Cold Feet

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by TERRIER, May 22, 2017.

  1. TERRIER

    TERRIER New Member

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    Well, not sure what to do or how to help my DD, but she is starting to get cold feet and is reconsidering. Any advice greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Some anxiety about PS and plebe year -- and entering the military -- is normal and, IMHO, healthy. That said, there are a few kids for whom the doubts are real and are the first sign that maybe this isn't the right path for them.

    A couple of suggestions -- I will defer to recent parents for better ones.:) Try to understand what is troubling her. General nerves -- i.e., not sure how I'll stack up, not sure I'll make it, worried about being away from home with little contact, etc. are probably pretty normal.

    Comments regarding desire to be in a military environment, want more of a civilian lifestyle, unsure that Academy life is what she wants . . . those seem to me more fundamental.

    It also might help for her to talk to current mids. Usually, local parents clubs have picnics or other events this time of year for plebes to be and current mids/parents. Attending one of these would allow your DD to talk to those who just went through plebe year. That could either assuage her fears -- or confirm them. Either is ultimately a good thing.
     
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  3. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Don't know your daughter's history or family background; Has she traveled or been on her own before or is she very close to family ? This leads to the question about whether the nerves or "cold feet" is USNA specific, or a general nervousness about going away to college. The general nervousness hits everyone differently -- I've sent two daughters off to college; one was ready to launch and get away from the nest, but the other (younger) was mommy's girl and the nerves hit hard (and she did just fine !). Attending USNA has its own trial and tribulations, but the first step is to determine if the nerves are USNA specific or just general nervousness. If general nerves, she is going to experience the same feelings if she attends State U or USNA. If USNA specific, my only advice is to not enter Plebe Summer with self doubt or less than 100% commitment. Give it 100% and she will make it through just fine. Keep in mind there are probably 1000 other Plebes with the same concerns.
    Good luck...
     
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  4. TERRIER

    TERRIER New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback - she's highly independent, been to it all, Summer STEM, CVW, NASS, Sports ID Camps, other college visits etc... Everything was fine and running smooth until she went on her last plan B college weekend visit back in April. Doubt crept in after that, and it's been all down hill since then. Just hate to see her make a mistake, she has yet to give me a real reason - I suspect she is being influenced by plebes or others posting on social media about the conditions and what they experienced etc.. - her only comment to me was all of a sudden not wanting to give up "9 yrs of her life".
     
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  5. beantown31

    beantown31 Member

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    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong but...its longer than 9 years.
     
  6. rlrmilitarymom

    rlrmilitarymom Member

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    My understanding is, and please someone correct me if I am wrong.
    You will serve 4 years at the academy, 5 years active duty and 3 years reserve, for a total of 12 years serving this great nation, we all love~
     
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  7. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Tell her to take one step at a time -- there is a reason for giving Midshipman the chance to leave after 2 years, and there is nothing dishonorable about making the decision that the Military life is not for her after trying it for two years. I can assure you though, looking back, attending USNA and serving in the Navy is not "giving up 9 years of life". It may seem like that when you are 18-19 and looking forward, but as I look back in the rear view mirror over 30 years now, I didn't give anything up. In fact, my 12 years in the Navy (NAPS, USNA, NFO training, and Fleet, shaped my later life and is still a big part of who I am. I have had a successful post Navy career, but still look back at my Navy time as some of the best years of my life. Sure, your daughter may be giving up some personal freedom by going to USNA over Plan B, but the people she meets at USNA and in the Fleet will be among the best friends she will ever have, and she will be able to count on them forever. If she stays in, great .....if not, attending USNA will open doors and prepare her to lead in whatever she does.
     
  8. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe 5-Year Member

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    She's not giving anything up by attending USNA. Worst-case scenario: she completes a semester or a year or two years at USNA, figures out "y'know, the Navy is not for me," and separates with no obligation and a semester's or a year's or two years' college credits. Then she attends another college and completes her BA/BS.

    I'm sure you're already doing this, because you know her better than anyone. Try to help her identify whether she's being pulled toward the University of Plan B, or pushing away from USNA. Are there opportunities at UPB she doesn't see at USNA? Or is that plebe summer/plebe year thing sounding unappealing? The other way I like to counsel my own students who ask me about these kinds of decisions is: Okay, forget about the decision for right now. Who do you want to be, as a human being? What matters to you? How do you want people to talk about you when you're not around? What do you want to be known for? Getting young people to construct a vision of who they want to become, frequently (not always) helps them to focus on what really matters about some decision rather than what doesn't matter.
     
