Major Decision For Next Year

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by cpkousky, May 9, 2012.

  1. cpkousky

    cpkousky Member

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    Hello everyone, I have a unique dilemma, and a big decision I have to make for next year. I was hoping to have you all weigh in on the issue so I can make an informed, good decision.

    Last year I applied for Navy and AF ROTC scholarships. I was awarded one for the AF but not the Navy. I decided to take it and study Civil Engineering at West Virginia University.

    Here's the thing- My father is a former Naval Aviator and graduate of the Naval Academy. I have grown up around the Navy my whole life, and have been in awe of Naval Aviation. Despite taking the Air Force ROTC, I decided to re-apply for the Navy ROTC scholarship to keep my options open.

    During the second semester of my freshman year at WVU I received notice that I was awarded a 4 year Navy ROTC scholarship to Jacksonville University. Over spring break I went down and visited the college and ROTC unit with my father. I decided to accept the scholarship because I had nothing to lose: I have no obligation with the Air Force until I start school my sophomore year. Now I am home on summer break and I have a pretty big decision to make for next year.

    This is the dilemma- after spending a year down at WVU in the Air Force ROTC program, I can't decide which option I want more. I had a real great time down there; the sporting events are awesome and there's always a lot to do. I've established a pretty good group of friends, most of which are involved in Army and Air Force ROTC. Lastly, I came out with a 3.48 GPA as a Civil Engineering major for my freshman year. As much as I would love JU and NROTC, I feel like I got something good going already, and I don't want to burn any bridges.

    Here's the deal with JU and NROTC...I would be able to study Aviation and Flight Operations, and have the Navy pay for all my pilot ratings. I talked with the LT of the unit down there, and he told me how great of a deal it was. Whether or not I get selected for Navy Pilot, my dad can still help get me a job flying with FEDEX down the line, since I will have all my ratings (he is currently a FEDEX Captain). Also, I am interested in either being a Navy Pilot or NFO on the P-8 Poseidon if I get the opportunity. The good thing about JU is that NAS JAX is right next door, and that is where the P-8 is being tested. Also, there are many opportunities at JU to get involved. They have a flying team and sailing team which compete at the national level; both are things I would love to get involved with.

    The dilemma is that I don't know what I want more-
    JU is a small, private school. Much different than WVU..and the facilities aren't as nice, but that's what you get with a small school. I would be able to study Aviation Operations, which would be pretty cool because whether it be military or civilian, I want to be a pilot, and its a free way to get that. It's also by NAS Jax, so I could have opportunities to learn about the P-8. And also you can't beat the location right on the beach. The navy has always been a part of my life, and I'd feel right at home.

    WVU on the other hand, is a big school with lots going on. The football and basketball games are a phenomenal experience I have been able to have. I found out that I enjoy civil engineering, and can see myself pursuing that option as well. The only thing is, I spend a lot of my time on schoolwork, and feel like I don't have a lot of time for ECA's. My group of friends are probably the best friends I have ever had.The Air Force ROTC experience has been good, but there's still a lot about the AF that I am unfamiliar with, and I'm not really sure what I'd want to do if I didn't get a pilot slot.

    A few other little tidbits- my eyesight is 20/60 uncorrected. With the AF I'm still qualified for pilot, but in the Navy I'd nead to get eye surgery. No matter what I want to serve as an officer, i'm just trying to make the best decison that would give me the best options and chance at success.

    If you have anything that could help me out here I would greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. sjbd94

    sjbd94 Member

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    well im in a situation where the same principal applies. Its really hard to make a decision when there is no wrong answer. And i am only a HS senior heading to college on a 3 year Army ROTC scholarship. But i would say if it aeint broke dont fix it. But if navy has been ur dream do that, but keep in mind u stand the chance of missing everything at WVU. I know a kid who went to JU on a lacrosse scholarship and I am pretty sure he came back to local area so idk if he didnt like it. on a side note i got into WVU, but i live in NC and since i had a 3 year scholarship the first year would of cost me like $20k even with the academic scholarships i got so i had to say no to that, its also like 10 hours from my house which is a little to far for me. But i do kind wish i would of just tried to see if it would of transferred out of state, but that is another story haha. But good luck man I wish u the best!
     
  3. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    Before I say anything, I would like to offer a disclaimer. My experiences are limited to high school and the sample college experience I had this year so I haven't "been there, done that".

    But I understand, on a different level, of what you are going through. The end of my junior year through the beginning of my senior year I was feeling a bit lost. I'm the type of person that likes to sample different things and is good a many different things, which I sense that you are too, but couldn't seem to find anything that I was passionate about that I could live with doing for the rest of my life. I kept going back and forth between an ever changing top 3 career field choices while at the same time trying to figure out how the military life I wanted would fit into it.

    I was frustrated that I couldn't make a decision while many of the people around me had already figured out their passions, even one of my younger sisters had at least that part figured out. I didn't realize why that was until I confessed my doubts to my father and he told me why. There is no job(outside of the military because you have to get out sometime) for what I am the most passionate about: financial security. Oh sure, I have other passions like writing, literature, music, and justice; but all of those I can do on the side, they're not what I want as my main dish. I could never be satisfied with those because of what I want the most out of a career, financial security. It all clicked then, there were several careers I knew I would like, but since I never had that "Aha! That's what I love and I want to do it and nothing else for the rest of my life" moment, why not zero in on the end goal and pick the most efficient and most enjoyable route to get there?

