Second Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Buddy, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    I'm going to try to post this so as not to be too revealing re my child's identity. Anyway, after being singlemindedly focused on a service academy all year and doing all the hard work to get an appointment, he is now having second thoughts. Is this usual? He didn't want to visit any of the colleges he had applied to; now he wants to visit a couple. Seems pretty stressed and preoccupied. Worried about what he will be giving up with either decision. I am somewhat floored because he was so happy when he got the appointment. He knows he has to decide for sure by the end of the month. I don't want to keep asking him about it-- in fact, he seems to resent that his last months of high school are clouded by this stress and he does not appear to want to talk about his decision. Any thoughts?
     
  2. jennyp

    jennyp Parent

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    Take a deep breath.....and let him think it over. Deciding to attend any SA is a huge decision. Way bigger than attending State U. Visit the SA of his choice again. Yes, it is worth the expense. The last thing you want is your son to begin at a SA wondering if it was the right choice.
     
  3. Academy_Questions

    Academy_Questions Member

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    i know this is coming from someone who is just beginning the app process, but it seems that his "second thoughts" would be normal and healthy.

    I have wanted to attend an SA since 8th grade, and been actively pursuing it since then. and despite all the research and insight i have to the academies, and how completely SET i am on going there, a few months ago, i all of a sudden just wanted to scope out "back-ups" more thoroughly.

    I wanted to decide if I really wanted to give up a "normal life". not simply, for college, but in my future.

    That lasted about a day or two. the more i looked into other colleges and careers the more I realized that it is my place to attend an SA and serve my country.

    So i don't know if this serves as any reassurance, but seeing as your son has put in the drive and the effort to get where he is and has proved himself in gaining an appointment, I'm sure he just needs that realization and will make his decision knowing it is the RIGHT one. : )

    *as an old air force officer once said to me: "if I can talk you out of an SA (USAFA, in this case), then you shouldn't go"
    -I bet as your son "tries" to "talk himself out of it", he'll find he CAN'T! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  4. firemanvin

    firemanvin Member

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    My son had wanted to go to USNA since he was in eight grade, but never was able to articulate why (at least to me). I thought service academies were not for regular people like us, so I told him it was a long shot at best. Well he saw that as a challenge and he will be reporting to duty on July 1, 2009. He had one wavering last summer. I’m pretty sure it was over a girl. His LOA in October overshadowed his visits to two top colleges. He was bored during both visits. He did not even apply to one of them, and the one that he did apply to, offered him a 50% scholarship. I think he misplaced the envelope. CVW in October threw him right over the edge and into the arms of USNA. I never actually got an answer as to why he wants to go USNA so bad, but I figured it out. An SA student is a “challenge seeker” through and through.

    So, that is the long story to a shorter answer. If your son is a challenge seeker and embraces the challenge of becoming a leader in the United States military, then help him get through the second thoughts, steering him in the direction of a service academy, because he will never be happy at a civilian college. He must also be prepared to give up his life as he has known it. Everything will be about service to others, and not about him. Is he prepared for this? Lastly, is he prepared to lay his life down for others? To a challenge seeker, the reward of succeeding at a service academy is unmatchable.

    If he’s more interested in the education / degree than the leadership, he should forget about a service academy. An SA graduate is a military leader first. The profession that comes with the degree takes a back seat to this.

    Oh yea, if it happens to be about a girl, I’d put my money on the service academy. Girls come and go, but the opportunity is once in a lifetime.

    One other thing; there is nothing wrong with taking the civilian route. My older son is in his third year of college. I am equally as proud of him as I am of my son that will be going the SA route this July.

    I hope this helps.
     
  5. dtkdarnoc

    dtkdarnoc Member

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    SA 2nd thoughts

    We haven't had to face this part of the equation, but the reason we never pushed for the academy or ROTC at all was the decision to go "military" has the potential to put the kid in harm's way. Still yet, with an appointment in hand, we have not allowed him to send "rejection letters" to the other schools he'd applied to. Frankly, we are in 'guilt avoidance' mode, as we would never forgive ourselves if we pushed him into this career and the unfortunate happened.

    Until hard deadlines come, we aren't closing doors. If our son wanted to make another run at the civilian schools, we'd have him there tomorrow, for our sake as well as his.

    Having said all this, we believe there is no better place in the world for him to be than the Air Force through the Academy. We are humbled and proud to be (very soon) Air Force Academy Cadet parents. We are 100 % behind his decision to accept his appointment, so long as that is what he wants. Two years ago, we know there were appointees who got on the bus that quit before they got off the bus - that's no good for anyone.

    Best of luck to you and yours - may everything happen for the best.
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    It's natural to have some doubt about entering a SA. I think most of us who've been through it have wondered, at various points, what the heck we were doing, why we were doing it, and what if we'd gone to that nice civilian school.:smile:

    However, some candidates have serious doubts and ultimately feel they are being "forced" to attend a SA -- either b/c their family, school, friends, etc. are strongly encouraging them, b/c it's financially the best option, or a related reason. Many of those candidates end up starting at a SA and leaving very quickly.

