Daughter considering leaving USAFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by leo723, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Jeepman

    Jeepman Member

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    It sounds like she is not motivated to stay in shape. It also seems like it has very little to do with her "major". Push her, don't enable her. That said, if she is not able to tough it out physically she is probably not suited to defend and serve. As Bill Belichick would say, "Next man up!".
     
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  2. Daretodream

    Daretodream Member

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    This hits close to home. My DS is in the Class of 2020. He has always been a strong student and it continued to be his strength at USAFA. He struggled as a C4C with athletics and found the military grade to be political. At the end of last year he was in the 700 range which frustrated him, but he set some personal goals physically and really leaned on his friends in his squadron and Honor Guard.

    He drastically improved his athletics and made both the Deans and Directors list in the fall. He has risen to the top 400 in his class and seems comfortable in his position. He went to USAFA wanting to be a pilot. He continues to chase that dream, but a medical condition put flying into question and he looked at other options. He decided to major in Computer & Network Security and minor in Japanese. He decided it gave him more options if he couldn't fly. He also discussed the option of graduate school after graduation.

    I only point this out to make sure your DD is taking the time to think of all options and leaning on her friends. If she decides to leave at least then she is making a very well informed decision. Best of luck.
     
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  3. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I have a son in AF Rotc and not the academy so I dont know what you are going through although I can guess. If i were in your shoes I too would be upset and try to push to keep the child there. Having said that, it amazes how determined and sure these 17/18 years old are about there futures especially regarding attending the academies and serving. I dont know how many quit every year, but it surprises that there isnt more of it. How can anyone that young know what they really want. I wonder how many of them hate it but stay on because they dont want to quits and are determined to finish no matter what. That and they dont want to diappoint their family or themselves. I assume that they have expectations of what it like being at the academy and I would assume many are surprised on how different it is. I dont say that as a criticism but rather lots of people dont get what they are in for when they join. There is no shame in not continuing if it doesnt work for the student. What you think you want and what you really need are somethings very different. My son is a graduating senior this year. Every year, lots of people join his Rotc unit and lots of people quit. He is also part of Arnold Air organization which is part Fraternity, part professional and honorary service organziation and part social club. You have to work hard get in . Last semester 40 joined and 25 finished. Not because they are quiters or bad people, either they also quit Rotc or maybe Arnold Air wasnt worth it. One of my son's friend joined Rotc, joined and made it in Arnold Air and at some point, quit Rotc. As much as he enjoyed it, he was looking for something else.
     
  4. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    Point to remember, if DD sits in her first class of the Fall Semester, (in August) this year, she just "committed" & is on the hook to repay the AFA for the 1st two years of schooling (approx 200+K) should she then decide to leave afterwards. That is the deadline, so she has the rest of this semester & almost the whole summer to decide. Good luck.
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy 10-Year Member

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    I had several classmates through my 3 dig year in this conundrum and I found some clear (anecdotal patterns). Those with strong family pressure to remain were the ones that left or came the closest to leaving. They felt the most trapped because of the pressure and acted the most emotionally. Wasn't super surprising, people and animals act emotionally when trapped. Those with family who fully supported whichever decision they made tended to stay. My friends who had strong support networks, especially family, were able to freely explore options. Just knowing they had the freedom to leave was enough of an emotional release that they were able to more objectively weigh the merits of their decisions. Most felt it was worth staying and did well.

    My advice is to support your daughter's choice one way or the other and let her know that you do.
     
  6. Montana Falcon

    Montana Falcon Member

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    swatdude. Our DD had similar concerns during Doolie Second Semester. She had gone to the Academy, bound and determined to by an "Astro" major, but after struggling with Academics for the first semester, she did a hard 180. I quote, "So Dad, I am thinking about changing my mind on majoring in Astro and go into Philosophy." Could have knocked me over with a feather. Further explanation, it actually started making sense. She was confident that she could scrape through the next 3 years in Astro, but her GPA would take a big hit and potentially limit her odds of getting a 1st, 2nd, or for that matter any of her job picks. She was looking at the long term as an Officer and thought that the course of study would offer insights and understandings into human behavior, making her a better leader and critical thinker. Fast forward to the here and now. She loved the course and Graduated with over a 3.0. She got her first job choice "Space" and her first Base choice, "Vandenberg". Then came along the opportunity to go to grad. school with the possibility of someday returning to teach at the Academy. She's now in her second semester and is excited about all the career opportunities that lay ahead. So far as the Pilot slot is concerned, my DD said that she wasn't aware of anyone from her class (2017) that had requested it and not got a slot. Certainly there must have been some disappointed Cadets, but I think there is a considerable need for Pilots and a low GPA won't necessarily deal a death blow for your Son's chances to fly. Good luck to him!
     
