VMI or Citadel and not accepting a commission?

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Gflax17, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Gflax17

    Gflax17 New Member

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    Hey everyone, I've been on these fourms just reading and stuff for a couple of months, but I have a question. Okay, so I have asthma, which I know is disqualifying for the military, but I'm hoping to get a waiver, but I was wondering:

    What are the uses of a military college experiance if you can't/don't accept the commission, is it still useful, or would a civilian college be a better choice if one can't join the military?

    Thanks
     
  2. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Well I sure hope it's useful, otherwise I'll be thoroughly up a crick when I graduate in 18 days and a wakeup! :eek: :biggrin:

    Sorry I can't be too in-depth, just swung by to see if anyone had posted anything... now I'm back to writing research papers until I die. The curse of a liberal arts major: I only have three final exams, because I've spent the last month busting my hind end on research papers and presentations.

    I'll work on a response as I can...
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Well- from my perspective you are better prepared to face a world that challenges you because you have already been placed in a very challenging environment and have succeeded. You will have learned about how you deal with multiple competing obligations and how you deal with others in a high pressure environment. You will have come out of a system in which your word is assumed to be your bond, and people will not be checking over your shoulder constantly after you have performed your duty. I will tell you that as a manager, finding an honest employee with a sense of urgency, the ability to juggle multiple tasks, prioritze them and do what they have obligated themselves to do is fairly rare. To find one who can lead others in a challenging environment as well is even rarer. The system at VMI and the Citadel is designed to teach you to rise above yourself, to recognize that the highest value is not your own well being but rather is the honorable thing that benefits your peers and subordinates. I did go into the Army for 20 or so years after I graduated but I believe that my VMI ties would have served me equally as well outside the Army. Companies from all industries often send managers to leadership courses which seek to duplicate what you will graduate with.
    Finally, the Alumni connections that you will make graduating from VMI (or the Citadel) are as strong or stronger than any other school in the country. Your Brother Rats will do anything for you - and that is true 30 years after graduation as well as 30 days after graduation, and you will find that you will shared expereriences with alumni who are 35 years your senior. Those ties will count for a lot in your future in whatever endeavor you wind up in.
    Honestly, I would not have gone to VMI if I didn't want to be a soldier- but once there- I would not have left and have come to believe that there is no better preparation for a career than what you will have walked away with from VMI whether you go into the military or not.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  4. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Yes.

    ROTC will give/improve the following skills:

    1) Dicipline - controlling yourself, behaving better, following a code, wearing the uniform. You will be held to a higher standard than "normal" college kids when people see you in uniform.
    2) How to work with a chain of command.
    3) Leadership - how to work with superiors and subordinates.
    4) Teamwork - how to be part of something larger than yourself. How to depend on others and work as a unit.
    5) Proper Courtesy - you will learn to respect others and how to talk to superiors without getting yelled at.
    6) You will learn to take responsibility for your own actiones, accept mistakes, improve yourself, and think of different ways to do things.
    7) You will be part of a team 24/7 as oppose to just during practice.

    ROTC is one of the best things out there whether commissioning or not.
     
  5. Gflax17

    Gflax17 New Member

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    Thanks for the replys everyone, I personally plan on attending an academy, or a school like the citadel or VMI and I plan on accepting a commission, but if it doesn't work out that way, I see the values instilled in me will be a reward all its own.

    Thanks :D
     
  6. vanesssa99

    vanesssa99 New Member

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  7. RahVaMil2009

    RahVaMil2009 Member

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    Mandatory commissioning at VMI and The Citadel came to an end in the early 90s. Both schools saw a surprising drop in commission rates once it was no longer a requirement. I'm not sure about The Citadel, but 56% of the VMI Class of 2009 received their commissions (both active duty and Guard/Reserves) on May 15th. I know several more who will be commissioned within a year through OCS, OCC and other post-graduation commissioning programs. GEN Peay's goal is to reach a 70% commission rate by 2039, and we're making steady progress toward that goal.

    Every cadet has a different reason for going to an SMC. Here are just a few:

    Tradition. I know a guy who's a fifth generation VMI man. Was he really going to drop the family tradition, the rite of passage that tied the men in his family together?

    Structure. I know a few biology majors who are interested in going on to med school. They knew that if they went to a normal school, they'd get too caught up in partying and wouldn't have the grades they needed to get in to a good school. Same goes for a few who want to go to law school.

    Adventure. Because some of us just can't imagine ourselves having gone to a "normal" school. :rolleyes: :smile:

    Sense of pride. There's just something cool about being from a military school. People expect you to have a higher level of mental toughness... and after being pushed to the limits, you might just meet their expectations.

    Cool experiences. I completed a 5K walk for charity on Memorial Day, and I just kept thinking about how easy it was after having done two 22 mi force marches in BDUs/ACUs. And that was a normal part of my education... it was just kind of expected. :smile:

    Learning to fail. It sounds strange, but this was a major selling point for me. There aren't many places left in the US that teach people how to pick themselves up and keep pressing on in the face of failure. It will be one of the most difficult (and humbling) things you have ever done, but it will be worth it to gain this skill.

    Southern Tradition. Education within the constraints of a military environment is a long-standing Southern tradition. Many northerners don't understand this. It's considered honorable, so many young men from old families in the South (especially the Deep South) start their careers at military schools. Sometimes well before they hit college.

    Resume builder. Saying you went to a military school is a good attention-getter. Depending on the industry and the particular job, many employers don't care so much what your degree is in as they do that you have one. To set a goal and work toward it over several years and finally accomplish it says a lot. To do that in the context of a military education indicates an even higher level of strength in goal setting, discipline, mental fortitude and dedication.

    The Alumni Network. Bruno already mentioned this, but it bears repeating. Ivy leagues have alumni networks that are pretty strong, but there is nothing like meeting another VMI Alum and swapping stories. It's also great for employment opportunities. I can't tell you how many business cards I've picked up from Alum over the years -- and that's only four years, by the way. :smile: Perhaps the greatest benefit of the network, though, is the opportunity to find a mentor. Never underestimate the value of a mentor, whether it be in your personal life, the military, the business world, or in specific areas such as leadership. The camaraderie between Alumni of an SMC is second to none, because we all know what it took to make it through.

    Sense of accomplishment. I cried at my graduation. My diploma is so much more than a piece of paper. It took so much blood, sweat and tears to achieve that thing. I wear my class ring every day. Yes, people think it looks goofy because it's so big, but I just smile quietly, because they have no idea what it took to earn that ring. I don't tell them that, of course... I live to bust stereotypes, including that of ring knocker. :smile:

    FYI, Norwich doesn't have mandatory commissioning, either. Going to an SMC is one of the few ways you can get four years of ROTC training without incurring a service obligation. All of the SMCs have different strengths and weaknesses with different systems and different goals, but the end product is roughly the same.

    The military school atmosphere is not for everyone. But for those who stick it out (to be clear, there is literally no way you'll make it through without your classmates), the intangibles are worth it. Your education will encompass so much more than what you can learn in a classroom. The system is designed to take high school students and turn them into the kind of men and women our society needs. It's painful, but it's worth it, whether you go into the military or the civilian world.

    Good luck,

    Jackie M. Briski
    VMI Class of 2009
    First Class Private (Ret.)
     

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