Still Deciding

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by hoopjack13, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    1,047
    Everything about this thread seems to indicate that you won't be happy at the academy. Right now you should be thrilled about the prospect of attending. After I Day the realization will hit you like a ton of bricks that you have immersed yourself into a highly controlled environment.

    It will be the toughest thing you have ever attempted. If you succeed you will be richly rewarded. It's about mental toughness. Do you have that?
     
  2. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    I disagree that everything about this thread indicates that... And yes I would say I have mental toughness if you read what I posted earlier about persevering through two seasons of varsity basketball with a singular win. As I watched my closest friends quit and heard crap from people every single day while taking the hardest curriculum my school offered. I also am the captain of the cross country and track team which are two sports entirely made up of mental toughness.
     
  3. mja2014

    mja2014 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Messages:
    111
    Likes Received:
    2

    I looked at your other posts, and I have to say this. If you truly wanted to go to the academy, this wouldn't be such a hard choice. Maybe you are more cut out to be a ROTC cadet at a college? If the end goal is to become an officer in the military then maybe that is your best option. Do what you feel comfortable doing, what you will enjoy most, not what people tell you is the right thing to do, or what you think may look better


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  4. Enlisted_Programmer

    Enlisted_Programmer What's your role? Air Control! 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    24
    When enlisting, I gave up many lake house trips, and going to college with my best friends from high school. I don't regret military life at all. Obviously, everyone is different, but should I ever be separated or retired I will sincerely miss military life. I look forward to the challenging times at USAFA, because it's through these times that you develop as a person and forge new life-long friendships. If service is your desire, take it without looking back. There will be days where you wonder "What if?", but I have answered these with all the many great opportunities and the fact that it isn't guaranteed that I would have loved civilian life only wondering "What if?" I possibly, but doubtfully, could have slacked off like other friends and lost out on whatever scholarship I might have taken. What if I had taken and gotten comfortable in a part-time job. I can't see myself that way, but I don't have to worry about that. If you like living in one town for 20 years, stay a civilian, but if you love new experiences and would like to be stationed in various locations then have no doubts about what you should do. The camaraderie if nothing else is what inspires me to never leave. I have met many retirees who would trade places with me in a heartbeat to enjoy another AF career life. At any rate, best of luck to you whichever path you choose. :thumb:

    Additionally, I made my decision before applying for either or starting the process. I chose for myself USAF over USMC before I ever spoke to a recruiter. I didn't want to force that difficult decision on myself if I wasn't going to choose to go 100%. Should you decide to go, hold nothing back.
     
  5. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    47
    Your head is telling you it's the best thing for you, your heart is saying you want to stay with your friends or girlfriend or whomever. I felt the same way when I decided to enroll full time in college my senior year of high school. Sure I'd still graduate with them, but I thought about all the fun times I'd miss with my friends in school, about how little time I'd have with my boyfriend, how I loved being in the orchestra and my sports teams and would miss them. Logically I knew this was the best way to improve my resume and help me in getting an AFROTC scholarship (I knew I didn't want to go for the Academy, wanted to go to the best school for my major and I did, plus my college is close to home and my family is really close so it's great that I can be here for another couple years and enjoy my college experience even more), but I was really having trouble letting go of HS and all the things I thought I'd miss. But I did what I knew I should do and had an even better time than I would had if I'd given up the opportunity. Not to mention it helped me get what I really wanted, a scholarship so I could afford my school of choice and start working on my goal of becoming an Air Force Officer. It was a hard step to make, but it's been one of the best decisions of my life as it led to so many more opportunities.

    What your feeling is totally normal. Don't let anyone tell you that because you're not feeling 110% siked for the academy that you don't deserve to go over someone else who is, or that if your having doubts now you shouldn't go. That's total BS. Feeling bad about not being around your girlfriend and being afraid of missing out on things does not mean that at all. It means you need to sit down with yourself, think about what you really want out of life and if the academy is the best way to achieve that. Keep in mind that there are people that will be in your life for a season, and people that will be there for a lifetime. I don't know which category the people you know now are in, but I will tell you that you will absolutely meet people in college, ROTC, or in your case the academy, that will be there for a lifetime. Just because military life is regimented, doesn't mean you won't have the best time of your life doing it. I'm in AFROTC at my #1 school. I love my school and ROTC makes it 100 times better. I have met people in the past 2 years that know and understand me better than anyone I knew in HS ever could. My ROTC family is the best resource I have for help with classes, and some of the most fun I have during the day is at PT or at Leadership Laboratory. I couldn't imagine college life without the military being a part of it.