  7. swatdude

    swatdude Member

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    Thanks for sharing your DD's success story, that was great to read. My DS had his eyes on Aeronautical Engineering degree but learned the hard way that math is his weakness and that is not the weakness to have when seeking any engineering degree. He is now leaning towards Military Strategic Studies. I suggested some type of degree in finance, for post military life. He wants nothing to do with that and assured me any degree from the Air Force Academy will take care of him post military if he decides against a career in the Air Force. As I said earlier, I now just encourage. I just want him to complete the Academy.
     
  8. lotsofbooks

    lotsofbooks 10-Year Member

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    My daughter also studied Russian at the academy (she got assigned the language as she was an Economics major at the time) (she later graduated in Foreign Area studies plus a Philosophy minor and another minor...) I was quite worried as she had struggled with Spanish and had switched to Latin pre college. She ended up loving the Russian and striving for the foreign semester abroad study (they took the top four students) She ended up fifth, but the professors were so encouraging they applied to send five students just the one time so she could be included. One got into some trouble over the summer so they only sent four anyway. One of the other girls was her freshman roommate and the four of them all really enjoyed doing a semester away from the academy. She has since returned three times to that city (Kiev) for continued study through the AF . Just last summer they sent (for a month) her to a different country because of Russian relations. They always stay with Russian speaking families and study at a language institute. She has to keep her Russian up while working at her regular AF job (mgmt) They provide online classes and she personally hires a native speaking local tutor. She has to take tests to stay in the program. The Russian has been a fun component for her but it has nothing to do with her career field. I do remember her showing me an article about a new AF officer program where you get sent to be a foreign liaison to an academy or an embassy and- after graduation-- that had been her new goal. You needed to be an officer for seven years before making the application. However by that time (she's now been out about 9 years) she had a husband who couldn't be stationed in those countries because he is a pilot. So that was off the table, but it sounded like a great opportunity if that was your interest. She has her MS in Accounting which she had to finish online due to transferring bases. She said she reads a lot of spread sheets for her job. The beginning courses in Economics gave her a great foundation for her Accounting Masters . She just took either one or two classes at a time she started in the fall after she graduated. We gave her her college 529 plan (it wasn't huge, just for tuition) but she said it helped her finish more quickly as the AF has a cap for graduate school monies and she could use her money to pay the additional. We told her to get her masters before she had a lot of other obligations. She has tried for different job opportunities along the way, one was with Special Forces but her husband put a stop to that one!. She usually makes it as far as a finalist so we try to be super encouraging even if she doesn't get it. It's nice there are some really great opportunities for those who are positioned to take advantage of them.

    She's really happy-- she has her regular job, they have some investment real estate- she does the books --they have a lot of pets, and she always gets involved in local activities wherever they go. She pursues a lot of non military friendships and local running clubs so she can enjoy her surroundings. She has always had a lot of energy and we can see her AF lifestyle has suited her well. She said that she and her husband always max out the physical fitness tests. The study abroad has freshened her outlook as it takes her out of the military environment and gives her a chance to live as a local which is always really interesting. She said she has written part of a novel set in the city where she studied. I know she has learned a lot by observation of those less fortunate than we are.

