Considering voluntarily separating

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by sg123, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. sg123

    sg123 New Member

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    I am currently a youngster at USNA and have been going back and forth with the idea of leaving. There are many reasons as to why I am considering this and I really don't feel like I am clear headed enough to make the decision and I do not want to have regrets. I am a varsity athlete here and this is was the only school I applied to. I have never really had a strong desire for academics and have really had to work hard here at USNA to keep my grades decent. Coming back from spring break I am really struggling to find motivation to want to be here. Mentally I am not where I need to be due to some events in my family and things like that. Being at the academy and not really being able to handle those things or do things for me has really taken a toll on me. I have begun to resent being here and I feel as though I'm choosing opportunity over happiness and mental health. There were points in my life where I did want to serve in the military and I did think that this was the right fit for me. I believe that I could suffer through the next 7 years of my life but I don't know if I would be happy and I also don't know if I would do the best job I could at being an officer. I also don't want to waste this opportunity that I do have right now. I just don't want it to be at the expense of my happiness and my mental state. I don't really have a plan going forward if I were to leave, I would probably take the summer and the fall semester to take my time figuring out what I wanted to do and work on my mental health and apply to school again for the following spring semester.

    I feel as though I am in a very hard place in my life because I know something has to change and I no longer want to feel trapped. I just want to ensure I'm making the right decision and I could really use some advice.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. THParent

    THParent Member

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    Leave is a terrible thing sometimes. You go from emerging from the grind through the Dark Ages, to getting excited about your "Work-Release" program from "Prison" and boom, you're home. You have barely two weekends and a week in between to see how much slower-paced the world is. It's nice out there. Then it's back to Prison and more studying and energy drinks. It's like you didn't even leave.

    Work is like that sometimes. I am lucky, as I get to take time off any time I want, and can go on vacation and slow down for a week or so. I have gotten to this point in my life after about 30 years in my career. After vacation though, there's a certain amount of "dread" in going back. Then after a day or two, it's like I never left. I want another vacation, but I press on because it's my job and I'm really good at it.

    Read between the lines here, and figure out what that means to you and your situation. I'm not going to advise you. I wouldn't even do that with my own son.
     
  3. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Obviously, it's impossible for any of us to provide advice specific to you because we don't know you. I will say that I knew some folks who left after 3/C year and went on to happy, productive lives outside of the military -- it was clearly the right decision. I know another who really, really struggled about whether to return 2/C year and ended up staying in the USN for 20 years. And many who reflected a lot, but never really considered leaving. IOW, what you're going through isn't all that unusual.

    I strongly suggest you talk to one of the Chaplains. Even if you're not religious, they can be great resources to help you work through issues such as yours in confidence. I would also suggest that, unless your mind is made up, you go through 2/C summer. It will open your eyes to the opportunities that await you after graduation which may help in your decision.

    Most importantly -- and if you take nothing else from this post, take this -- be sure you are going TO something. I have seen more people miserable b/c they just want to get out of wherever they are but have no place/nothing definitive planned for the future. It rarely ends up well. If you decide to leave USNA, make sure you have a firm plan in place for what you will do come whatever day you leave. Absent serious mental health issues (and if you have those, you need to get them addressed), sitting around at your age for 9 months doing not much of anything is not going to help you in life.

    Get a job. Go to CC. Train for a marathon. Do something to keep your mind and body active.
     
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  4. frances92307

    frances92307 New Member

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    Hey, I don’t know what is going on in your life.... but I will try my best to give you the advice that I would tell my son... and that I have told my daughters at their civilian schools. I see you, and I appreciate how hard you are working. USNA is tough... and being an athlete on top of it... I can’t imagine. I know you’re tired, but this is only a temporary thing. You will get past it... and in hind sight it will seem trivial.... and you will come out stronger in the end. My husband graduated from USNA in 1992, and he felt exactly the same way... everyone does. What you are feeling is normal, but it doesn’t mean you should quit or that you’re weak for thinking this. If there are counselors you can speak to, I would go make an appt... or talk to your coach.... if it’s academic issues talk to your professors and get the help you need. There is no shame in asking for help! You have worked hard to be where you are.... I know you can do it! Best of luck!!
     
