Still Deciding

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by hoopjack13, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Can anyone offer any guidance/insight about making the decision to attend a service academy or not? I went on the appointee tour a couple weeks ago and also visited campus this summer. I have spent a lot of time reading different posts on this forum and I just want to make the best decision for my future. I can't sit here and say "yes there is zero doubt in my mind that I want to be an officer in the military". And I think that is very hard to do for any 18 year old and especially one that does not have a military background within his/her family. However, I can absolutely see myself loving the academy and developing a passion for becoming an officer in the Air Force. I just don't know that yet because I have not lived that lifestyle. Anyone have any advice? If you need to know anything more about my personality or motivations please feel free to ask. Thanks.
     
  2. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    Wow. You don't ask the easy questions, do you?:smile:

    Seriously though, this is a question that only you can answer. So ask yourself this: What motivated you to apply in the first place and was that a good reason? If you give up this opportunity, will you be kicking yourself for the rest of your life, or is this just another college choice?

    My husband is a USAFA grad (bet you couldn't figure that out!) and he had no prior exposure to the military. The culture was a shock to him, but he never regretted his decision. I've also met someone who was 100% sure this was right for them, and it turned out that it wasn't.
     
  3. Dad

    Dad Member

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    BEST.ADVICE.EVER. :thumb:
     
  4. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Thank you for the reply! I definitely think I would regret turning down my appointment. I feel like I would always be asking myself what could have been if I went to an academy. Unfortunately, part of me feels the same about what college memories/opportunities I would miss out on if I go to a service academy.
     
  5. perfecteau

    perfecteau Member

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    I think your attitude says the most about whether or not you will succeed at the academy. If you are the type that can be happy in the most unpleasant circumstances, or can find the fun in any situation, then you will do great at the academy (at least the first year, which is, according to my son, rather unpleasant). If you will have the grass is greener thoughts and be jealous of all your regular friends partying it up at their regular colleges, you may not survivie the first year. You need to be able to just accept what the military dished out to you without getting glum about your expectations not necessarily being met. But, if you can roll with it pretty well, graduating from there will be a source of pride that none of your regular friends will be able to equal. IMPO
     
  6. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    I think you just answered your own question.

    As for college memories - I guarantee that you will have plenty of great memories and life-long friends. When I married my husband, I had no idea that I was marrying into an academy family. All of his buddies welcomed me as if I had been their friend since childhood. I wouldn't give them up for anything. They're the best people I know.
     
  7. Dad

    Dad Member

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    It is rare that an individual is not conflicted when making a life-altering decision. This one HAS TO BE made by YOU and YOU alone. If you were to choose to get off the bus on I-Day you will look for a 100 reasons to escape. You have to be sure you want to be at USAFA for the right reasons. The Academy and your Nominator seem to think you are an ideal candidate to train to become an officer in the World's Greatest Air and Space Force. That being said, if it continues to trouble you there way be underlying reasons.

    Just a suggestion: Make a T-Chart with the benefits of attending USAFA on one side and the benefits of attending civilian college on the other. Do the same with the downside of each. Also, have a frank conversation with your ALO and current/former cadets you know or have heard of. You will probably never be at 100% certain without experiencing it, but you will have a solid understanding about what you're willing to sacrifice in order to get what you want. Also, USAFA is only a brief 4 years of your life (of course it seems much longer). You will survive either way

    Best wishes on your journey! :thumb:
     
  8. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    Hey there -- Despite the fact that my husband is a grad, he got out of the AF after 6 years, so no military influence for my kid whatsoever. My daughter's first exposure to USAFA was at his 30th reunion her junior year in high school. She was offered a full ROTC scholarship to Yale before she got her appointment. We were sure she'd go to Yale. She then sat my husband and me down and told us she was accepting her appointment to USAFA because she wanted to be more than just another smart kid at a good school. She wanted to challenge her "whole self" and she knew the Academy would do that. She wanted different. She was also used to structure and discipline as an athlete all her life, so she wasn't afraid of it. Now, she's a rising junior and so far has had a great experience. There is not a day that she regrets her decision. She'd like to go to grad school and may be able to attend a cool university and maybe experience the traditional college campus then, but she would never be able to experience the cadet years at any other time.
    But for every story like hers, there's a story about someone who thought it was right for them but wasn't. So as the previous folks said, you really have to dig deep inside you and think about what want from the next few years. Good luck and best wishes. PM if you'd like to talk.
     
  9. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Thanks a lot everyone! In my two seasons as a varsity basketball player I had a combined record of 1-55. Each of them took place during Minnesota winters and when I happened to have my hardest courses of the year... plus studying for the ACT. Many people on my team quit during my junior year.. started with 18 guys and ended the season with 12. I never lost sight though and found enjoyment in every way I could. I still had time to hang with friends on the weekend and maintain an awesome relationship with my girlfriend. I am starting to realize that these experiences might be a good sign about the academy and what I really want out of life. If you told an 8th grader that he had to be a 3 sport athlete, take the hardest classes, volunteer, and maintain excellence in everything he's involved in.. the kid would think you're nuts! However, high school has been amazing and I have enjoyed every minute of it! I think I would walk away from the academy with a similar satisfaction.
     
  10. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Sometimes, though, it's the little things that get me. I have been dating a girl for about 7 months now and we were planning to fly out to her condo in Breckenridge this summer with her parents. It's apparently really cool and even has a hot tub (my favorite). However, the trip is planned from June 26-30. Obviously those 4 days are nothing compared to the rest of my life but son of a gun I just get an aching feeling in my gut when I think about missing that along with the rest of my summer. I have always thought of college as a new adventure and a time to really discover who you are as a person. I'm afraid that the academy's regimented schedule will just be too much for me sometimes. Then again, there will be so many new experiences for me there and awesome opportunities
     
  11. perfecteau

    perfecteau Member

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    Some days it will be just too much, but luckily, soon an new day arrives and it gets better. There are very tough days though.
     
