Questions re: leaving KP

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by KingsPtMom2014, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. KingsPtMom2014

    KingsPtMom2014 Member

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    DS is a 2014 B split. He survived plebe year with a 3.0 GPA and was feeling pretty good when he went to sea. His experience at sea has been totally positive. So I was surprised to get an email from him saying he was thinking of not returning to KP. His stated reason is that he can't see himself leading a seafaring life. So I thought I'd get some input from y'all. Anything you think might be helpful is welcome. And I have a specific question.

    His state of mind seems to be that while all the travel is adventurous and exciting, it's not a home. He wants a home. Are there service options available to KP grads that allow them to put down roots? Maybe the Coast Guard or the NOAA? Does anyone know anything at all about the NOAA?

    Thanks for any insight.

    And please spare me the helicopter warnings. This is my son. I'm his father. He asked for my advice. I wouldn't even consider turning a deaf ear, and I don't care if he's 19 or 50.
     
  2. sprog

    sprog Member

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    Is it that he is unhappy with the career choices from USMMA, or that he is unhappy with USMMA?

    If he likes going to school there, I'm sure he can find something which might be less transient than some of the other options once he graduates. I don't know anything about NOAA. The CG may be a good option, although I'm not sure how much moving is done in the first five years (you'd have to talk to one of their officers..LineintheSand). The service obligation is only five years, so he may be willing to suck it up for that amount of time. When he is the ripe old age of 26, he'll have plenty of time to put down roots. Five years sounds like an eternity when you're in your 20s, but it isn't. I'm not a KPer, but I was sent to Minot AFB when I was an AF 2LT and I hated it! I was there for almost 4 years, and I couldn't imagine how I was going to make it through. I realize now that it was just a blurp in my life, and I've had plenty of time to set roots after I was done with my ADSC.

    If all this is really about his dislike of USMMA, then he can either suck it up or leave. Those are the only two choices. Unfortunately, no one on this forum can tell you what to do there. If he stays, he'll graduate in two years. If he doesn't want to be miserable that long, he should punch out. In the end, it's about how much he wants to be there (or about how much he is willing to tolerate to graduate). That is totally up to your son.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011
  3. 2012kpmam

    2012kpmam Member

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    There are some "majors" that don't always include sailing, like shipyard management and Logistics. Those are more "roots" jobs, and while he would have to get a waiver not to sail, I think, given the economy, I hear that is possible. Yes, he can go to the military, but that is also moving around for 5 years. There are military branch liaisons on KP's campus that can tell him what is options are in the various branches of the military. Same goes for NOAA.

    It was a good point as to whether or not he really is happy with Kings Point. When they sail and get out of the studying mode, it is very hard to go back to the studying grind sometimes. Question is, what else does he want to do?

    I think your advice and input to him is very important and I don't consider this being a helicopter parent at all. But you have to help him look at the "big" picture in relation to the rest of his life.
     
  4. KingsPtMom2014

    KingsPtMom2014 Member

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    Sprog,

    I agree with your hunch about this possibly being a reaction to the thought of taking classes and enduring the Long Island winter. He was fine with KP when he left back in June. I wouldn't say he'd fallen in love with the place, but he'd made a few friends and had some fun. I actually remember him saying that it felt wierd to be leaving for so long.
     
  5. KPMum2012

    KPMum2012 Parent

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    Class of 2012 had a presentation last week from MSC (Military Sealift Command) about shipyard positions. DD interviewed for a position that would involve 4 months at a Navy Shipyard in Naples, Italy and 8 months in DC. Given that the school sponsored the presentation, I would hope that getting the waiver to work shoreside would not be a problem. My point is that there are more stable positions out there. They don't have to go to be constantly traveling.

    When they ask us for input, it's not helicopter parenting to try to gather good, relevant information for them to help them make their decisions.

    Good luck to your DS as he makes this decision!
     
  6. Texmom

    Texmom Member

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    leaving KP

    KingsPtMom2014 - sent you a pm
     
  7. bugsy

    bugsy Member

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    I know an awefull lot of west point grads that departed the army after their 5 year commitment because they didnt enjoy the lifestyle. I was army ROTC scholarship and am now a senior leader in the Air Force. kP isnt a means to an end. And it certainly isnt a rate liniting tag.

    A good friend finished west point, graduated ranger school and afetr his commitment started a career as a pharmasutical rep. KP is an ivy league equivilent. If DS can transfer to an IvyLeague school perhaps its worth concidering if not I wouldnt want my DS to transfer to a state school.
     
  8. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

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    It is light years easier to sail at 22 than to try and go back at 32 should he regret not sailing. It is light years easier in general to go from sea to shore than to go from shore to sea. Its not like he's signing up for 20 years with that first job. I can appreciate a desire for a stable shoreside lifestyle. It's no more difficult to achieve out of KP than anywhere else and definitely not worth leaving KP for if you ask me.
     
  9. Navy1981

    Navy1981 Member

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    Try and determine where your DS is getting his information from. It is entirely possible that he has received advice & guidance from someone on the ship that is less than satisfied with their own personal situation. My mid and sea partner are 2013 B splitters who have done 4 separate ships now. There was one crew member on the one of the ships that was very negative regarding life as a deckie. If they had taken everything this crewmember said as the gospel truth, they probably would have considered packing it in too. However, they asked the other crew members and found that this sailor just has a negative personality in general. Just something else to think about.
     
