Doubts after acceptance

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by navyman123, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. navyman123

    navyman123 New Member

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    I’ve had my heart set on going to USNA since I was in 8th grade. But following the initial excitement that I had when I first read my acceptance email, I experienced extreme hesitation and doubts about attending.

    I’m just looking for some advice from anyone—current mids, applicants, parents, and alums—about whether I should accept the appointment. What have your experiences been with the Naval Academy? Are these sudden reservations a sign that the academy not be right for me?

    Any advice or past experiences are appreciated.
     
  2. Hopeful-Dad

    Hopeful-Dad Member

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    USNA had been DS' dream for at least 8 years and one that seemed potentially unattainable many times along the journey. He attended NASS last year and it confirmed everything he had imagined the Academy to be, reaffirming his conviction. He received an appointment yesterday and suddenly the seemingly unattainable dream had become a reality. He expressed that it was all incredibly 'surreal' to him and his emotions weren't what I would've expected (well, they were for the first 5 minutes or so, but seemed to quickly change). My point is that you're likewise at a huge juncture in life and you've accomplished something incredible that was a dream of yours for many years. IMO, it's normal to now have jitters - I wouldn't interpret that as "a sign that the academy may not be right for [you]" unless your heart tells you that you belong somewhere else and you know where that somewhere else is. Did you attend NASS or the Summer STEM program? Or did you otherwise ever visit the USNA? How did you feel about it then? The Academy is no different now than it was the day before you received your appointment. Just my two cents, at least. Congratulations on the appointment and best wishes on making the right choice!
     
  3. helmsdown

    helmsdown Member

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    Wondering if you made the right decision is probably pretty common. If you made a list of pros and cons to decide to apply, look that over again. DD had some weeks prior to I day where she seemed a bit apprehensive but felt better after talking with a few Mids home on vacation.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    I suppose the first question is the nature of your doubts. Not sure about military life. Not sure about the long commitment. Not sure you will measure up to your peers (a common doubt, BTW). Or something else.

    I ask b/c having some doubt/apprehension is normal and almost everyone experiences it at some point. Usually, this takes the form of . . . What am I getting myself into? Would I be happier at a civilian college? Will I make it through? Etc.

    That said, severe doubt should not be ignored as it may be an indication that this isn't the right path.
     
  5. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    I think another thing to ponder is that this is a huge time in your life no matter what your next step is. You have been a student your whole life, lived at home, that’s all you have known. Now you are a soon to graduate adult. That changes everything in your world. Turns it upside down no matter what your next step is. THATS NORMAL. I have two other adult children and they went through this phase too. Its all new and scary no matter what you are doing next.

    But you do need to think about your reasons for going and reflect on what is causing you apprehension. One thing I see as a huge benefit of the USNA, is the brother/sisterhood that will form. My own DS is going to embark on this journey with people that will be his family. I can already see that. This is different than the civilian college bonds (or lack thereof) that formed during my other two kids’ college experience.

    Maybe another (or initial if you haven’t yet) visit would be a good idea? I wish you luck and peace in your decision!!
     
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  6. lstoner7

    lstoner7 Member

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    I had a similar experience after I received my nomination for USMA. What I did to reaffirm my commitment was to look past the tradition, prestige, and monetary value of attending the academy, and ask myself, is this still something I want? Do I want to be an army officer? I am willing to die for my country? Am I willing to sacrifice a "normal" college life and live under a restrictive schedule? Do I value my education, personal growth, and future more than I value a certain amount of short-term happiness? If all of those answers are yes for you, then I'd say you are still committed to attending USNA. The answers were yes for me, and so I accepted my appointment to USMA on Monday. Best of luck on making your decision, just know that having doubts is certainly a normal part of the process.
     
  7. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    So well said by everyone! I believe you are feeling exactly how many others feel. It’s unreal and now it’s time to make a real decision. So you hesitate. Because it is the most important decision you will make in your life thus far. And certainly not the last! But it starts here. So you are feeling the stress.

    Be honest to your doubts. Unless your heart and soul are telling you DANGER DANGER RISK RISK, it is all very normal to feel what you are feeling. You will have this feeling again when you propose and the girl says yes. “What have I done!” Honestly, it’s better than that!

