Looking for advice on interviews.

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Vaquero, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. Vaquero

    Vaquero Member

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    Together with his parents, we picked up a grandson last Thursday from summer session 2. My wife and I visited the Academy last fall on a trip back east, were very impressed, and returning I facetiously remarked to our grandson that we found the school he should attend.

    At 17, he has no solid idea yet what he wants to do schooling wise nor career wise. Our family has no history of military service so we did some research and he attended the summer session in an effort to get a clearer picture.

    He loved the experience, saying the Academy was now his clear first choice. I asked him about the idea of serving in the Navy and his response was that it was now something he could see himself doing but he is not to the point of feeling that is 100% his career choice.

    He's thought about medical school--realizes the tough route the Academy is for that choice--very much enjoyed a mechanical engineering class at summer session and likes what he has read about the new cyber operations department.

    He wants to go forward with the nomination process. My advice was to do so, pray about his ultimate decision, and then go forward. Two questions:

    1. How honest should he be in a nomination interview and with his BGO on the question of service commitment as a 17-year old who is still not 100% sure what he wants to do with his life? My reaction was to be honest and tell the interviewer that the summer session had a real impact on him and that's why he's pursuing a nomination.

    2. His primary concern now is family life and deployments. What type of billets would result from mechanical engineering, versus cyber operations versus medicine and what is family life like with the Navy?
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    Excellent questions.

    On question one, what follows is my perspective. I don't expect all 17-yr-olds to be fully committed. My personal view is that, at 17, you don't really understand what serving in the military is all about, and that is especially true for those who are not from military families. That's also why USNA gives you two years to decide whether to stay. That said, I do expect candidates to have some understanding of what they're getting into -- they will be line officers, likely will be stationed (or deployed) overseas for months at a time, etc. And I expect them to have at least some interest in this as a future. So, I think your advice is sound.

    On question two. First of all, if your DS wants to be an MD right out of college, tell him to take a path other than USNA. The odds of going to med school from USNA are INCREDIBLY long. Last year, there were 50-60 mids who were fully qualified to go to med school and wanted to do it (and that's AFTER a major internal vetting process). 12 got the opportunity and that number isn't going to increase in the near future. The fact is that 95% of grads are going to be unrestricted line officers -- driving ships or subs, flying aircraft, or serving in a USMC ground billet. Which means there's a 95% chance your DS will do that. Also, those who go the medical school route are (essentially) committing to at least a 20-yr military career, due to the "payback" from all that schooling.

    Your major has almost nothing to do with your service assignment. IOW, mech Es, can fly, be Marines, drive subs, etc. Cyber ops majors MIGHT have an inside track to one of the VERY FEW cyber ops billets, but I don't think there's a direct correlation. Those going to med school almost always major in chemistry, but most who major in chem don't become MDs. What matters is doing well academically, which helps you get your first choice of service assignment.

    I'll let someone who's currently in the USN/USMC weigh in on family life and deployments. But, I think it's a bit early for your DS to worry about this. At this point, who knows what track his career AND personal life will take? He'll have plenty of time to sort that out when it all happens.
     
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  3. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    1) First and foremost, this should be his choice....he's got to want it and not do it because he thinks he is pleasing parents /grandparents or anyone else.

    2) Second, he has to have an sincere desire to serve as a Naval or Marine Corps officer. That is the mission of the Naval Academy .

    As a BGO, the #1 thing I want to see is Interest and Motivation. There has to be a strong desire to attend and serve as a Navy or Marine Corps officer. I know what it takes to get through Plebe Summer and 4 years at USNA, and any doubt reduces the candidate's chance of making it through. USNA is not a "college choice," and serving in the Navy or Marine Corps is not just an ancilliary sidelight of going to college.

    That being said, I see a broad range of responses about desire to serve a career, and I often tell candidates it would be hypocritical for me to insist that they commit to a 20 year career when they are 17 years old. I was one of those that was gung ho, with full intent to stay in forever, wasn't going to get married until a LCDR, etc.. Life happens, I got married a week after graduation, and between deployments and reductions in the P3 force, I didn't see a great future in staying in the Navy, so my life took a different direction. I had Classmates who were a lot more nonchalant about the Navy who went on to very successful careers. Accordingly, my only objective is that they enter with an open mind about staying in for a career. Time will tell whether they will stay or leave.

    Finally, your question about life in the Navy is very broad, and one could write a novel (and many have). Like anything else, there are pros and cons. On the pro side, you are working with some of the greatest people in the world, and have the opportunity to do things that most people only dream about. One of the cons is certainly deployment and being away from family, and people all handle that differently. Being willing to leave your family for 6+months at a time (and a lot of shorter detachments etc) takes commitment and a strong spouse, and can be difficult. That being said, looking back at my deployments almost 30 years later, I view them as one of the most professionally rewarding periods of my life , and remember the good times more than the bad.
     
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  4. Mountain_Mom

    Mountain_Mom 5-Year Member

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    Let me also add that I have three sons, and the one who really wants to go to medical school is at a civilian university. I would IN NO WAY dissuade your grandson since he sounds like an excellent young man who will make thoughtful choices. The comment I made to my son was, "if you don't get into medical school on the first try, they won't give you a year off to study for your MCATs, and they would be delighted to take you after you get your M.D. (or even once you get in)." There are lots of ways to serve and lots of points to enter the service of our country.
     
  5. Vaquero

    Vaquero Member

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  6. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO 10-Year Member

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    Pretty certain that most who go into the information warfare communities (IWC) completed a STEM major....non-STEM majors obtaining a slot would be more of an exception. Doing well in the cyber operations, computer science, computer engineering, etc. majors are likely to increase the odds of selection. As far as deployments....the IWC deploys with afloat units and staffs...so one can expect those to be sprinkled in.
     
  7. Skid Kid

    Skid Kid New Member

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    usna1985 covered a lot of what you were asking about on point. No one is expecting a 17 year old to be 100% sure about this kind of decision. That's why you have the two years to make up your mind before signing on for the long haul. What they do expect is for the candidate to have an idea of what is ahead of them and what that means for their lifestyle. It means that they will not have the typical college experience that you here about in the movies, it means that their academics are going to be harder than most other colleges, but it also means that he is going to develop some of the closest friends that he has ever had. People that are going to be there for him through thick and thin, and even when you haven't seen them for years you can pick up that friendship almost instantly. (I'm not going down the fact that he's deciding to serve because I feel that one is self explanatory)

    The major he selects at the Academy will have almost zero impact on what service assignment he receives. It is more important that he does well in whatever major he selects. I say almost because it does have some impact if he desires to go subs or nuc-swo as STEM majors are more competitive for those positions.

    For the last question with regards to family life, it is something that you have to understand is going to happen. It requires you being up front with whoever you are seeing as a potential spouse that it will happen, that they have to be completely on board. If you don't have a strong spouse back home, it doesn't work. It is hard to leave the family, but as long as you and your spouse are on the same page and know it's coming, you can get through it. I find that the deployments always make my wife and stronger as a couple. Either way, he as a LONG time to make sure that his family is in line. Focus first on getting through the Academy, then on getting through whatever school is mandatory for his service selection.