  10. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    First anyone who thinks this is being a helicopter parent just plain doesn't know what a helicopter parent is; also this is the type of question and advice that sons who have good relationships with their dads ask often.

    There's lots of good pints made above - probably the best being that 5 or so years of your 20's seems like a long time but it's really not that long.

    There are more stable, predictive "options and opportunities" upon graduation other than sailing; and the truth is different types of ships and sailing options offer more or less time in port and regularity in schedule, but the counter that "going to sea is not a typical, normal lifestyle" is equally true. I also wonder is there a girlfriend he's serious about involved in his thinking? I'm not going to say anything stupid here just that that might be a factor too, and not one that is easily ignored in the consideration if there is. As to the types of options other than sailing, they vary by major - I posted in another thread my thoughts on that subject the information there may be somewhat germane to your question here:

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=21865

    Active Duty including USCG and NOAA both tend to have more "normal lives" in my opinion than sailing on your license. Also as noted by Navy1981 information from one or two particular shipmates can be pretty biased and often not factually based. That said hearing it repeated "early and often" will factor into your son's thinking. Additionally each ship and sailing option are different and if this is your son's first ship then my advice would be to stay through the entire current sailing period, return to school and sort things out when he's back there, but don't resign voluntarily until he knows where he's going to go next and why. Finally it's natural for Midshipman to ponder these questions during their sea years, after all isn't that what one of their primary purposes are?

    Good luck, sounds like you have a good perspective on this question and relationship with your son, I too wouldn't think of turning a deaf ear on this one.
     
  11. caligirl

    caligirl Member

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    KPMom2014- I received the same email from my son a month ago. 3.2 gpa, loves sailing, and seemed ok . Now isn't sure he wants to go back. Engineers on ship he is on right now are telling him if he wants to be involved with naval architecture and design, KP is not the right place. He's on the fence now. I do think if these cadets are living on a ship for 3-4 months and working for a person or people who have a negative view of KP or sailing in general( maybe they have regrets), that it is not surprising that they are questioning their plans.
    I've asked my son to seek advice from people in the field he is interested in.
    I wonder if there is a resource available where our midshipmen can seek out KP alumni who are now employed in fields they are interested in---anyone know?
     
  12. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited

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    Sometimes it's hard not to have a negative view.. The general health of the maritime industry is not good. The fact is we have an aging deepwater fleet with a declining number of ships. There are companies that are struggling to survive.
    For instance it wasn't but a few months ago Horizon Lines, one of the major American Flag carriers (they operate 20 ships), was facing the real possibility of bankruptcy. The company had been fined $45 million by the government for a price-fixing scheme and was close to defaulting on a $500 million debt obligation. And they're not out of the woods yet.
    That kind of uncertainty causes a great deal of anxiety for crews on the Horizon ships (and other 'stake holder' companies as well) and I'm sure permeates and colors their conversation. I'm also sure many cadets pick up on that and more than a few question their Merchant Marine career aspirations.. As far as the negative view of Kings Pointers, it probably didn't help their image around Horizon Lines when, with bankruptcy looming, Chuck Raymond (KP '65) took his retirement and a $2.3 million severance package all while the contract unions made wage and benefit concessions to try and keep the company afloat...
     
  13. TwinsDad

    TwinsDad Member

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    There are many opportunities

    One of my sons graduated SUNY Maritime College just across the bridge from Kings point. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Marine engineering and a US Coast Guard third assistant engineers license. The schools are quite similar one being a state school and the other a federal school. I have read that at maritime only about 30% of the graduates actually go to sea after graduation. We know of SUNY graduates that were employed by private engineering companies, utilities such as con Edison and some who have received a job and sent back to college for a Masters degree in management at the company's expense and while as an employee with full pay. The job opportunities from the schools are almost unlimited.

    In my son's case, he was offered a job with Knowles Atomic Power Laboratories as a teacher in October of his senior year. Upon graduation in May of this year, he was sent to South Carolina for six months of training in nuclear power plants. He is receiving full engineering salary and training is paid for by the company. Upon graduation, he will be working in the Albany New York area at a land-based operation teaching Navy personnel how to operate nuclear power plants for submarines. He is currently at school in Charleston South Carolina. We know of five other graduates that are in the school currently. For our civilians and one is a Navy ROTC graduate. Beginning in the October class, to graduates of Kings point are beginning their training. While the school itself primarily teaches Navy personnel, there are civilian students who will be teaching nuclear operations for both surface warfare and submarines. The civilian students will not be going to sea.

    USMMA is an excellent school and many opportunities will be available upon graduation. Many if not most college students upon graduation will be doing things that they had no idea of while they were in college. If he likes engineering then he is in a great school.
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I have flown with an AF pilot in the past several years...he's a KP grad. He decided after his sea studies...that he didn't like that lifestyle but loved the school and wanted to serve.

    So he commissioned USAF and went to pilot training.

    He now flies for the USAF Reserve and works "full time" with the US Customs Service as a pilot.

    He's not the first KP grad I've trained/flown with in the AF.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     

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