    To contrast-- my younger daughter considered the military as her sister is so happy, however now she has tech degrees she's worked hard for . (she got 3 bachelors in STEM) and is finishing her MS at age 23. Actually her studies seemed really hard , in her CS program the class average is a 90 % , it's really hard to get into and she worked quite hard. She was expected to be a TA and do research as an undergrad and that took a lot of time. I actually think my AF daughter had a lot more fun in college...She got to enjoy a lot more friendships. (her class mates were more outgoing and social in general) The tech job interview process is so difficult, she had four hour online tests for most companies, and it was at least four different layers of interviews and tests. She had to study for days for each interview. This is tough during finals week or any time during school I thought. Because of the status of her department, she has a lot of job offers but you never know how it's going to be in the future. It's a different world, they feed them 3 meals a day, some companies have unlimited vacation, they wear free T shirts and jeans to work (that's their uniform!,) bring your dog to work, etc. They can elect to work in the company foreign offices temporarily for six weeks (and they provide the room and board while you are away) so travel is also an option. She calls herself an infrastructure engineer. It's with the cloud.

    They are both happy, they can appreciate the other's opportunities ('wow retirement in how many more years??') vs the incredible pay, bonuses and stock options in the private sector. Student internship pay was amazing.... but the application process was just as grueling. I think she got 15 rejections before she got one, and then she got offered several later. Who knows, but it's going to be hard work whichever path you choose. My younger daughter said there was a lot of depression and suicides at her school, so it's not just at the academy that kids are unhappy. At least in CO they have a lot of sunny days and they are outside a lot.

    My personal note is that you were very fortunate to raise a child who was accepted to the academy with all the stringent applications. My AF daughter says that most of her female classmates and academy friends have now returned to the civilian world. They didn't stay beyond the minimum commitment. Many of them married another officer and they are able to pursue civilian jobs. At our local parents club, (most are parents of boys) I will say that it appears some of the DILs aren't super happy, especially those who have some sort of special job and unique skill sets. (due to the relocations) I think the ones in something like teaching or medical can be very mobile and they are happy. My tech daughter says that remote jobs are going to be more available in her field but she says the pay is quite a bit less, and she was told that is something for later in your career. It's not easy getting jobs when your spouse is military. My AF daughter said there are a lot of unhappy highly skilled spouses especially when you get sent abroad and you can't work except at the base. ....You just want them to be happy...
     
  9. 0302grnt

    0302grnt Member

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    There are millions of Americans who have jobs with which they are not thrilled. Coal miners work very hard and risk their health. Many school teachers work in very tough school districts with students and parents that don't care. We could go on and on listing additional jobs that Americans do because they need to make ends meet. To work as an officer in the United States Armed Forces is a privilege - no matter what your MOS. You will learn to love and respect those whom you have been assigned to lead. You can not possible imagine how fast your time in the military will fly by. There is a lot of "suck." There is a lot of "hurry up and wait." But there is a lot of OMG, I cannot believe I am getting paid to do this. Suck it up. Serve your country. For the rest of your life, you will benefit from your service. God bless.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    0302grnt makes a great point that "Many" cadets at the academy; and even many enlisted and officers on active duty sometimes forget.

    Many threads on the forums EVOLVE. My response below is NOT directly per se to the original poster or any individual personally. Just in general.

    The military isn't just "A Job". Even if you see the military as a "Career", at most, it's only going to take up about half of your "Working Years". I spent 21 years in the military, and next year I will have spent AS MUCH TIME OUT of the air force "working" as I did IN the air force. And I still have a few more good years of "work" in me.

    This is a problem I've had with a lot of cadets; more so with many parents. They think of themselves, "Or their kid", as "Going Off to College". The academy is so much more than that. As I've said in other posts, the primary mission of the academy is NOT to give you a "College Education". A college education can be gotten so many other ways, Much easier ways. And while you may have a "Job" in the military, the military itself is NOT YOUR JOB.
    Fortunately, most enlisted and officers realize this shortly after getting in the "Real Military".

    I'm not hear trying to convince anyone that they should be wanting to stay in the military for 20 or more years. Simply saying; if you are going to base your decision on joining the military, applying to the academy or ROTC, based on the "Job" you're going to get, then your priorities are wrong. There will be those that disagree with me, that's ok. But their priorities are still wrong.

