Stop Out between 3 degree & 2 degree year?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Zook, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. Zook

    Zook New Member

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    I am trying to find out some information about something I read called a Stop Out. It allows cadets to take a 1 year break between the 2nd and 3rd year to help them decide about a career in the AF.

    My cadet is very torn about staying and making a commitment for the next 7 years because the career of choice is not available at the Academy.

    I think a year away from the Academy would really help clear up the confusion. Can anyone tell me more about a Stop Out?
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    When you say "career of choice is not available at the Academy", do you mean a specific educational major not available; or are you talking about an actual air force career not being available. If a certain "career" is not available at the air force, that's probably not going to change any time soon. As for a year off at the academy, I've seen people take a year off for medical/physical reasons as well as family situations back home. I've not heard of taking a year off to think about it. But I guess it's possible. I'm sure one of the 2 degrees or 1st degrees here might know that answer. Definitely a hard choice for a cadet. I hope they work it out. Mike....
     
  3. Zook

    Zook New Member

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    I will try and explain the career of choice dilema. My cadet wants to be an Occupational Therapist. This requires a Master's or PHD so there is no problem in choosing a major at the Academy. The problem is, the Air Force has OT's but right now they are bringing them in from outside of the Academy. The career choices for the class of 2010 included 3 spots for going to Grad school for Physical Therapists but none for OT. One of the Lt. Colonels in the Biology dept. basically said that the Air Force has OT's but you can't get there from here. Catch 22!

    This is why my Cadet is seriously considering leaving. The basic train of thought seems to have become if I can't do what I really want to do (even though the career of OT is in the AF) why would I want to put up with all the crap day after day.
     
  4. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I see. How about considering this.

    To be an occupational therapist, you correctly stated that it requires a Masters or PhD. In order to get there, you must have an undergraduate degree. So, in theory, the next 2 years really isn't a waste. School is school. However, the military will pay for continued education. Even if that meant getting your masters or PhD while on active duty. (Which is when the vast majority of military officers get their masters and PhD. Most don't get to go directly out of the academy). Then, after getting the Masters or PhD, they can "cross train" into occupational therapy. By which time, they would have probably made some contacts through the other medical fields at whatever base they are stationed at. However, if your cadet wants to pay for their remaining 2 years of undergraduate, as well as their graduate studies by leaving the academy, then that is definitely their choice.

    Now; that was my "objective" rational for staying at the academy. My "persona" and "non-objective" opinion is actually quite different. I believe that serving in military service is not only an honor, but a calling. It may not be a calling that you are born with, but it's definitely something that you should feel compelled to do. There are definitely some people that apply to the academy strictly for the education. Their opinion is that serving in the military is simply their way of "paying back" the government for the education. There's also some that come to the academy with the sole purpose of being a pilot. And when they find out they aren't pilot qualified, they want to leave. I've also seen some who were recruited athletes come to the academy, and when they didn't turn out to be the college star that they thought they should be, they left the academy. I can't really keep my opinion to myself on these decisions.

    Personally, the academy can NOT be a person's goal. It is simply a means, of many, of reaching your goal(s). If "Serving your country" isn't high on the priority list of why you're at the academy, which means having 2,3, or 4 jobs lined up because the NEEDS of the air force must come first; then maybe the military and an air force career isn't for this person; and maybe they should leave.

    But to end on the positive note that I tried to explain in the first paragraph, the vast majority of military officers work on their masters and PhD while on active duty. If your cadet does want to serve in the air force, then s/he might need to serve a couple of years in a different job while they're finishing up their masters degree, but they can still work towards becoming an occupational therapist. But if s/he really thinks that they are "putting up" with day to day crap; then they really don't know what they've gotten into. Military life isn't crap. If they don't see the reasons that they are going through this "Crap", I'm not sure they'll ever get it. S/he is in their 2nd year. It's the hardest year academically, but it's so much easier with the "Crap" than last year was. Hopefully s/he will figure out what is best for them. Hope it all works out. Mike....
     
  5. Zook

    Zook New Member

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    Couldn't agree with you more!

    Unfortunately it is difficult for my Cadet to see that right now and with the response from the professors about OT has put a negative light on the situation. She was very happy to go to the Academy and proud to serve in the medical field but now she doesn't see how that will happen. I understand that there is always more than one way to skin a cat but a 20 year old that is feeling beat down right now only see's what is directly in front of them. That is why I believe a year away would do wonders.

    I had read about a Stop Out on the Class of 82's web site and I also read about someone who took a year off and did mission work then came back. So this is why I am trying to educate myself more about the process.

    If only I could be 20 again and know what I know now. LOL
     
  6. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    Back 20 years ago, when I was at USAFA, they did have a Stop Out program, this is different from the break for "mission" work. Stop Out was for exactly what you are talking about. Kids would take a year off before deciding to quit all together. While I was there, the program was pretty successful, in that a high percentage returned a year later and finished up. It prolonged everything by a year, so they no longer graduated with the class they entered with. I have no idea if the program still exists, and I have no idea what you had to do to qualify for it, but I would look in to it for sure.
     
  7. Zook

    Zook New Member

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    Thank you. I will contact USAFA then to find out if it is still an option that is available.
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Your cadet should be able to ask their commander and find out a lot faster than you can.
     
  9. eagle36

    eagle36 USAFA Alumnus

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    USAFA no longer has "stop-out", at least not in the same fashion it used to be. As mentioned above, I would encourage your cadet to ask up the chain and see what can be done. I know people who have taken a year off to study elsewhere (not on a mission) and have been welcomed back. If your cadet is serious about the Air Force but not wanting to commit, perhaps she could work out something for a year where they would grant her the same deal that cadets on missions recieve. Worst thing that can happen is they tell her no and she has to decide sooner.
     
  10. Zook

    Zook New Member

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    I thank everyone for their input!
     
  11. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    In a related question: how long a break can a cadet take for mission work? I understand the Mormon cadets can do it - can cadets of other religions take off a similar amount of time for similar purposes?
     
  12. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Yes other cadets can take mission trips as well.
    I think they are usually 1 or 2 years.
     
  13. eagle36

    eagle36 USAFA Alumnus

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    several of my friends who are also Catholic did this. a couple did one year missions to Mexico, and I have another who will return in the fall with 2012 after two years in Guatemala.
     

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