thinking about leaving

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by rhaley9, Aug 27, 2012.

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  1. rhaley9

    rhaley9 Member

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    Hi There,

    I know it is early on, but I am pretty sure that i will be leaving after this first semester. I am a plebe, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I came here pretty much because of the "free" education, and I never had the true yearning to serve above all else. If someone could tell me how the process works and how much money I would possibly owe it would be very helpful. Everyone is telling me to put my head down and things will get better, but it isnt the tough days that bother me, I am just in the wrong place. Thanks so much
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    First off, as you acknowledge, it's VERY early in the process. I'm not going to try to change your mind but do consider that early plebe Ac Yr is probably the single worst time at USNA. That said, there are those for whom USNA and the USN/USMC is the wrong place.

    You're wise to at least stick it out through the first semester. If at all possible, consider doing the entire year as it's hard to transfer to a 4-yr college mid-year.

    In terms of process, I'll defer to a current mid or more recent grad. Basically, you alert your chain of command and then go through meetings with USNA leadership -- often including the Dant or Deputy Dant -- as well as a chaplain, etc. The goal is not to change your mind but to help you ensure leaving is what you really want to do.

    In terms of costs, you have to pay back the cost of your uniforms, etc. You can sell back uniforms to defray some of that cost. I have no idea what the amount owed would be today. You don't owe anything in terms of "tuition" etc., if you leave before starting your third year.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  3. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    Rhaley,
    Just about the day I joined this forum you posted you got your LOA. I remember your posts and it sure seemed that you were excited about more than just the free education. Even if you are now extremely down you seem like a pragmatic guy. Can you maybe at least hold off a year until you can transfer credits (and maybe have a bit 'o fun too).

    Positive vibes heading your way.....
     
  4. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    Hi rhaley,

    I resigned after my plebe year and transferred to a liberal arts college. (At the time, USNA was much less liberal-arty than it has become in some ways.) I went to USNA for reasons that wouldn't have served me or the Navy very well. The best way I can describe it is that nothing had ever been hard for me, and I wanted to do something hard with many other people who were up to doing hard things too. What I didn't anticipate was how pervasive the "plug and chug" was. I did just fine militarily and I had a 3.4 after my first semester (Calc III, Chem 2). It was also earlier in the process when women were rarer, so they (my chain) really tried to get me to stay. I figured out that I could do the four years, and I was convinced the academics would improve, but ultimately I did not want to be an officer in the U.S. Navy.

    I tell you this because if you are leaving for any other reason, I would urge you to keep thinking about your purpose (for being there or anywhere else). If you want to be an officer in USN/USMC, you are in the right place. You are wise to stay at least the semester. Echo what usna1985 wrote: if you stay a whole year, you incur no additional financial or service obligation, you continue to draw pay and repay initial costs, you accrue credits that transfer to other accredited colleges/unis.

    I would suggest talking to one of the chaplains whether or not you are particularly religious. (I was not at all, but they were a tremendous bunch of people.) They can help you clarify your reasons for leaving and help you as you formulate a plan of action, whatever that may be.

    The process is straightforward: alert your chain. You will have to submit a letter of resignation, then there's a certain order of outprocessing visits.

    Fair winds and following seas.
     
  5. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I went to the Naval Academy for all the wrong reasons, as well.

    But, I stuck around and found out something very surprising about myself that I didn't know - that serving my country actually seemed like something that I *might* want to do. The longer I stayed the better fit it seemed. I wasn't too excited about all the nautical stuff which is why I chose aviation. I wasn't all that jazzed about flying - mostly - I just didn't want to be on a ship or in a submarine. And then I found out something else about myself I didn't know - flying jets was cool! I liked it! I was good at it!

    And now I'm an airline pilot.

    Just by sticking it out, it all worked out for me. I look back on my brief naval career with found memories. I probably would've stayed in had the airline industry not had a huge hiring boom in the mid-80's.

    It's possible to attend the Naval Academy for the wrong reason and stay for the right reason. You can be transformed but you have to give it a chance. I'm not saying this happens to everybody, or, that it will necessarily happen with you. But it happens frequently.

    You're not the only person who came there for the wrong reason. Give yourself a chance to adapt and find out things about yourself that even you didn't know.
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    As far as the actual process goes, it's pretty simple. Talk to your squad leader. They'll work more of the details out with your Company Officer and can help you get the ball rolling.

    What to expect is that it will take forever. Everybody up the chain, from your CO to probably the DepDant+ will have to "counsel" you about your options and reasons. They want to make sure you're not leaving because you're being harassed or anything, but the end result is that it will take weeks. Expect that people in your company might ask you a lot of questions about why you're leaving and just be honest.

    You might find over the course of the semester that you change your mind and that's fine. Maybe talk to the youngsters and 2/C (in particular) in your squad or company or teachers that you trust and try to get different perspectives about life in the Navy and Marine Corps. As Memphis said, there are plenty of people who come to USNA for "the wrong reason" who figure it out and end up being great officers and loving their job.