    The main priority SHOULD BE, to "Serve your country". Then, you can see HOW you will serve your country. If you're fortunate, as many are, you'll get a job that you're really passionate about, and serving your country is something you may find yourself doing for the next 20+ years. For some, maybe the job you wind up with isn't HOW you really want to serve your country. (Assuming your #1 priority is to serve your country). If you're unfortunate to get a job you don't like, you do your best with it and put up with it for a couple of years. Then, if your first priority is still to serve your country, you can see about "Cross Training" into a new job. A lot of officers and enlisted have cross trained into a new job after their first few years. If that doesn't pan out, then maybe you decide that you served the best you could, but don't want to continue serving in the same capacity; and you decide to get out. Nothing wrong with that either.

    The academy; and military in general; is NOT a "College Scholarship Program" or a "Jobs Program". It's purpose is to support and defend the constitution of the United States. And as such, defend the country and the citizens their of. Many who served before and gave the ultimate sacrifice, were soldiers, sailors, airmen in jobs like infantry, security, and other skills that probably weren't the most sought after if/when they transition into the civilian work force. But they served honorably knowing that what the military "NEEDED", was "More Important" than what the individual "WANTED".

    So, my advice for those interested in applying to the academy, ROTC, or enlisting is; If your primary priority for doing such, is to SERVE your country; then apply or enlist. Do the best you can at the academy or ROTC academically and with your military training, and apply for "jobs" that interest you and takes advantage or your skills and talents. If you get such a job, then be the best at it in your contribution to serving your country. If you don't get the kind of job you want or uses your skills and talents, still do your best at it for the minimum time required, then see about re-training into a new job when possible. If the "Job/education" portion is the MORE IMPORTANT priority to you, then PLEASE reconsider if the military is really the best place for you to be.

    It's simple: Ask the question BACKWARDS! If someone could see the future, and told you. "If you attend the academy, in 4 years from now, you WILL be an officer in security forces, in telecommunications, in INTEL, in Acquisitions, in Contracting, in WHATEVER". If you KNEW THIS ANSWER PRIOR to applying to the academy,........... WOULD YOU STILL APPLY? If the answer is NO...... then maybe you should reconsider whether you should apply in the first place. Obviously, serving isn't your main priority.

    But remember, your future and destiny is NOT PER-DETERMINED. You do have control over it. How hard you work at the academy. Being ranked as high as you can in the class and in your department/major. But if you can still say you want to SERVE, even if you knew in advance WHAT JOB you'll get, then THAT is the RIGHT PRIORITY. Do your best with it. If after the minimum time, it's not what you're passionate about, look into cross training into a new job. If that's not an option, decide what you want to do with your future.

    Best of luck.
     
  11. jeffinCharlotte

    jeffinCharlotte Member

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    Nice post. Short, sweet and very encouraging I bet to this young lady considering leaving. Simple short truth spoken here!
     
  12. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Not going to argue that there are millions of people who have jobs they arent thrilled with because it is absolutely true. I would argue however, that these people do themselves a disservice by remaining in these jobs and being uphappy with it. I realize there are many situations where the job choice cant be helped but we always have choices. If the only job in your town is to be a coal miner, then move to another city or state where there are more opportunities. I realize it isnt as easy as I say, but saying that your should put up with it because millions of other people are unhappy with their jobs doesnt seem the way to go. I realize that the military isnt just a job and it is service to your country, so it complicates the issue
     
  13. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    Humey. I don't think anyone is saying that a person should spend a career or a lifetime putting up with a job that makes them miserable or unhappy. The important bit of advice is to keep things in "Perspective". If a person doesn't like their time at the academy, they need to evaluate WHAT it is they don't like. The academy is only 4 years long. Perspective therefor is; "I might be able to "PUT UP" with it, because it leads towards the goals I'm looking for. On the other hand, if it's the entire military lifestyle that you realize isn't for you, then putting up with it for 9 years (4 at the academy and 5 on active service) would indeed be something that you shouldn't do.

    And for what it's worth, the same goes for the "REAL WORLD". You are correct that everyone has choices. But those choices aren't the same for everyone. A single 20-23 year old with no dependents has a LOT MORE CHOICES than the 35 year old who is married with 2-3 kids. The person who "Use to like their job", but because of a new boss they don't get along with, has a lot less choices if they are only a few years from tenure, retirement, or being vested in a company. A 20 year old miserable in their job or type of job has a lot more options to retrain and get education in a new career. The older person who is established financially in a career, has a mortgage, loans, etc. may not be able to start all over "AT THE BOTTOM" with a much lower pay scale. You are correct about 2 things. We all have choices; & choosing to make major career changes ISN'T as easy as you say; for many people.
     