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  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Please take advantage of the midshipmen counseling center or the chaplains. All of those folks are great listeners, non-judgmental and non-religious in this setting, confidential, and can help guide you to answering your own questions. They are used to working with midshipmen who might be down because of the Dark Ages and seemingly endless grind, or who may be truly ready to make a break.

    Keep in mind if you start fall semester as a 2/c, you are committed to the service obligation, and to $$$ payback if you voluntarily separate.

    When I was a BattO, I could always tell when a mid was settled on leaving. They arrived in my office for the mandatory voluntary separation counseling with a complete plan. They had applied elsewhere or were working on it, they were figuring out the funding, they had told family, they had discussed with classmates, coaches, advisors. Many of them loved USNA and their friends, but could separate that from knowing it and a military career were not for them. They had a plan and they were acting on it, an adult approach to solving an adult problem. They were sad, occasionally regretful, but looking forward.

    Not making a decision or delaying it is also a decision.

    You have all the tools you need to coach yourself out of this and arrive at resolution and the path forward. You have a good mind or you wouldn’t be there. You have resources. You have capabilities that will allow you to succeed elsewhere. If the opportunity at USNA is not right for you, there are hundreds of other paths out there.

    If you like the idea of serving, but not in military life, have you looked at the college programs offered by FBI, CIA, NSA, DOS, etc.? They are not all door-kickers; there are Ops and logistics specialists, analysts, planners, etc.

    No one here can tell you what’s right for you. Remember when you were a young teen and Could Not Wait to grow up and be in control of your own life? Now, you are. This is what being an adult feels like, with multiple paths, decisions, stresses, emotions and no cookbook with the perfect recipe.

    You will feel enormously better when you act, and not react, to a situation.
     
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  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Agree with speaking to the chaplain or a counselor. There is never any point to being miserable but I also suspect you will always wonder. You really just have to sort through what's right for you and the chaplain or counselor should be able to help with that.
     
  7. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    THP hits it on the head. This is exactly how I felt coming back from leave for 4 years (and frankly how I feel when I go on vacation now !). It's part of life, you suck it up and move on....


    > Absolutely, 100 % - is it the thought of two more years at USNA that concerns you, or is it serving in the Fleet you have doubts about ? Trust me, USNA is not the Fleet. Second Class Summer is a great opportunity to experience the different communities, and see what the Fleet is like. (Besides, its a lot of fun, and you will build memories with Classmates you don't even know yet).

    '*85" said it to...have a plan and MAKE SURE YOU ARE GOING TO SOMETHING.

    No one here knows you... but I echo the sentiments of those that advise you to talk with the Chaplains, or perhaps your Coach, or other trusted confidant. Don't make any rash decisions, but instead ask yourself why you applied and attended USNA in the first place. Good luck with whatever choice you make.

    Finally, another public service announcement to all those that are waiting to hear, or have already been accepted and are looking toward Plebe Summer, and wondering how any0ne could even consider leaving after all you go through to get in. I think it was one of the chapter headings in David Poyer's Return of Philo McGiffin, that explained that " USNA was kinda of like a Turkish steam bath ---once you are in, its not so hot !" There is some truth to that, there are times that being a Midshipman sucks, and everyone that has ever attended has had their ups and downs.
     
  8. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    Agree with everything above. Definitely try to stick it through the end of the summer. Protramid will shine some light on the "beyond the academy" aspect of what you are doing.

    Realize too that each year gets slightly better at USNA. Youngster year is tough in its own regard because even though you are no longer a Plebe, you still really don't have much freedom. The leap to being a 2/C is huge. Civvies, cars, Friday night lib, etc.

