Grades slipped, concerned about how I'll look on transcript

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by sw1mm3r, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. sw1mm3r

    sw1mm3r Member

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    So to start off, I've been a fairly good student with mostly A's and the occasional single B per year.

    I'll just say that the past semester hit me hard. I failed to reach my goals for swim, my grades started to slip a little, started beating myself up about it, and fell into deep depression. I broke connections with my family and friends, and to top it all off, spring break was a no swim week, and I felt extremely lost and confused. Suicidal thoughts filled my head and I had found no value in effort. Telling my family would've been a no go as well because well, I'm Asian, and let's just say extreme emotions would be acted upon me for not getting A's (it's seriously not a joke) and they don't understand mental health.

    My grades tanked this semester. From getting A's, I went to C's and D's.
    Fortunately, my sister and GF helped me get through my depression. Although not completely out of it yet, it helped get me out of the bottom of it. I managed to scrape what grades I had all up to a B but now I'm really concerned if this would look bad on my application.
    I also just got back from SLE session 1, and have one week of school left.



    TL;DR (too long; didn't read) : My grades are now all B's for one semester after mental health issues. How much of an impact on my application will it have/how bad does it look on an application?
     
  2. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    I have no comment on how all this will affect your application. I DO have other comments, however.

    Very, very proud of you for working through this!! I am a mom, not a DR, to me it sounds like this was a situational type thing for you....the proverbial hole that gets bigger and harder to dig out of. It’s important to realize that these ‘holes’ can ALWAYS be managed. One may not get out of them the way they originally intended, but you WILL get out.

    A high school student doesn’t have the years of perspective, maturity, reflection to understand or realize that in time....these events will not even be a BLIP on the radar of your life. At all. Won’t even matter. At all. But it’s impossible for your younger self to know this. The other thing that is perhaps impossible to know, is that you will be a better, stronger, more well rounded individual for going through your difficulties and realizing that at the time, something may seem an insurmountable hurdle. But going through those hurdles (and you will) help you learn and understand that you CAN get through them. And it WILL be ok. People need to learn to fail to learn they CAN fail and be ok.

    One thing that can be helpful is to pen a letter from your future self to your present self. Give yourself advice. The kind of advice you would give a good friend or someone you care about. That can help with perspective. And obviously reaching out to someone who cares about you that you trust (like you did...I would also suggest a counselor or other trained adult - Chaplin for example). You state that you ‘aren’t out of it yet’....I don’t know what that means, but it is very important to reach out to trained individuals to help with this. Your sister and gf don’t have all the tools that are available to a trained mental health professional to help.

    I do understand Asian parental expectations from the perspective of hosting Asian exchange students who are here to graduate from an American school. So they are with us for many years. I get that it can be a real thing. This is also what spoke to me about your post.

    It is HUGE that you got through this. And whether or not it “affects your application”, don’t let that define you. There are many, many wonderfully qualified applicants here who ultimately received a TWE, leaving a lot of people scratching their heads. My point is that no matter WHAT, it’s important to have a plan b,c,d. And should you not receive an appointment, there is no way to know if it was due to the situation you pointed out or not. Do a quick search of “TWE”, and you will see this to be the case. Also know that, IMO, there is a great deal of value in going through the application process whether you receive that appointment. We grow and learn from everything: successes and failures.


    Again, I have no idea or opinion on how this will look for you. I have only been here a year. I will say that DS went through the process and I cannot even express how much he grew and discovered about himself for going through it and I would feel that way whether he received an appointment or not.

    Kuddos for you for getting through your semester. No one thing defines who you are. So as awful as an event or situation is at the moment...that is not who you are. You are made up of lots of different things. And I promise, that no matter how awful something seems at the moment...on the radar of your whole life it won’t even matter or be a blip someday. I wish you best of luck!!
     
  3. brovol

    brovol Member

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    USMA looks at "class standing" and SAT/ACT scores to determine the academic portion of the admissions formula. Not to sound unsympathetic, but just about every applicant who doesnt finish with a perfect academic record can site personal reasons or challenges why grades might have slipped here or there. Academies know barriers exist for everyone, and thus the bottom line is just that; the bottom line. How where do you stand in your class, and how are those standardized test scores? Then, what does the rest of your application look.

    Obviously a psychological issue is going to be concerning, and I can offer no insight there. But as to the grades; class standing is still going to carry the day.
     