  14. BarbieK

    BarbieK Banned

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  15. BarbieK

    BarbieK Banned

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    Christcorp - your wisdom is very evident. Thank you for all of your thought provoking responses especially this last one.
     
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  16. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    One of the veterans DS interviewed for his Eagle Project said "Do what you need to do in order to do what you want to do."

    The veteran enlisted in the Army, and while supporting a wife and child, he also earned his MS im Psychology before his CO caught on. He was able to finish his phd, got out and now is a substance abuse counselor for the Army- doing what he wants to do.

    The benefits and opportunities open to a young woman after the AFA are going to leave her with so many options. I wish she could see that.
     
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  17. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I agree with every thing you said. You are right the academy is only 4 years long and if it sucks for the student, they should be able to deal with it. This is especially true if their is a reward/goal at the end as in commissioning in the military and or obtaining their career goal. Then question then becomes if your goal is to be Russian Translator in the military and they send you to acquisitions, is the effort to complete the academy worth it when you are doing something that you just put up with
     
  18. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    I would say yes because you could continue to study Russian & become highly proficient in it while learning/succeeding in Acquisitions. You should be highly marketable by the end of your commitment with the last year as a Captain which I hear is a big increase in pay. Career Starter Loan, if taken, would be paid off by then. Living within your budget='s $ in the bank saved, so you should be approx. 26 y/o, minimum dept, & savings in bank, TSP, IRA, etc. And besides, you might even like Acquisitions.
     
  19. DesertCaliMom

    DesertCaliMom Member

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    And then add any security clearances gained and the ability to obtain more, ability to government contract translator jobs, ABC agencies, veterans preference...
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    1. Most times, you won't know what your JOB is going to be, until you're 3rd year. You've already committed to the academy. So your question is a MOOT POINT. There is NO WAY you're going to know what kind of job you're going to get, PRIOR to apply/being appointed/and spending the first 2-3 years at the academy. So....... "What's your point". If you decide at the 3-4th year to "Quit" the academy, you'll owe the military a lot of money; and/or perhaps time as enlisted. So again; the question you say to ask; "is the effort to complete the academy worth it when you are doing something that you just put up with", can't be asked OR answered. By the time you find out what job you have, it's a little "TOO LATE".

    2. This is why in MOST of my posts relating to this type of subject, I IMPRESS HEAVILY on applicants, that their PRIMARY GOAL is to serve in the military. HOW you serve, MUST BE SECONDARY. If you can't honestly say that serving is the #1 goal, then I suggest you reconsider applying. The needs of the military come ABOVE the needs of the individual. And after 2-3 years at the academy, they may find that you don't have what it takes to be in a certain job. Academic, Medical, etc. or maybe there's simply too many people already in that job and they don't need you in that job. There's a lot of people who come in wanting to be a pilot. Some don't make it medically. Some change their mind after a year or two and don't want to commit for another 10+ years after graduating.

    3. Even if you do want to serve as your #1 goal; if the job you get isn't something you really wanted, there's nothing that says you have to stay in that job forever. People cross train into different jobs all the time. Maybe you have to do your 3-4 years in acquisitions before getting a chance to apply to be a translator. (Or other job). In the end, as others have said, you received an education from a top-10 university; have $0.00 student debt; have a paid job and experience for 5 years; are totally marketable on the outside because of the "Team Mentality" that the academy and military teaches. In other words, the "Price you paid" for having to work 5 years in an occupation that you aren't passionate about, is so tiny compared to what you get in return. So YES, to answer your question.... It IS WORTH IT.

    But again; your question is MOOT. In the immortal words of Bill Murray; "It JUST DOESN'T MATTER". You will have NO IDEA what your job/occupation is going to be, until you've already committed to finishing the academy and giving the military their 5 years. If you don't like this possibility....... then DON'T APPLY TO THE ACADEMY. It's NOT a Jobs/Scholarship program.
     
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