Thinking too far ahead?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by ET3toMid, May 25, 2016.

  1. ET3toMid

    ET3toMid New Member

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    Brief explanation before the main question:
    I was attending enlisted Nuclear Power School when I applied for the Academy. I was ecstatic when I found out I got in. Less so when they said I had too attend NAPS. I understand it is an honor to even be considered, but I am anxious to actually get to the Academy after being enlisted since October 2014. I will (fingers crossed) be in the commissioning class of 2021 (I'd be 25 years old). To exacerbate my worry I am interested in the Nuclear field which tacks on even more training time.

    How can I make the most of my time at NAPS, and later the Academy, to best set myself up for a rewarding career, and, possibly, marketability on the civilian side, given I will be significantly older than my colleagues? I feel as though I'm behind before I've even started.
     
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  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    NAPS is a great deal. The original purpose of NAPS was to help enlisted sailors transition to USNA and set them up for success. If you go in with a positive attitude, you're much more likely to be successful.

    First, take the opportunity to remember what it's like to attend school full time b/c that's what you'll do at USNA. NAPS will give you great prep for your plebe courses, help you develop good study habits, etc. As someone who returned to school, once you're away from it, it takes a bit of time to get back into the habit of studying, etc. NAPS will help with that.

    The military stuff will probably be familiar. Embrace that b/c you'll have classmates and roommates for whom the military is new. Help them. Start exercising leadership by showing them the ropes.

    As for your age . . . don't worry about it. The time you've spent in the Fleet will serve you well. You will be better prepared and more mature than your colleagues. If you focus on academics, that will put you ahead of the curve as well. Use your maturity to your advantage. Being older has benefits . . . if you use them.

    As for the civilian side . . . no worries. I spent 8+ years in the USN before embarking on an entirely new career. Those years were time well spent. It all seems overwhelming at your age. Trust me, once you reach the "other side," you will realize NAPS and USNA really set you up for life.

    Congrats! Enjoy! Have a positive attitude! And, in the end, if you don't think NAPS is benefiting you (which I think it will), figure out how YOU can help your classmates.
     
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  3. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    Consider where you will be in 2021. You will have a College degree, and if nuclear is your passion it could be a BS in nuclear engineering. And you will be an officer in the Navy, attending nuclear power school, with the opportunity to lead and manage. Yes you will be a little older than your colleagues, but you will also be more mature. When you leave the service your resume will set you up for management or engineering positions. The types of jobs you would not qualify for if you did not have a college degree or the management experience.

    Take advantage of your NAPS experience by studying hard and firming up any of your academic shortcomings. Work hard to understand the foundations in math/calculus, because a strong math foundation will make engineering classes easier. And even if you are doing well in your classes, seek out extra help or help others.

    You are in a great position, setting you up for a rewarding successful career.
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    ET3 - I already know you are a smart one if you are an ET. When I was a USNA BattO, many of the most successful leaders there were prior enlisted. They didn't struggle with the military stuff, their maturity allowed them to escape some of the impulse-driven boneheaded decisions of younger classmates and they usually had a great sense of humor about being lumped in as a plebe with 17 year olds. Priors season the Brigade with salt.

    As far as being a grave's-edge-teetering ancient of 25 when you graduate and head to the Fleet and Corps, and then out to the civilian work world at some point, do NOT spend a moment's thought on that. It will not be an issue; it's a mere handful of years. You will be valued for what you can do by that point.

    Copy this thread somewhere and pull it out when you are a successful O-3, and have a good laugh. Age becomes a relative concept and much more elastic at 30.
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    An add-on.... One of our USNA sponsor mids came right out of enlisted nuke pipeline. He went to NAPS. He did extremely well at USNA, not a whisper of conduct or performance trouble, and earned distinction during the Commissioning Week Prizes and Awards Ceremony for "that midshipman with an enlisted background with the highest academic standing in an engineering major." Got a sword for that. After graduation, he co-presented and published a paper with a USNA prof at an international engineering conference in Germany. He was one of the few grads allowed to go directly to graduate school, attending two years at a prestigious university known for its engineering school. It's a name that would make you say "oh." He then went to the 2-year nuke pipeline, and after playing a bit of catch-up to his same-rank peers on his first boat, he is a top-ranked sub officer. Enormous potential awaits him in or out of the Navy. He was very humble, saying he had enlisted to get away from a bad family situation and no expectation of college, and he had to pinch himself most days. He had a great sense of humor about his Ancient Mariner status at USNA. His company nickname was "Sea Dad."
     
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  6. ET3toMid

    ET3toMid New Member

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    Thanks for the great responses guys. This was my first post on this forum, and you have all been very motivating. I look forward to contributing.
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    You are most welcome. With your positive attitude, you will be fine. Your biggest challenge will be to keep the eye-rolling internal when you have peers less mature than you.

    Your future inputs here as a NAPSter, a plebe, a mid and a grad will help others, if you are inclined to contribute.
     
  8. Full Steam

    Full Steam Member

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    I agree with Capt MJ on the idea that age isn't really a factor after a certain point. When everyone is in their initial training, it may seem like someone who is a few years older stands out, but I saw a lot of variety in age and experience in the Navy. I worked with other LTs who were a decade older than I was, because they were LDOs or had done an enlisted commissioning program. I had people working for me who had joined the Navy after several years of college rather than straight out of high school. Some people shift between active duty and reserves and are much older than their rank would suggest. One friend of ours joined the Navy as a medical officer after spending many years as a civilian emergency room doctor. His nickname was The Ancient Mariner.
     
  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Here's my take. You're enlisted "in the Navy..." (Cue the Village People)....and you've been out of school a bit...here's your chance to get back into the academic arena with an appointment to Annapolis at the end.

    What part of "Hallelujah" did you miss? :)

    You have a NICE deal...rejoice and be glad!!!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    AND - if I recall correctly, even though your 4 years at USNA will not count for O-1 pay purposes, your enlisted time will. So, I think you will graduate as an O-1 over 2 years - treat yourself to a look at the pay tables on DFAS.
     
  11. VanGoose

    VanGoose Member

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    Congrats on getting accepted to NAPS!
     
  12. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO Member

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    Some good gouge from Capt MJ and USNA1985 . NAPS is a great program and 10 years from now, the time spent irrelevant. I went to NAPS direct from HS; and I remember thinking I was "wasting a year" when I got the offer. I can unequivocally state that is was the best thing that ever happened to me -- I got my chops busted at NAPS (almost failed out), but learned how to study and manage time. My Plebe year was easier because of that experience (it wasn't easy, but NAPS got me ahead of the power curve, and I did well my entire time at USNA).

    The one caution I would give you is to be patient, and not worry about timing and take some of what happens at USNA with a grain of salt . Several of those who came from the fleet left NAPS and USNA because they viewed some aspects of the NAPS/USNA experience as petty Bu!!Sh!! There was alot of BS at NAPS/USNA, and I suspect that the effect was amplified when viewed from the perspective of someone who has been in the real world for a few years.

    Embrace your experience, use it to help your classmates understand and get through some of the BS , and you will turn out like Capt MJ's sponsor mid-- I still thank my NAPS roomate (an ET3 nuke himself) for helping me get through NAPS.
     
  13. Saints

    Saints Member

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    ET3,

    There are several of us priors that were accepted that will be older than that when we graduate . There is a fb page "NAPS Class of 2017" where you can post questions and recieve answers . Also, it's a great way to start connecting with the class mates . See you at NAPS .
     

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