, exploring new places more your thing then a SA is a great place. If I remember correctly, unless you have duty or other military obligations, the weekends are mostly yours. I did not attend USAFA, but USNA. Things aren't all that different. Will you get yelled at, yes. Alot during the summer. During the Academic Year, not often, but it can happen. Can you date, yes. Many do date. After all you are 18-24 year old young men and women full or hormones... dating happens. As a 4/C you can only date other 4/C. As an upperclassmen 4/C are off limits. You will study alot, just like any other top notch college. Throw in military and physical obligations and you have a very busy schedule. Its all about time management and planning. If you take a look in this thread and others you will see lots of info about dating, skiing, hiking and other things that Cadets do at USAFA. It might take some digging but go thru a dozen or so pages and you will see threads that might help round out this answer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
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  9. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I asked my DD (a C3C) how things were now that she's not a doolie any more. She said, "Sometimes I just hate this place." I said, "That's just how they temper steel." Her response? "Damn straight!"
     
  10. Kiowa19

    Kiowa19 Member

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    I'm a 19er so my perspective may be a little different than upperclassmen. USAFA certainly isn't your "typical college experience", especially freshman year. That being said, there is generally some time for you to be a "normal human being". You can go out on the weekend (as long as it isn't a training weekend or you're restricted) and there are plenty of slopes if you're into snowboarding or skiing. But if you're looking for keggers in the quad, you're going to be disappointed. The only frat you''ll be allowed to join is the US Military, and our socials aren't exactly theme parties :3. That being said some of the best times I've had have been hanging out with friends in the Springs or even on base. You'll make some pretty unique bonds with your classmates that can't be replicated anywhere else. And some of that bonding is because of shared 'suffering'. You will spend a lot of time studying but not too much time getting yelled at (after basic of course)

    As for dating, cadets are still people and people date. Cadets dating cadets can be tricky, especially with chain of command and fraternization rules, not to mention the added stress of a full academic and military schedule. There are people who make it work, but its not easy. There are also other colleges nearby and of course long distance relationships.
     
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  11. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    You could ask 10 different cadets this question and get 10 variations of an answer ranging from "it's all about your attitude and what you decide to get out of it" all the way down to "it sucks, embrace it, get through it and then get past it." You can also get different answers depending on the day you ask a cadet.
    As a parent, from my perspective, the academies seem more of a journey than a traditional college. I have one in traditional college and another at the academy. Even with all the research my cadet and other cadets have done, it isn't the same as experiencing it first hand.

    It really depends on what you want to get out of your experience and what you are willing to do and put up with in order to achieve it. It also depends on your personality and how needy/high maintenance you are. If you require a lot of "private time", the academy is probably not for you. If you need the outlet of partying to balance intense studying, then the academy is probably not for you. If you are the type who seriously resents following rules that you disagree with or dislike, then the academy is probably not for you.

    Dating is always a sticky subject beside the frat and chain of command issues when considering fellow cadets as dates. Again, depending on who you ask is the answer you are going to get. The key thing to consider is where in the list of your priorities is dating? Also, especially C4C year, your ability to date will be limited due to transportation, restrictions, military training, etc. etc. etc. etc.. Will you be happy just going for a hike and spending time walking around or does a date need to be dinner and a movie out?

    At some point I believe every cadet is faced with the question "is the prize worth the price?" Do I really want to do what it takes in order to succeed?
     
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  12. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

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    I have always heard it is not a great place to be, but, it is a great place to be from.
     
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  13. zachtx

    zachtx Member

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    The most accurate way I've heard it put is that the Academy is not a fun place, but we do a lot of fun things. While four-degree year is extremely stressful and time consuming (as opposed to State U), it opens up a lot of doors for your next 3 years that civilian counterparts do not get. I have gotten to fly gliders, solo the powered flight aircraft, learn survival skills, shoot guns and learn basic infantry tactics, travel to southwest Asia for a month for Ops AF (including ride along on a C-130 aeromedical evacuation mission), fly in a T-38, receive a "free" education, attend NCLS, meet a ton of incredible people, serve on Wing Staff and create training plans for all 4000 cadets, be a Squadron Superintendent and work directly with/for 100 people everyday, and make friends for a life time. I have an internship this summer in FL, and then will be BCT cadre. So, while there are some sacrifices - in my opinion, it is more than worth it! Happy to answer any more specific questions!
     
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  14. StarsAndSnipes

    StarsAndSnipes New Member

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    Ok thank you! I think you brought up a really good point in that fun is relative. The fact that there isn't parties every night is a huge pro for a SA. Thank you for your info!
     
  15. StarsAndSnipes

    StarsAndSnipes New Member

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    I see. During your Doolie year do you have to remain in uniform of campus? Thank you so much for replying and the info!!
     
  16. StarsAndSnipes

    StarsAndSnipes New Member

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    Thank you for your info Were you saying that if you are high maintenance the academy would not be a good thing? I take care of myself a lot of the times and I thought that would be a good thing for the academy. Thank you again for posting!
     
  17. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    High maintenance is a term that describes how much of a drag you are on others. Can you follow instruction or do you require oversight? Do you ask countless questions that you could easily look up on your own or attempt to figure out by your lonesome?

    Can you accept the consequences of your choices or do you whine that life isn't fair?

    If you are 'high maintenance' SAs are not a good place for you. Your classmates won't enjoy being around you and the upperclass will make your life miserable if you are perceived as high maintenance.

    Also the ability to deal and dish high levels of sarcasm are important to survival at USAFA.

    Do you have any idea what you have just spent the past 6-9 months applying to be a part of?
     
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  18. StarsAndSnipes

    StarsAndSnipes New Member

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    Yes I do know what I applied to, I was just asking for clarification. Thank you for your info!
     
  19. Badge250

    Badge250 Member

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    Yes. Until Recognition.
     
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  20. HereWeGo

    HereWeGo Member

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    MombaBomba mentioned being an introvert. Of all the lifestyle requirements of an SA, this is the area that concerns me for DS. He is a true introvert which was described to me once as drawing energy from inside yourself; other DS is an extrovert that gets his energy from interactions with others. My introverted DS needs his time alone to recharge. He is good with doing homework in that time, or reading the news, or whatever, but at least so far in life he has needed some quiet time without other people to recharge the batteries. Is that even possible at an SA? Would anyone care to comment on life as an introvert at an SA?
     

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