    Looking at your now, realize you probably aren't as trapped as you feel. If you aren't happy or motivated with your day to day at the academy, you always have the freedom to make changes. You can't change everything, but you can always get involved in different things. Being a varsity athlete has its perks, but you don't have to be one. I'm not saying to quit if you really love your sport and team and feel that those are all worth the sacrifice, but if doing a club or intramural sport instead, and using your free time to get into other clubs and activities makes your academy experience better, by all means go for it.
     
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  9. Humey

    Humey Member

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    This isnt specific to leaving the academy but as part of my business, I speak to lots of people. One thing I find when speaking to some of my clients is that at some point in their lives they have quit school or didnt continue with their education or training because something in their personal lives kept them from doing so. I feel like if they had beeen able to push through, their lives would have been completely different. Not saying quiting will mean that your life will turn out bad or that staying will quarantee you a happy life. I do believe that when you close a door a new window opens up for you. Having said that, I hate the idea that events in a person's family can ruin a great opportunity especially if that person thinks quitting will somehow fix the events that probably have nothing to do with them and more importantly have no power to change. In reality, ten years from now, the events occuring now will be a memory, but the ripples it causes down the line will still be effecting you.
     
  10. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    Really great advice here. No need to answer, but one thing I will add is to REALLY think about your WHYS. Why did you come? Why did you you stay? Why do you want to leave? Are you a people pleaser who doesn’t want to let people down? Including your team sport? Maybe making some changes that are really fit you would be beneficial. Like pleber16 said. Sometimes we can get ‘so stuck’ with one way of thinking that we don’t see any other way.

    Chaplains and counselors for sure can help you work through some things so that you decision is a well thought out one, VS an emotional one. No one makes their best choice
    from an emotional viewpoint. Fortunately you have time to decide. Time to work through it. But to be fair to yourself, I would ask my own to speak with a counselor/chaplain as suggested. You don’t want to make a reactionary decision that you may end up regretting. They may even be able to give you some coping skills/techniques for the hard times.

    Something else to realize, is that self doubt and questioning what you are doing are also normal. Not unique to USNA. Its common at this age.

    BTW, I just listened to an episode of Academy Insider last night. He is a USNA ‘17 grad, back from his first actual deployment. Interesting fact: he was set on quitting his plebe summer. It was so awesome to hear him so excited and enthusiastic about his life post USNA. Despite wanting to quit in the beginning. He even talked about that last night. His journey could have been so different. He is so happy now and it shows.

    I’m pulling for you!!
     
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  11. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO 10-Year Member

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    While none of us personally know you, I get a sense that family events is weighing more heavily on you than the other stresses. In the fleet, Sailors encounter many personal family events/situations -- chaplains are trained to help you work through the problems and see if there is a way to rectify the situation.

    My rhetorical questions (please do not answer) -- is the family situation constantly on your mind and worrying you the most? If the family situation could be solved, would that make you happier and put some concerns at ease? As said in previous posts, many of the "other" concerns seem to align with thoughts of MIDN at one point in Annapolis -- something that potentially can be worked through, as others have. Only you know the answers, but if you find yourself answering "yes" to the rhetorical questions above, I would definitely recommend giving the chaplains (and other counselors) an opportunity to help you.
     
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  12. SCubb

    SCubb Member

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    One thing I have come to love about the military now that my DS is considering USNA and I have been researching is the sense of family you get by listening to the experienced hands here. You are not alone and you have a lot of people that understand what you are going through.
    I am NOT one of those people, but I can certainly imagine my DS calling me with these exact concerns.
    There is a lot of great advice here, but I quote the good Capt above. Don’t do anything rash. Don’t make a decision until you’ve spoken to everyone you need to, talked to friends, clergy, parents, and completely thought it through. You have lots of time, and making decisions in the ABSOLUTE dog days of dreary March is probably the wrong time to make such a decision. Pray on it if you are so inclined. The answer will start to appear.
    Absolute best of luck to you.
     
