Deciding to Affirm/Leave USMA Advice

CA_hopeful

5-Year Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
79
I used to live on this forum in high school. (Which I DO NOT recommend--enjoy high school and quit the extracurriculars you are only doing for resume points! Just work hard at the things you are genuinely passionate about, get good grades, and be kind and you will do great. But that's not what this post is about...anyway) Now, three years after my R-day and a year since I decided to not Affirm, I want to give cadet candidates and current cadets my perspective on how to approach and ultimately make this decision. When I was deciding last fall, I scoured every corner of the internet (including this forum) for stories from former cadets and found very little. Hopefully my story can help others as they struggle through the decision for themselves.

My main points are:
1. leaving is not failure
2. treat your decision to Affirm as completely separate from deciding to show up on R-day
3. DON'T let the effort you put into your application sway your decision (aka the sunk cost fallacy)
4. DO take into consideration the practical difficulties of transferring/switching career paths

My full spiel is posted on my blog at: https://laurab.blog/posts/Leaving-West-Point

I plan on making a later post about the practical technicalities involved with the transfer application process. Let me know if you have further questions and I'd be happy to discuss further/elaborate on the nitty-gritties.
 

CA_hopeful

5-Year Member
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Messages
79
so you basically took a gap year to apply to colleges?

That is correct. I did not apply to schools during my yuk year because I was pretty sure I would affirm. It was not until July that I finally did the soul-searching and pro-con lists and goal trees that resulted in me making the decision to leave. The gap year was not ideal because I was stressed about my future for the vast majority of it. If a cadet is considering leaving I would recommend that they apply during their yuk year, so they have all of their options on the table before deciding to leave. I'm still happy with my decision, but it would have been nice to have had more certainty.

Basically, don't put off hard decisions because you eventually have to make them anyway. Be proactive and intentional about Affirmation. It's a huge choice and sometimes I feel its magnitude is under-emphasized.
 
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