My MOC is having candidates write an essay for nominations. The prompt for my essay was: "in a short essay (500-1000 words) explain why you want to attend the Academy". I posted what I wrote down below, I would appreciate any feedback! No need to PM. Thanks! Why I Want to Attend the Academy As a child, it seemed as though adults, teachers, and parents always asked me the same question: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Of course, I would always supply a canned answer like “I want to be a Doctor” or “I want to be a lawyer”. Through it all, I could tell that those professions, though excellent, were not for me. I looked to my family for guidance and I have always been proud of my family’s military history, but it wasn’t until I was until then that I realized that I wanted to join that tradition. My father has been Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve Dental Corps with nearly 20 years of service. I always saw him walking around in his khakis and going off to work on weekends, but I never really took note of the service he was providing his country. I have heard many war stories from my grandfather who was an armored reconnaissance officer in the U.S. Army during World War II and retired with 24 years of service. My other grandfather graduated in the USMA class of 1954 and served as a pilot in the Air Force. While I am amazed by all of their stories of adventure, courage, and opportunity, what is most surprising to me is that both my father and grandparents can look back on what they have accomplished in the military with a sense of pride. Once my grandfather told me “I’ve been an enlisted soldier and an officer. If you ever join the military, decide what you want to do―follow or lead”. His words have stirred me to pursue officership. That aspiration, my professional desire to earn an engineering degree, and my yearning to lead has led me to the doorsteps of the Service Academies. Even though my father loves the Navy, his professional training was at a civilian dental school, very different from a service academy. However, my grandfather (USMA ’54), with his tales of cadethood and the Academy, really inspires me. He tells stories not only of his difficult classes and rigid life, but also of the friendships he made and skills he gained during those four years. After hanging on every word of those stories, he even decided to lend me his copy of Bugle Notes from when he was a plebe. From there I read Absolutely American, The Long Grey Line, In a Time of War, The Unforgiving Minute, the 2007 edition of Bugle Notes, and I am still trying find more West Point literature. I visited West Point during the summer and I can remember seeing new cadets in Beast Barracks marching with rifles and rucks singing cadences and all I could think was “this is cool”. My exposure to USMA has me placing it as my first choice among service academies. I realize that life at a service academy and in the military is not easy. I know that I will suffer, be challenged, and be pushed beyond my limits. Thousands have done it before and I am sure that they also knew of the suffering that lay ahead of them before they entered the Academy. However, I know that I can do it because I want to go to the Academy for the right reasons. I want to be an officer. I may not know the magnitude of the challenges that lay in my future, but I know that they will be there. I’m ready to step up.