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  13. Soldiergriz

    Soldiergriz Husband, Dad, Soldier

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    Finish this year. Don't quit in the middle of anything - ever. Decide in June.
     
  14. mara

    mara Member

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    Unrelated in some ways but food for thought.- I was a varsity athlete at a D1 school, not a SA. It was a lot. I struggled my senior year as my course load was tough and the demands of my sport were a lot. I stayed and I finished both college and my season. I needed too. My team counted on me but also there was a financial piece that was important , room, board and books. Is your sport draining time from your studying. The financial piece does not apply at an SA. Would you enjoy the USNA experience without the added time and commitment of a varsity sport? Is this something that your coach/team would understand? Best of luck as you weigh your decision.
     
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  15. USNA 19 DAD

    USNA 19 DAD Member

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    You posted here because you are looking for advice. It's probably nobody's business what personal issues you have going on that has gotten you to this place. With the limited information you have given, the only advice I will give is that you don't make a permanent solution to a temporary problem. As an adult and a Dad, I can tell you there are very few issues in life that don't change given some time. Best of luck whatever you decide.
     
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  16. SAMom

    SAMom 5-Year Member

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    My DD class of 2015 quit after she did Naps and a year at the academy. At the time she had no regrets was happy to have the weight off her shoulders. Fast forward today she regrets not finishing she knows even though she’s in a good place she could have been in a much better place. She’s with the Air National Guard she’s an Air Traffic controller and has one class left to graduate college. She is married with two babies. She did everything the hard way. So even though life seems tougher right now (many Mids feel this way) you feel much better when you finish. Spring is in the air the dark ages are ending. Hang in there you will be glad you did!! Both my boys also felt this way and they stuck with it and are so glad they did. 2018 Mid was chosen for pilot select got to Pensacola and was disqualified due to a possible eye disease. As of yesterday he just landed in Newport Rhode Island to start Supply Corps. 2012 son is a flight instructor in Corpus. You never know where life’s going to take you just sit back and try to enjoy the ride you will be glad you did!! Remember your not the only one who feels this way trust in the processes you earned your way there!! Good luck!!
     
  17. bopper

    bopper Member

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    Thoughts:

    1. Would not being a varsity athlete help you with your academics? Can you see yourself not playing your sport and concentrating on academics? Or would you rather not be at USNA but still playing your sport?

    2. Would you go to another college? Which one? Would that not also take a lot of effort for academics? Could you be a varsity athlete or would you have to not play for a year or something? If you wouldn't continue college what would you do instead?

    3. Do you have the potential to become a pro-athlete? Is it worth leaving now so you can pursue that?

    4. Talk to the Chaplain about family issues. Is this your issue to solve? Are there other ways to solve it? I hear stories where Dad is sick and nobody but the college student can stay with him...but that isn't the case. Nobody worked with a social worker to see if there were other ideas. Or nobody thinks if in the long run it would be better for the college student to finish college so as to get a good job to help the family.
    Or if parents are getting divorced...this is not your issue.

    5. As was mentioned, you start fall semester as a 2/c, you are committed to the service obligation, and to $$$ payback if you voluntarily separate. In other words, you could owe tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars without having a degree if you leave. So you CANNOT take the next fall and spring to decide. You must decide before the next fall semester starts (and owe nothing) or commit to the next 7 years (or pay $$ if you leave USNA).

    6. Are you choosing "happiness" now over opportunities? Or do you have a plan for what you could be doing in the future?

    7. You mention you "mental state" ...Do you have mental health issues? Depression?
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
  18. THParent

    THParent Member

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    This could be just one of those drop the thought into the middle of the room and feel better for the sharing, kind of posts.

    I have seen a lot of those since I joined the forum.
    One post, and you never hear from them again. Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes people just need to vent.
     
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