    I will throw in some questions. Is it the difficult academics ahead? Is it the loss of freedom? Is it going to college and leaving your family? Is it being away from home or unable to see your girl friend and unable to be close to your friends? If joining the military service is still in question you have 2 years to ponder at the Academy. Like people said, visit the Academy. There’s no better substitute. If you didn’t already, do CVW, please go. I think there might be one last session in March. A Navy Captain at NROTC Program told my DS, this should be your first true decision alone you should make and own up to it. He is an Annapolis grad and a commander of a strong NROTC Program at a civilian college. He wants my DS to come to his college but he thinks the decision should be my DS’ even though others can influence his decision. What is clear, USNA beats all SAs in location. City of Annapolis beats all the SAs locations. West Point is by Highland Falls. It’s really Hicksville compared to Annapolis, nothing there. My apology if anyone has a permanent home there. Air Force is on the mountain top at 7,000 feet. There’s nothing nearby you can walk to by foot. But Colorado Springs have good food and good people. Coast Guard is in New London near Mystic CT so little more charm near the Academy. USMMA is in Kings Point NY Long Island which is closer to Manhattan so that’s nice but still takes 40 minutes by taxi and LIRR. USNA is part of the Annapolis landscape when you walk out gate 3 and gate 1. And close to DC, 40 minutes by car, so that’s a real bonus! Ask yourself, what really matters most to me? Ask the Academy to arrange a call with Mids at the Academy and talk to Alumni if that can help you decide. You don’t want to go half hearted for sure, not to the Academies.
     
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  8. random_name

    random_name Member

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    If you decide to accept your appointment you should consider joining the 2022 group chat, now up to 200 appointees. It has been extremely helpful for my DD to get to know other plebes-to-be. Smaller sc groups have formed as well. They are having a lot of fun and she plans on hopefully meeting up with a group sometime before I-day.
     
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  9. helmsdown

    helmsdown Member

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    I agree with random_name. My DD joined her classes group and it helped a lot.
     
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  10. Just Dad

    Just Dad Member

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    Not to worry. If your doubts solidify over the next 6-7-8 weeks into reasons you can articulate for not going to the USNA, that's the time you sit down and reason out whether you should accept your appointment or not.

    On the practical side, understand that accepting an appointment and attending the USNA does not convert to any long-term commitment until you sign a 2 for 7 letter at the end of your 2nd year. If USNA is truly wrong for you, you have a "get out of jail free card" for the first two years.

    My own DD received notice of appointment in Jan. and struggled with a decision between Ivys and USNA right up until the closing date for accepting her appointment. She laughs at me now when I ask her if she intends to sign her 2 for 7 agreement. She's modified her plans for USNA overseas study because she wants to be "On the Yard" for her C1 year---she just wants to be there; just wants to be a part of it. She had her doubts going in but with the exception of her first week of Plebe summer, she's been consistently adamant that there is no place she'd rather be. I can also tell you as a Dad looking at the USNA experience from the outside-in, that I am grateful for the care and expertise that the USN has devoted to my daughter's education and I am hugely envious of my DD at the USNA (wish I'd done it). As the guy who rights tuition checks I'll tell you that if Yale had a program that included the leadership, interpersonal, and life lessons that the USNA provides--- I'd pay extra for it.

    Dude! You won an appointment to the USNA! An early, but clear indication that you have what it takes to do almost anything. Take that in for a moment before you worry over the next decision. In a few weeks it will be time to trust your own judgment,(a big part of finding success BTW). If you are called elsewhere---- go and don't look back. It may not seem like it now, but there is NO "Best Path", and you have more time and more options than you think.

    Congrats on the Appointment! and BTW, at least half of the summits I've reached in my life have been followed by an immediate "oh s---t what have I done"
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  11. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Go back and read your essays about why you want to go to USNA, serve as an officer, face the challenge of military life. Has anything essential changed there?

    Are you hearing HS classmates excitedly talk about their last summer before college, cool dorms, pledging Greek life, etc., but you’re thinking about Plebe Summer? Feeling a little isolated because you can’t really describe what it is you’re going to be doing? Parents anxious? Getting hit with well-meaning but ignorant remarks about going into military service?

    I would bet EVERYONE who has gone into the military has at some point said “oh s***, what have I done? I do NOT want to do this.” I certainly did, at several points, most especially after I had signed my OCS contract, had orders in hand and a report date circled on a calendar. It was real, at last.

    Take the time you need to reflect and sort things out. Determine whether this is just a transient bit of stage fright, or you got so wrapped up in the journey of applying and the thrill of the competition to get an appointment, you forgot to stay in touch with yourself about what it really means.

    Ask yourself a series of questions, working backwards. Build a reverse flow chart.

    - Do you want to serve in the military and understand you will owe some years of obligated service? Yes? Then keep going, that means an officer or enlisted program.

    - Do you want your college degree? Yes? Then that’s the officer path, via SA, ROTC, OCS or NUPOC.

    - Do you see yourself serving as a Navy or Marine Officer? Serving as an aviator, surface officer, submariner, ground officer, etc.?Yes? Then you know where to go.

    - Do you know yourself well enough that you will do better in an immersion military environment side-by-side with people a lot like you? Or are you thinking a more hybrid path such as ROTC will suit you better?

    - And, the big one - 10 years down the road, will you regret walking away from this?