    You also might find that you still don't want to be at USNA or serve in the USN/USMC. THAT IS ALSO FINE. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: if it's not for you, it's not for you. The world isn't split between Naval Academy grads and people who have amounted to nothing in life.

    Either way, keep your head up...and your grades. USNA classes don't always transfer (apparently) but your odds are better if you bring in decent marks. Blowing off seamanship is probably okay though.
     
  7. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Recommend staying until at least end of your first year for practical reasons. As USNA 1985 mentioned, hard to transfer to a regular college and if you plan it out you could transfer to a better college.

    More than likely your assessment of your situation is correct. However, what you are missing is the bigger picture. Many grads will tell you that Naval Academy is not the actual Navy. Depends on a perspective, it will be anywhere from 20 to 80% similiarities between the Naval Academy and the real Navy. For you say you don't want to be a Naval officer after few months at the Naval Academy, you are not making an inform decision.

    For me after graduating West Point, the real Army was very different from West Point.

    You already made a "wrong" decision (attending Naval Academy) based on your perception. So how do you know your perception is right this time (don't want be a Naval Officer)?
     
  8. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    That is exactly correct! I often use that logic to midshipmen who are contemplating leaving.

    In other words, you've already demonstrated you don't know yourself very well. Why don't you stay put (as most people do and their lives turn out just fine) and see if, through the passage of time (at least 2 yrs), you end up knowing yourself a little better and are thus able to make a more informed (and accurate) decision.
     
  9. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    I'll make this simple. You need to stick. Your challenge is likely not where you are so much as how you're addressing your circumstances. It's a reach for me or anyones here to go too far in offering counsel about a life-impacting decision. And this will be, either way. We simply don't know enough. Period. But on the situational surface, I venture that your greatest risk in walking away too soon is that you are feeding your need for a path of less resistance. And the real issue is that this can become habitual. This could become a debilitating reality in your life and source of enormous regret.

    And remember this. And this we know for sure. No matter what the reason, rightly or otherwise, fairly or unfairly, in the eyes of those who've helped you get to this specific point, and perhaps in your own mirror, you will for the rest of their lives and yours be seen, rightly or otherwise, as a quitter. That is a heavy badge to wear. Don't misjudge this one. Are you a quitter?

    If you've not gotten some tough love from home, find some. You need to confront this with courage and determination.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Garbage.

    About a third of kids leave a service academy. Some are kicked out. Some fail out. And finally some just leave.

    A service academy isn't for everyone. Service isn't for everyone.

    If you leave, don't lie to yourself or others. "It just wasn't for me" is perfectly acceptable. Making up an excuse to blame anyone/anything else doesn't fly.

    Before you make a decision though remember there is a good deal of finality with that decision. A guy in my parent's church left the Coast Guard Academy after two years. Says he regrets the decision to this day. I never thought of him as a "quiter". I know he wished he had put more thought into the decision.

    A service academy won't be fun, but it does get better. If your doubts have nothing to do with the pain or annoyance of USNA, and they have everything to do with you not wanting to be in the Navy or Marine Corps, then leaving is probably the right decision. If your doubts are based in the total BS you go through as a plebe... consider sticking it out.

    Don't entertain the BS about everyone thinking of you as a quiter. Make the decision for yourself and be honest about it. People will support you. It's a commitment you make in the end, not them. Once you make that decision, don't look back.
     
  11. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    While calling my opinion "garbage", you've provided a great illustration supporting such. Thank you.

    As noted, rightly or wrongly, fairly or otherwise, you've confirmed what some will forever think. As you've noted, one needs to be prepared to live with that reality.

    Thanks for your personal experience and vivid illustration, even as different as the Coastie experience is from USNA. Each place is unique.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Folks, this thread is quickly deteriorating. The OP asked HOW he should go about communicating his decision and the financial consequences thereof. He did not ask our opinions regarding whether he should or should not leave. There are those at USNA -- Chaplains, his chain of command, etc. -- who are MUCH better suited to advise him based on his individual circumstances.

    To the OP, "some" consider those who voluntarily leave a SA to be a "quitter." Many others realize that people need to be in a place where they are at least satisfied, if not happy, and for some a SA is just the wrong place to be. You have to make your own decision regarding what's right for you and not worry what some may think -- you'll never be able to control that. :smile:
     
  13. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    The U.S. Navy is full of people who should have quit, didn't and are miserable; and by extension, bad at their jobs. If you think being a naval officer will make you miserable... remove yourself from that situation.

    The question isn't about USNA.... that will end after four years. The question is, do you want to be in the Navy or Marine Corps after those four years? If the answer is no, then leave.

    There is no financial burden before the two-year mark.

    You chain of command will get you started in the process if that's what you decide to do.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Not taking sides either way, but how often do posters state we do not know you personally when it comes to questions like should I go USNA, USMA or USMA?

    A LOT!