    I think that when thinking about your career and what you truly want out of life, you should look beyond college. Sure, the college itself matters to some degree, but you should pick one with the end goal in mind. It seems that you want to fly no matter what and will love it, but you have two degrees to choose from that you would be fine with either way, so pick the best route to get where you want to be in 10 or 20 years. Focus a little less on how they both look, you are there for an education. I thought my high school was complete crap compared to the school I wanted to go to, but as I built up the memories there and began to have fun experiences, I saw it differently. Now I can look fondly upon some of those ugly old halls and think about the fun I had in our fugly cafeteria. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It's just like a person. No matter how they look on the outside, if they have a beautiful core, they become beautiful to you.

    I would caution you about making your decision based on emotions. I had the opportunity to complete most of my freshman year this year, but I almost didn't take it. I almost sabotaged myself because I did not want to leave my friends, I didn't want to miss out on what I knew would be the most fun year of my life, and I was admittedly scared of tackling this unknown a little more than the many others I had before. Plus everyone was watching me because I was breaking new ground for my school and my family so the pressure was a little more than usual. Going to a totally different environment is hard, but guess what, you'll make new, very good friends. There is a difference between choosing what you want in the end and choosing to settle because it will keep you close to your niche. They are both, in the end, very emotional decisions, but for very different reasons. With one, emotions are balanced by logic so if things were to go south, then you would only need to look within yourself for reassurance and will be reminded why you chose that path and, furthermore, why you will continue to trek on through the storm. The other is based entirely on emotions which is what makes it illogical, irresponsible, and possibly hazardous to your goals. If things go south in that situation, then you're going to be lost. If the final pin holding you there were friends, then what do you do when they aren't there anymore and you look up and realize that this isn't where you REALLY want to be but your in way too deep now to just up and leave? I challenge you to detach yourself from the situation emotionally and think, if these people weren't here, would I still choose this school over that one? If the answer is no, then you know what to do. There are seasonal friends, and friends that last a lifetime. If the ones you have now are lifetime ones, then you will meet again, if not, then look back on the good times and see it for what it was: a pleasurable moment in time. Just realize it for what it is, it's when you try to hold on to the seasonal ones that you really get hurt. Trying to keep something fixed in the present when it rightfully belongs in the past will make the parting very bitter and full of disappointment.

    If taking the navy scholarship and leaving your friends is the best way to get what you want, take it. If AF is the best way to go, take it. From what you've said, navy might be the surest way to go and I'm sure you'd fall in love with your stumpy little school in no time:shake:. Don't think I am condoning doing something JUST because of the money. But you have already established that you'd like both naval aviation or civil engineering with no preference over the other. Once you have gotten to a standstill between two good plans of action, take some time to go for a walk, or lay awake in bed and dig down deep. Think about what you want out of life, decide, and execute.

    Good luck and God speed!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  4. sjbd94

    sjbd94 Member

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    wow that was an amazing post. I must agree with what was just said u have to take the emotions out of the situation.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    One thing to remember, and I am sure your Dad will tell you, getting your ratings will require just as much time studying as a CE degree, so you should remove that from the equation too.

    It is not as if that you will spend the entire time flying for that major. There will be lots of academics between flights, and I am assuming there will be check rides too, which require studying also.

    I would discuss with the command at JU, what is the % of mids that get rated, and more importantly those who need eye surgery.

    To me in the end the question I would pose is what if I didn't get a rated slot, which branch would I want to be in?

    Nobody here can predict the rated pipeline for 2015. Nobody can predict that you will graduate from UPT. There is always a chance it won't happen, and that means you need to have a Plan B in place. What is your Plan B?

    College, even as a full time student, is really part time compared to an AD life. It is not 24/7/365 for 4 yrs. AD is! As stated you will make friends at JU, you will find a different social routine than WVU, so remove that from the equation.

    Good luck, and no matter what you decide believe in the decision, do not look back and play the "IF" game. They are both great paths.
     
  6. Marist College ROTC

    Marist College ROTC Member

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  7. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Can you continue to study Civil Engineering at JU?

    *edit* never mind, I googled and see that JU doesn't have an Engineering degree.

    There are no guarantees at either place --

    - you might not qualify for AFROTC SFT at WVU
    - you might not get Rated in AFROTC at WVU
    - you might not get an Aviator or Flight Ops billet in NROTC at JU

    Lots of things you are not guaranteed. However, what is almost certain is that you will graduate from WVU with a Civil Engineering degree, which is great training for almost anything, in about three years. You would be a year behind, approx., by starting four years at JU in the Fall. I'm not sure what value the degree from JU would have if you ultimately decide, or cannot, fly.

    Having said all that, Dreams are important. If you've always dreamed of being a Naval Aviator, then losing a year, and other factors are probably minor in comparison.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  8. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    I think the bottom line is what would you be happy doing if you did not fly planes when you were commissioned? Do you like the Navy options and driving ships/subs or other Air Force jobs better? Obviously you want to fly, but there are no guarantees in either service that is what the future holds. Also, have you had your eyes examined and are eligible for eye surgery. If not, then no future pilot billet in the Navy, yes you can still be an NFO.

    I think you know what you goal is, but I think plan B is important in case you don't end up in a plane or helo. Do you want to land on carrier decks and spend time at sea? Do you want the chance to fly heavy cargo planes? You have spent a year in college and know what it is all about, are you ready to do 4 more years? Yes, they are different schools and you seem to have examined that very thoroughly. Do you want to follow in your Dad's footsteps? Do you want to forge a new path?
     
  9. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    One other lifestyle issue... if you plan to marry young, the Air Force lifestyle is more Home Base oriented than the Navy lifestyle.
     

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