    Be very honest with yourself. Block out the expectations of others and don’t worry about letting people down. It is your path, your life. Every year, at all the SAs, there are people who report in who felt they could not say “stop this rollercoaster, I want off.” They are not happy and often leave.

    It is NORMAL to have some jitters and doubts. You are facing one of the biggest uprootings of your life. You know everything is going to change, and you don’t really know who you will be, or how you will do. In HS, you’ve got the place wired, you know who you are, and you are good at it. As a plebe, you will be clueless, at least for a while. Be cool with that.

    I respect you for taking the time to express doubt. It shows a lack of hubris, which is something that gets people in trouble in every walk of life.

    Worry is like a rocking chair. You can keep doing it, but you won’t get anywhere. Focus on what you can control, get plenty of PT and rest in, talk with people you trust.

    Once you get to PS, you are so busy and overwhelmed with new stuff, you don’t have time to think. You just do. It’s the waiting for the unknown before you report that grabs at your imagination.

    As noted by other posters, the system is designed to let people out if it is truly not their path. It would not be the end of the world if you went, gave it 100% and decided at some point, even after 2 years, it wasn’t for you.

    Edit:
    This got me thinking about why I joined the Navy, and why I stayed for a full career. It was the honor and privilege of serving, and being trusted to lead people.

    How you start at USNA (USNA 2017, I-Day, sweaty and apprehensive):


    How you end (USNA 2017 enormously proud and confident) (skip to 58 minute mark):


    You get to lead people like this:




    And do really cool stuff:
    (See endless videos of Navy and Marine Corps folks and stuff in action)

    And actually have some fun at USNA - 4000+ bright minds embracing the suck along with you and finding outlets for the stress:
    (Because I can’t resist)
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  12. Jeepman

    Jeepman Member

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    Let me know what district you applied from and I will give you the answer to your question ;)
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    I agree that you should give it some time. One of the things I thought about . . . if I attend USNA and hate it, I can always attend a civilian school. If I don't attend USNA, will I always wish I had? Also,

    Even if you accept, you don't have to show up on I-Day. And you can quit any time in your first two years.

    I would try looking at it like this . . . am I nervous or apprehensive (normal) or am I dreading it like the plague (not a good sign)? IOW, if you're approaching end of June thinking, "I really don't want to do this but I feel pressure from (mom, dad, teacher, friends, community), then you're probably better off going somewhere else. I also agree with the above poster that you should be looking forward to going somewhere else (the "anything is better than X" is seldom true of anything in life).
     
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  14. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 5-Year Member

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    Navyman - Your doubts are absolutely, perfectly normal. This comes up every year as appointments start rolling in. I bet there are many others who wanted to start a thread just like this one but were fearful of what people might think. Many other appointees that are reading this are relieved that someone else had the courage to ask the question. Because they are feeling exactly as you are right now. Appointees such as yourself tend to be mature, thoughtful people and realize what a major commitment they are making by attending a service academy. The academy realizes this as well and makes the first two years 'free'. They want you to kick the tires and see if it is right for you. You will meet so many amazing officers and mids and you will glean from their experiences. You will hear stories of international travel, camaraderie that can be found no where else, pride of service, etc. You will also hear stories of just having to embrace the suck of the military, because that is a reality as well. But these stories and the people you meet at USNA will inform your decision when it comes time to sign 2 for 7.

    Regular college will always be out there, it's not going anywhere. While living at WP I knew many cadets who left for various reasons and there is no shame in doing so. They are all still the fantastic and smart people they were at the academy and have all, uniformly, gone on to do amazing things in the civilian world. If you decide that the academy is not for you, there is no dishonor in leaving before junior year. But as you make your decision now on whether to show up at I-Day or not, would you someday look back and say, I at least should have tried it?

    Again, your feelings at this point are perfectly normal. Take the time allotted to you to decide, as you have earned it.
     
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  15. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    You have a call sign Navyman123. It appears Navy is what you wanted from the start. Many wrote an incredible thread here just for you. Please read them all because they care for you and want you to succeed. And so do I.

    To give you a peer perspective, last weekend my DS spent time at the Naval Academy to do an overnight with the Mids. To be completely transparent, he went because he was on the fence going to Annapolis. Prior to going to CVW, his 123 ranked choices were Army Air Force Navy. From the start it wasn’t his first choice to go Navy. It has been Army since he was 8.

    He arrived at the Naval Academy and found about 100 Juniors at CVW. He didn’t like that. Only 10 were Seniors who came because many were also on the fence coming to USNA. Dean of Admissions gave these 10 a separate room presentation why USNA and why USNA is a great place for you academically and for a career in the Navy. DS said good bye Dad I said enjoy Son.

    That night I receive a text and it read, “Dad I’m having a good time. I met kids here just like me. They like things I like and have done and been to interesting places. And many are pretty smart.” That was the first night.