    We do not know this person regarding what is going through their mind, and if we want to help them we should acknowledge that as fact. JMPO 0.0175234 cents, instead of discussing the quitter aspect, we should tell them that there are Chaplains at the USNA as usna1985 stated, maybe he should speak to them, because let's be honest, we don't know him personally. I am not saying it is a religious issue, but for some they may need personal guidance from some one that knows more about them than a site like this can offer. Someone they can have one on one conversations that is there right now with them at the USNA.

    I get the posts are made with best intentions illustrating to the OP that tons of mids before him felt this way, but what if he has come to realize that it is just not for him. What if, rhaley is being honest in his post.
    He is stating his reason was money, do you still think he should stick it out? Does your opinion change with that one tiny statement?

    Maybe if he sticks it out his perspective will change, but I think we should also stress to him to talk to his folks. Come Dec or May whatever his decision is will not impact anyone of our lives. We will move onto the next thread. It will impact his family's life. He has stated this was his path financially to attend college, not to become an officer. His decision may come with financial burdens. Again, why he should seek out counseling. 18 being seen as a quitter by some, going into debt is hard for a 50 yo parent to deal with let alone an 18 yo kid.

    One thing I will say is to state that he can wait until May to apply for next yr is wrong. Most colleges will require transfer applicants to apply in the fall, it is just the school's decision is usually later than HS applicants because they are waiting for Fall semester grades that come out at the end of Dec. MPO is he needs to at least decide if he waits until after Xmas be prepared that it may be too late to apply for fall semester at his college choice, thus CC maybe the only option for a semester.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012
  15. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

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    Um no. I've never looked down or held harsh feelings about someone who's left the Academy and don't think of them as "quitters." I have more respect for the people who look around and say "Hey, you know maybe this isn't for me" than for the people who stick it out, are miserable, and drag everyone else down.
     
  16. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    My $.02: Nobody can tell the OP what he ought to do here as none of us are in the position or in a position to see first hand what is driving him. Having said that though- WhistlePig is, I think giving him some things to think about before he makes his decision. The OP really does need to ensure that he is not just reacting to what is right now the lowest point in a Cadet or Mid's experience (and is designed to be so). Clearly there are people who are not suited for the life either at an academy or in the service- but he ought to make certain that he's not just packing it in because things look bleak right at the moment. In the not too distant future- most folks perception of where they are, what they have to look forward to and what they want to accomplish will change again. Many of us- (in fact probably most of us) regret quitting something that in retrospect we wish we had not, because we were closer to success than we realized at the moment or because we belatedly recognized that what we disliked was a temporary condition.
    Nobody can tell him what he ought to do- but certainly those with some experience can tell him things that he really ought to review himself before he takes an irrevocable step. It's neither the end of the world nor is it dishonarable to stop doing something you aren't suited for or just dislike doing. But make sure.
     
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Exactly.

    I left the Coast Guard a little over a year ago. I did 6 months at a PR firm, and, because I was very unhappy with the federal contract I was on at DHS, left for a new position.



    I "missed" the Coast Guard for probably six months. There are still aspects of it, some memories, that make me smile. I haven't regretted leaving though.

    I certainly didn't regret leaving the firm I was at. I couldn't be happier.

    Case in point, whatever decision you make, this is life beyond that decision. Some decisions you may regret for awhile. Some couldn't make you happier.

    As other have said, figure out what's making you unhappy and what can be done to change that. The decision is yours. The Naval Academy has sent plenty packing, so they'll be able to help you leave, but if there's someone you want to bounce your ideas/feelings off of, they have people for that too.
     
  18. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    From what I heard the Naval Academy is reflecting the overall Navy's effort to downsize. They don't waste too much time in out processing them like they used to.

    "You want to quit? OK - fine! Sign here. See ya later, alligator!"

    During this past Plebe Summer, I heard that any Plebe who wanted to quit was taken off to Tango Company, given a token amount of "counseling" and they were gone in 4 days. Unprecedented!

    They're not going to beg you to stay or make you feel like they (the Navy) is suffering some great loss.

    "Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on your way out" - is their new attitude.

    "There's plenty more from where you came from."

    You're not special.
     
  19. icarus

    icarus Member

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    During BCT my DS's two room mates quit and outprocessed. It was just a matter of days.
    My DS sent me broken name plates from their rooms and explained that it was stomped on by the cadre for wasting slots that could have been filled by countless worthy applicants who were turned away. My DS instructed me to mail him back the shattered name plates when and if he mentions anything about leaving to remind him how they felt about those who signed up and quit. Hopefully as motivation to not do the same.
    The application process is long and tedious. It's not a snap decision to enter any SA. To change one's mind because of whatever reason they just thought of now is just plainly a waste of time of the academy and everyone else that facilitated the acceptance.
    At any rate, it's better to decide to quit now than later. Good luck to you and your hopefully your making the right decision that you won't regret later.
     
  20. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    Wow...only took til page 2 before the poor kid got cut to shreads.
     
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