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  9. mpk19

    mpk19 Member

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    Make sure she takes a hard look at the atmosphere at many colleges today. There has been a lot of shutting out of free speech and opposing views. Student entitlement has become a real issue in this era. DS and I are extremely pleased he going to N*ot College! He wants to live a life of honor and integrity. He believes USNA is the best choice for that.
     
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  10. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Some great advice above. Before you read the below, I want to reiterate that almost every plebe-to-be goes through some version of nerves (I have a relative about to start as a plebe who is feeling it right about now).

    That said . . . most kids who quit early (i.e., during PS or during plebe year) were feeling serious doubt before they ever showed up. Or at least so they say on exit interviews. Some talk about the pressure they felt (whether real or imagined) from parents, teachers, friends, other relatives, etc. to attend USNA. One person who quit said her town was so proud of her, they gave her a send-off parade. She felt she "couldn't" back out because she'd be letting down everyone who'd supported her. Versions of the above (maybe sans parade) are common refrains from those who quit early. It's similar to realizing you don't want to marry someone but you've bought the dress, booked the venues, put down non-refundable deposits, sent the invitations, etc. and it seems impossible to back out.

    Again, the above is the rare exception -- for most it really is a case of jitters that quickly go away once PS starts.

    You might ask if she would rather attend the "Plan B" school -- especially if it's still possible -- along the lines of going toward something else vs. away from USNA. Be sure, as I know you will, to reassure her that you and everyone else who matters will support her equally in whatever decision she makes.

    Finally, consider talking to her about why she wanted to attend USNA in the first place -- do those reasons still exist? And consider giving her a week or so of "space" and see if her views change. It could be that watching all of her graduating friends heading off to civilian schools has given her pause.
     
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  11. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 5-Year Member

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    For those who were asking for clarification, If one starts on I day and serves the whole of their military obligation AND they did not select/get drafted into the aviation community, they will spend approximately 9 years on active duty including time at USNA. If you are in the aviation community, the time commitment on active duty could range anywhere from 12 years as a Navy NFO to 17-18 years as a USMC pilot, again including time at USNA.

    What may be helpful to remind your daughter of, is that you can leave the Academy at any point before the beginning of your 2/C (Junior) year with no financial or military commitment. I have known a number of people that have done this. The Navy is giving you over two full years to figure out if this life is right for you before you sign on the dotted line. I personally hated Plebe summer and Plebe year with a passion, but once I got out on summer training and realized the world of opportunities I had available to me, I decided to stay. On top of this, 3/c is much more laid back than Plebe year. If you go through these two years and still have doubts (as some people do), then you can leave and continue life somewhere else. And I don't for a second fault those of my classmates who decided to make this decision.

    Make sure that at the end of the day, your daughter is the one making the decision to attend. Some people come here because their parents think it is a good idea, not necessarily because they do. Those individuals usually end up leaving anyway, sometimes under extremely regrettable circumstances (some 2018 mids/parents may know the incident I'm talking about). I'm not accusing anybody, just a general thought for other parents that might read this in the future.
     
  12. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 5-Year Member

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    Can't edit, but should read 15-16 instead of 17-18 (4 at USNA, 3-4 flight school/TBS, 8 after winging)
     
  13. Sandydesert

    Sandydesert Member

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    I would ask her if she is getting cold feet because of a boyfriend who will be back home while she attends USNA, if she is hearing her friends talk about college parties, joining a sorority, etc., and she suddenly realizes that plebe year is not going to be like attending "college" elsewhere......
     
  14. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt 5-Year Member

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    OP: suggest your DD read these posts and other threads in this forum on this topic (use search feature). She could even post her concerns (under the cover of anonymity) here for real-life feedback from those who have been there.

    I would like to echo BDHuff09's comments regarding who's decision drove her to apply. If she was doing it for others then that is a recipe for failure. My DS followed my path and I challenged him every step of the way. Serious and honest challenges on his motivation and desire. Interestingly (and with my deep appreciation) the MOI and AMOI at his NROTC unit also challenged him on the subject. DS is now a 1st LT in the USMC but it was always his personal motivation and desire - not mine.
     