    Second night, “Dad today I had Chemistry, History, Calculus, and Cyber Ops. We woke up at 0500 and went to morning PT at 0530. I had Chem and Calculus they were boring. Many kids here said to place out in as many core classes as possible. Not worth repeating. They teach Calculus harder here and many who already had AP Cal BC regret not placing out. My roommate was getting a C+ and he scored 4 on his AP Exam. I’m going to place out if I come here. But Cyber Ops and History were great.” That was the second night.

    After I picked him up on a third day, in the car, he began with this: “Dad I met interesting kids here. My roommate is 21, a Prepster. He’s a Mormon. Travelled in Europe to preach the Gospel and during his time, he’s been on the scene of terrorists bombing 3 times. Yes 3 Times. The Paris bombing, Brussels Air Port Bombing, and the earlier BOSTON Marathon Bombing. He was pretty torn up from the Brussels bombing that left him permanent scar and burn marks around his body. It took him 6 months to recover. He later wrote a book about his incidents.” Either this kid follows bad luck or bad luck follows him.

    His other roommate was in the same spot he is now a year ago. From California. Got into USAFA was on the fence so came to USNA. Liked it he enrolled. He’s planning to be a Pilot in the Navy.

    Other kids he met on the floor were also great he said. Some watched Anime and some played online or video games at night. All had different aspirations in the Navy and came from all around the country. One of his Academy escort turned down Harvard to come to USNA. He said I visited Harvard NROTC. Met many smart kids but I liked USNA structure better and wanted to have the military experience more so than the combination. I met this kid and the LT with him. They made a very nice impression to me even in that short moment.

    Finally, my DS is now transformed. He is now talking more about the Navy career and the Major he plans to take at the Naval Academy. Navy for sure has more jobs to choose from various different communities. And he likes that wider choice. Some kids may not care. He will still wait until mid April to reply to Schools. But from Navy 3rd - 5th Choice to Naval Academy 1st Choice. Now that’s transformation. I hope this gives you a perspective coming from your peer who had apprehension going to Navy as his first choice. You should do more due diligence on your self as much as on the Schools you are admitted. Still too early so you have time so good luck and choose well!
     
  16. Wagmore

    Wagmore Member

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    navyman123 - A mom of the class of 2022 here, chiming in. Step back for a couple of minutes and think about the last 6-9 months of your life. In addition to all of your normal activities you’ve been asking for recommendations, following up on recommendations, writing essays, editing essays, wondering why every gosh darn Senator and Representative wants a different essay (not to mention the USNA essay), practicing for CFA, scheduling CFA, wondering if CFA results are ‘enough’… Get my drift? It is a non-stop effort to get to the point of waiting for your offer of appointment, and all of your focus has been on securing that nomination and appointment.

    Then you get the offer. There is the initial euphoria followed by the inevitable realization that, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” This is real. It’s exciting and scary, and it’s real. What you are feeling is absolutely ok.

    If you are a man of faith (almost any faith), I would suggest that you find a place of quiet solitude and listen to the still, small voice inside. Imagine yourself declining USNA and attending a different school. Does that image give you a feeling of peace or anxiety? Picture other scenarios. It may take time, but eventually you will feel peace with one of your paths. May is still a long way off. You have plenty of time to come to the best decision.

    Regardless of your ultimate path, be proud of what you have accomplished. I wish you the best.
     
  17. jebdad

    jebdad 5-Year Member

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    I would respectfully submit that the helpfulness of the class FB and group chats would be highly individualized and could have the opposite effect on your mental health. Not everyone is rocking out 500 situps and pushups per day, self studying honors abstract algebra, memorizing knowledge and getting 12 hours of sleep while traveling the globe. Like most social media, people show or reveal to you what they want you to hear or see. There are reasons there are studies that link FB usage to depression. It's not for everyone and there is nothing wrong with entering USNA without a bunch of facebook or group chat friends.
     
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  18. ThePatternisFull

    ThePatternisFull BGO

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    IMHO this is natural. My daughter can not imagine herself at a normal university. She has told me many times that her family is her USNA family, her family at home is next. At first that bothered me then I came to understand and was proud that she has found her, "QUAN!" “It means love, respect, community… The entire package. The Quan!”I hope you will find your "QUAN" at USNA.
     
  19. Humey

    Humey Member

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    I am sure most kids are hesitant about the college they accepted. You have it slightly worse because your school comes with a different lifestyle all together. As someone else wrote, you can alway quit if you dont like it. You probably cant get an extra chance if you dont accept and then change your mind later.
     
  20. techygirl

    techygirl Member

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    I understand your point—the good news is it’s not like Facebook at all. I haven’t seen any bragging and people have been very humble and supportive. We have several prior enlisted and many NAPS attendees who have been very helpful answering questions and alleviating anxieties.