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  4. MidCakePa

    MidCakePa Member

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    The academies — all colleges, in fact — like an upward progression in grades. Downward trends raise eyebrows. So if you’re intent on applying, be ready to explain why, show the steps you’ve taken to turn things around, and demonstrate that you’re back on track. You can do this in your essays and/or interviews. You’ll also need to show compensating attributes — that is, exceptional results in leadership roles or varsity athletics. Determination, resilience, grit are all valued in military officers, so show them you’ve got all three in spades. Good luck.
     
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  5. usma2021

    usma2021 New Member

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    Dear sw1mm3r,

    Usually as an Asian we keep to ourself but your post does tug at my heart strings and I want to reach out to you, let you know I am rooting for your sucess!
    Like I said I am an Asian mom so I understand what you're been through and your case is so similar to my DS who also was a swimmer. His grade tanked at first semester of sophomore year and he though it was the end of the world for him, that no SA would want him...and now look he happily finished his Plebe year at Westpoint.
    I just want you to know this is just a tiny bump in your path, it will not stop but make you stronger. Nothing is at the end unless you are no longer in this world! Maybe when you apply for the SA, you should let them know what has happened and how you do pull through all of this mess, I think they like to see kids with character.
    Failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts - Winston Churchill

    Hugs from a mom!
     
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  6. jebdad

    jebdad Member

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    One of the most overlooked hurdles in getting an appointment is passing the medical. Did you take any meds or receive any treatment for depression? If so, that might be harder to overcome than a bad grade.
     
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  7. sw1mm3r

    sw1mm3r Member

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    @justdoit19 Thank you for your kind words and advice. I know that these events may not be a significant part of my life, but at the moment it just looks as if it could affect the outcome of my life. Professional help is something I have considered, however, again, Asian parenting.
    Congratulations to your DS!


    @brovol I can't estimate my class rank at all, my school does not rank. My standardized testing scores are above what google says about West Point (is that even accurate?). Psychologically, I hope it doesn't concern admissions too much.


    @MidCakePa Thanks for the advice. Upward progression in anything is obviously wanted, and is exactly the reason why I'm concerned. In terms of compensating attributes, I'm currently trying to raise all three of those value as high as I can.


    @usma2021 Haha thank you, hugs are always welcome and I hope your DS does well. Getting through this definitely gave me insight on my values and my character. Amazing quote as well, "Failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts" - Winston Churchill.


    @jebdad No, I have not taken any medications nor did I receive treatment. It was something I also put thought into staying away from, as I've heard DoDMERB can be harsh.
     
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  8. justdoit19

    justdoit19 Member

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    I think you really need to talk to someone overall. The good news is that you have time to spend on this before your application deadlines.

    Also, there are adults you can speak with in confidence of your parents. Maybe not a formal discussion, but informal. A priest? Trusted teacher? Counselor? It pains me to think kids are carrying such painful burdens all on their own shoulders. There are even 1-800 numbers you can call if feeling distressed.

    Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over that past. It’s gone. Focus on the future.

    Again, good luck to you!
     
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  9. sw1mm3r

    sw1mm3r Member

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    Judgement day has arrived, and my parents are furious. I ended up with 2 A’s and 4 B’s.

    How does one explain everything I experienced to a narcissistic parent?
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

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    You don’t.
    Don’t look backward, but forward, and commit to doing what it takes to recover, on all fronts. And PT - the best endorphin-releases and stress-buster around!
     
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  11. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Wow! +1 to Capt MJ.... as usual.
     
  12. SAparent2023

    SAparent2023 Member

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    As a parent, I think you need to sit down and speak honestly with your parents. They should be incredibly proud of you. First, you are excellent student and 4 B's and 2 A's are a great result especially after bringing those up from C's and D's. I can understand parents can be blind and driven for our children but it comes from a place of love and desire for you to have the best and have opportunities we never had. But in today's society, it also isn't culturally impossible to understand the stress and anxiety young men and women are under to perform. In a time when celebrity suicides are common and depression and anxiety are real medical conditions and being more and more recognized everyday, the fact that you dealt with it and overcame it and performed as well as you did, is cause for joy. Good for you and if your parents don't understand, remember that they love you and life is a marathon - not a sprint. Stay healthy and seek your own happiness.
     
  13. usma2021

    usma2021 New Member

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    I know it would be hard for them to understand, maybe you can share the letter from Singapore school principal with them :)))
    [​IMG]
     
  14. ORD1812

    ORD1812 Member

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    I had a situation somewhat similar to yours first semester sophomore year. I've definitely felt the mental health aspect of the application process, it's kind of a slog to get through it all. Huge props to you for handling it all and moving forward. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you want (I was first session of SLE too, 4th platoon 7th squad).