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  15. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    If she is concerned about 'missing out' don't be. Mids have fun also. Yes it's a different type of fun, but as she progresses she will get more freedom and do many of the things that 20-23 year olds do with weekend trips and spring break. Myself and all my friends... none of us consider that we 'lost' 9 years of our lives to the military. In fact we all embrace it. We are thankful for it. We all feel lucky that we are/got to be a part of it. What USNA and our service time did for us shaped us, our futures, our families, our outlook on life.

    Cold feet is normal. As long as she owns this decision she will be fine. Right now she will think 9 years is the rest of her life. She just needs to take it one day at a time.
     
  16. TERRIER

    TERRIER New Member

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    Thank you all for the advice, it is greatly appreciated.
     
  17. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Not uncommon for some to wonder if this will be right for them and very easy to get caught up in the 'competition' to win the appointment and all the excitement associated with it.

    I agree with all the posters - it is not uncommon to wonder at this point and have second thoughts.

    She has earned the right to hang on to her appointment and to leave any time in the first 2 years.

    But, if she really doesn't feel it is right for her, set a timeline for a decision that allows someone to utilize that appointment should she not go. Nothing as frustrating as people that don't show on I Day or don't stay long enough for the swearing in ceremony.

    It is not for everyone for a variety of reasons.
     
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  18. brovol

    brovol Member

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    Take her to graduation at USNA. If that doesnt do it, then maybe she should have the latitude to consider her other options. The academies are a long haul, in a very restrictive environment. If you aren't pretty gung-ho about it, the experience might not be the best, or most successful.
     
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  19. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    "If, if, if". "Cold feet" is not a reason; it’s a symptom. There are a ton of reasons for your daughter to reconsider her choice to attend the USNA (or any service academy). In my view, about 92% of those concerns are crushed by the facts, or the unbelievable value proposition that the USNA (service academies generally) represent. Then, there's that other 8%. You are in the right place to get information that can help your daughter make this big decision, but IMO you/we are "fishing with a shotgun".

    If I were in your position (and I think I was) I'd wander over to wherever my DD happened to be sitting and say:
    "Ya-know I'm not sure about this USNA thing either........ this is a big decision. I have these concerns (articulating #1,#2,#3) What are you thinking other issues might be"?​
    Note: I always take care to approach my DD and DW like a subordinate male ape greeting his betters, nothing too direct.

    I would enter into that conversation knowing that it would last 15mins at best and the it would end with my DD's loud proclamation that "her father knows NOTHING!!". That said, I know I'd walk away with a better sense for my DD's USNA concerns. Bring some more data back here and people will kill the 92%

    I will add this: Whatever your daughters concerns are, the 1st 2nd and 3rd best reasons to attend the USNA are (in order) The Mids, The Mids and The Mids. Anything that you can do through 1)your B&G, 2)Parents Club, 3)contact with a coach (?), or 4)visit to the USNA that puts your daughter in contact with these amazing young people as she works through her 2nd thoughts will be a huge plus.


    BTW: if it does turn out that your DD has a real 8% issue; smile let her follow her path, and get working on that 2nd mortgage.


    Good luck to you, and I will stand-by
     
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  20. Dadof2

    Dadof2 Member

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    I don't disagree with this in general, but there are cases where a gung-ho attitude is really a mask for fear/anxiety and I've heard of similar situations where someone gung-ho was one of the first to leave.

    OP: Lot's of good advice in these responses. My advice, FWIW, is to get her to ask herself the questions previous posters have suggested. If she thinks USNA and military service is still what she wants but is unsure for whatever reason, have her commit to Plebe summer and one semester of the AC year with the understanding that if she doesn't feel like it is the right thing for her you will support her leaving after the 1st semester is complete as long as she has some sort of a reasonably thought out plan B. This way she doesn't feel that you are pushing her to complete 4 yrs at USNA (and the associated military service time) and she can give it an honest try without the pressure of it feeling like a huge commitment. After PS and an AC semester she should have a pretty good idea whether this is the path for her or not and if she leaves, she leaves having tried it and deciding based on facts instead of fear.
     
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