    To me, entering a SA is not unlike getting married. It's a huge commitment -- emotionally, legally, etc. Thus, it's natural to have a bit of angst. However, if the wedding day is approaching and you aren't sure this is what you want, better to back out before taking the vows -- even if you've booked the venue, sent out the invites, bought the dress, etc. Ultimately, it's a lot easier than having to go through the divorce.

    Same is true about an SA -- better to decide before I-Day that it's not for you than to wait until August or October or some other time when the civilian college option is harder to implement. I suggest you try to talk with your son about the source(s) of his concerns -- is he worried about lack of freedom, military commitment, lack of "fun", limited majors, etc. He may want to talk with his BGO again. And he should visit the civilian schools.

    The one reasons he should NOT -- absolutely NOT -- attend a SA is because "everyone is counting on him" to do it. Many candidates feel a certain momentum from family, teachers, classmates, friends, etc. that just pushes them along until one day they're at the SA and miserable. Resist that urge.
     
  7. popeyesmom

    popeyesmom Member

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    My son has told me to stop asking him, "Are you sure this is what you want?" "You know, if you decide not to go, it is okay." He had a meltdown about 2 weeks ago after the appointment arrived---all the doubts about whether he was good enough, etc...... He got past it in a day or 2 (not doubts about what he wanted, but doubting himself). He prayed about it, talked it out, and signed the papers.....now he just wants to get going.

    I think it is healthy to question and work through all the reasons he is chosing this life. I basically told him, if you are doing this because you think people would be disappointed in you if you don't go, if you are afraid that they put you on a pedestol and that you may get knocked off....screw (oops, did I say that) what anyone else thinks......this is your life and you are the one paying for it.

    I did tell him that the Academy has been doing appointments for a long time....I think they know who has the best shot at succeeding and who does not, who has the "raw materials" that can be molded....they believe in you and we believe in you. But baby you got believe in you.....because you are gonna get knocked down so that you can be built back up to become a leader that the Navy can use. You better hope they find your cracking point so that it can be fixed before you get out there with men and women depending upon you. You can't crack then.
     
  8. Mindy G

    Mindy G Member

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    I think second thoughts on all big decisions and life changes are natural. Attending an SA is a huge move. I would quickly visit some colleges, hang out, kid watch. my son wants the professionalism of an academy. He is bored by non motivated peers. A visit to the SA or a call to a current student may help. I would not question but be supportive and let him work it out. Just tell him to follow his heart without worrying what others may think or say. I know as a parent whose son has started to count down, it is very hard.
     
  9. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    We went through the "buyer's remorse" phase about two weeks ago, right after one of those "last" high school senior year activities. In my son's case, I think it was because what he's going to do is so radically different from what his friends are going to do - a lot of them aren't even going a distance for college, let alone opt for the service academy environment. We stayed up with him until the wee hours of the morning, talking it through - he kind of reminded me of the Dustin Hoffman character in American Graffiti. I think it's entirely natural to have second thoughts, wondering if you've made the right decision - the service academy environment just adds a different dimension to the issue.
     
  10. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    This is just the beginning of the roller coaster of ups and downs that you and your child will have over the next four years. This is completely normal.

    You should talk to JamzMom, she's got some doozies :)
     
  11. Lilly

    Lilly Member

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    Second thoughts indeed...

    Son is in similar situation with wavering on decision.

    He thought he was D'Qed for AFA, no waiver, but got reconsidered, override, and appointment offer still stands. Everything rosey, right?

    No, during the interim the natural protective tendency to rationalize kicked in. Figured if they didn't want him, he didn't want them either. What else could you expect?

    But, ever so gradually desire for the AFA seems to be coming back ( "Off we go..." is his ring tone, uses the AFA mug for coffee, wearing AFA t-shirt). He is going to one of the orientation sessions, but also going to visit a couple of civilian colleges. Knowing the boy and his buttoned-up character and attitude, I'm betting the civilian colleges will be disappointing.

    All I can do is listen, tell him my views on pro and cons, tell him no matter where he goes, I'm backing him all the way. :thumb:
     
  12. triplemmom

    triplemmom Member

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    Love that movie, but had to go look it up....Richard Dreyfus....:wink:
     
  13. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    You're right - it was late at night and maybe I was thinking of "The Graduate":eek:
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Second thoughts are very normal. They increase the more you learn about the reality of the day to day life at a service academy. Second thoughts even have a place while you're at an academy. I wouldn't be worried about it. Two things may happen. First, after really looking at the second thoughts, he may say "hey, I'm going to do it. I know it may not be fun, I may hate my life now and then, and I may want a real college experience BUT I'm going to stick it out." OR after second guessing, he may say "this route isn't for me. I still want to be in the armed forces, but I'll get there another route."

    There is a reason so many people don't do the full 4 years, and one of those reasons is "second thoughts". It's a very legit reason. It's up to him/her though, anyone attending an academy for someone else...they will find it very hard to dig deep and figure out a reason to stay through the tough times.
     

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