  12. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    "the trip is planned from June 26-30. Obviously those 4 days are nothing compared to the rest of my life but son of a gun I just get an aching feeling in my gut when I think about missing that along with the rest of my summer."

    You got that right: a decision to accept your Appointment to the Academy will impact the rest of your life - whereas what you do this summer with your GF will impact, well, the rest of this summer. You've got to think long term. Sometimes you need to look at delayed gratification in order to reap the greatest rewards. Heck, if they have a place in Breck, there will probably be many other opportunities in the future to spend time there as an upperclass cadet.

    DS had the same dilemma - an opportunity for a (mostly) full ride at Boulder with an AFROTC scholarship. Understanding the strict environment at the Academy, we were certain he'd take it. Then, at the very last minute he decided on USAFA. Has he loved every minute? No. Did he feel like he was missing out on some college "fun"? Yes, but only in the beginning. He's more than made up for it with earning his jump wings, travel, skiing almost every weekend in the winter, a healthy savings account, and a girlfriend he met last year at a nearby college. There are trade-offs. You just need to decide that if you go for it - go with everything you've got. In the end, it will be more than worth it. DS heads to pilot training after graduation next month - a dream since he was 9 & saw the Thunderbirds fly.

    It's all about priorities and the big picture. It's also a decision no one can make for you. You'll be wondering "what if" no matter what path you choose. Good luck - AIM HIGH!
     
  13. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    I am not trying to be judgmental, but if you're thinking about how BCT is gonna wreck your summer with your girlfriend of 7 months, I think that's pretty telling. You will miss out on many things for the next 4 summers. You will only get 3 weeks of leave, and sometimes you don't even get that if you do summer school, CSLIP or some other special program. Your Christmas break will be substantially shorter than your peers; you will be back at your dorm room when your friends are still partying. That aching feeling in your gut is gonna be huge on Day 3 of BCT when you could've been in Breckenridge but instead some 20 year old is yelling at you because you have a loose thread on your uniform. And your gf won't be talking to you on the phone regularly for a long time.
    Good luck with your decision, but I don't think your heart is in USAFA. Your head is telling you that it is the best thing for you, but your heart is not.
     
  14. cybersnyder

    cybersnyder Member

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    If a dip in the hot tub is a consideration versus the opportunity at the Academy, maybe you really don't want to go and are looking for an excuse. It's a tough decision, I get it. No way to predict the future.

    *Not a psychologist, but I play one on the Internet.
     
  15. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Never said a dip in the hot tub is a consideration against going to the academy, or that BCT will "ruin my summer" that trip was just one example of fun things I would be missing out on this summer. I simply said sometimes it's the little things that give me a pang of sadness. Thank you to everyone for the input though!
     
  16. mja2014

    mja2014 Member

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    I feel you man, I gave up a trip with my girlfriend camping in Michigan, gave up a trip with my best friend to Europe for a month, gave up having fun all summer with my friends, and gave up working the job I love. But guess what, that doesn't matter to me anymore, I've wanted to go to the AFA my whole life, I've worked my hardest to make sure I got my application in early and perfect, and I've tried my hardest to get an appointment to the AFA. I knew what I was getting into and I followed through with it. Sure you may miss out on fun times, but looking back at it, you may regret not going to the academy. You showed the admissions board and your community that you wanted this and that you deserved this, don't let them down. And hell if you don't like it then you don't need to stay, you can leave after your freshman year if you'd rather be somewhere else. It's a lot easier to transfer out of the academy to another school than to go to a civilian college and reapply for an appointment that YOU ALREADY HAVE Hope to see you June 26th, best of luck

    -mja2014


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  17. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    hoopjack13, stop thinking about all the stuff you will miss and think about all the things you can do. Will your experience be different than your high school friends, absolutely! But what do you want to get out of school, life? Trust me when I say you will make the best friends of your life while at a SA. 9 times out of 10 these are the people that will be by your side when you are married, children are born, tragedy, and life's great moments. Freshman year is demanding. Don't judge the entire USAFA expierence on that one year. Things get much better after that and your free time becomes much more yours than the system's or someone else's. Some parents and Cadets have mentioned all the great things they or ther DS/DD have done in while at USAFA. Are those the things more important to you than the "normal college experience"? Don't trade the opportunity of a lifetime (if USAFA is the rigt place for you) for the chance of a lifetime. Because guess what... yeah you might not get to hang out with your girlfriend for 4 days, but you will have learned what you are made of, how much you can truly push yourself and start the journey to an officer instead.
     
  18. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Thanks guys means a lot. Great insight. I know for a fact I would regret passing up my opportunity at a service academy. And the whole missed summer trip is just something that brought me down a little bit the other day. I know the academy experience is worth much more than that
     
  19. cybersnyder

    cybersnyder Member

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    I don't want to try to sway you either way, it has to be your decision, but I'll violate my impartiality a little by saying, "Good!" ;)

    Don't tell her, but I'm very proud of my daughter on her appointment (and a little jealous).
     
  20. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

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    Haha thank you cyber. I definitely catch my parents going on about the benefits of the Air Force Academy a little longer than Notre Dame or Chapel Hill. My uncle doesn't even try to hide it. I make sure to always remember it's my decision though and I am going for my own benefit!
     

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