    AFROTC life is great, I have the military life but I also have a lot of freedom. It's far more difficult to stay in AFROTC though than it is to stay in the academy for someone who really wants to be there. Just take a peak at the ROTC part of the forum. With the academy, once you get in and continue to do what you need to do as far as grades and conduct, you will be well on your way to commissioning. You can commission with a 2.0, you won't get your choice of jobs but you'll at least still be an officer. For AFROTC, even if you have a scholarship, if you're gpa is not in the competitive 2.9-3.0+ range or if your major is not a tech or critical major, you may very well be cut after your 2nd year. In previous years the gpa requirements were maybe .2 lower, but with budget cuts this year has been the most competitive year in AFROTC history. Out of 2600 that went up for selection, 1590 got a slot. Average gpa was a 3.38. So you can go the AFROTC route, but know that your chances of commissioning are a lot higher with the academy since you're not competing with your peers for a commissioning slot.

    I think that if you feel that you will regret it if you pass up your appointment, you already have your answer. You know yourself best and I think that you know that the academy is the best for you. And like you said, you're only 18 and you can't say for sure if you can commit now to the next 9 years of your life (4 in school, at least 5 active duty). But after the 1st year there you will know. The good thing is if you go and find out it's not for you, you can leave and transfer your credits to another college. Don't make any decisions about leaving though before you complete BCT an the 1st semester at least, try to give yourself a year before you decide if it's not for you. It's not so easy the other way around. If you give up your appointment, go to a different college, and constantly feel the regret of not having gone to the academy, it'll be a lot harder for you to reply and convince the board you're serious about going this time.

    I say go take some time with yourself, away from your family or anyone that's trying to sway your decision, to think about what your long term goals are and to come to the conclusion I think your subconscious has already come to.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  6. JJawsFoss

    JJawsFoss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, I am also from MN and my son is a C4C at USAFA now. I think that it's good that you are questioning if USAFA is the right place for you and you are taking your commitment seriously. It was my son's dream to attend USAFA since 7th grade and he had no doubts about accepting his appointment, but even he was nervous prior to I-Day. To be honest, it was tough on me seeing all of his friends around town having a fun, carefree summer while I was stalking WebGuy and seeing what he was going through.

    I don't know everything my son went through this past year (and I don't want to know!), but it has been very challenging. That being said, he hasn't regretted a minute of it. I know privileges are squadron dependent, but we have actually been surprised at how many fun things he has been able to do this year. He joined the ski club, so was skiing at Breck and Keystone many weekends. He and his squad mates would borrow cars and go out to dinner, movies, bowling, or up to Denver. He spent time off campus at the BSU house (bible study group) where they would watch Sunday football games and make dinner. He was able to travel home and we have travelled to CO to visit him more than I ever thought. My point is, we have been pleasantly surprised at how much he's been able to do this year when it wasn't a training weekend or they had other commitments. On top of that, he has made some incredible friends and been exposed to amazing opportunities.

    I am one of the MN Parent's Club Reps and was wondering if you and your family will be at the Appointee Spring Banquet tomorrow. If so, my husband and I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

    Congratulations on your appointment and best of luck to you with your decision!
     
  7. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    8
    As someone in your position a year ago, i gotta tell you. Motivation. It doesnt matter why you come after you get off that bus. You have to be motivated to stay. I had no military background, no family, very few people i knew had experience in the military, say nothing about a service academy. Stay motivated, basic is going to be rough this year.

    You forge your own path, and it will not be easy. If you'd like to PM me with more specific questions, go right ahead.
     
  8. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    JJawsFoss- Yes! My family and I will be there tomorrow night. Really looking forward to it. Thanks for the insight about your son's first year. I know it will be tough, harder than anything I've ever done, but it's nice to know I will have some of those fun opportunities!

    I do appreciate all these wonderful responses! Definitely some good things to think about. I am going to make the pro/con list that someone suggested earlier, attend the appointee banquet, and take some time to myself to think about the decision.
     
  9. mnmom94

    mnmom94 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    2
    JJawsFoss,

    My son received and accepted an appointment to the USAFA class of 2018. We are in MN-04. We didn't hear about the spring appointee banquet, and couldn't attend at any rate. However, I'd love some information about the MN USAFA parents' group you referenced. Please let me know how to get more info. Thanks!
     
  10. skismuggs

    skismuggs 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    261
  11. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow. Thank you for sharing that post... Really put things into perspective
     
  12. NargleSlayer

    NargleSlayer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know there's a lot about "what if you regret it"... But I'm gonna throw my two cents in and add to this.

    My boss is constantly talking to me about how he almost went to an academy and how he chose his wife over the academy... a part of me senses that he really regrets not going. This seems to be a common theme amongst the adults that I've talked to about SA's.

    4 years of college is only a small portion of your life if you really think about it. Why not make it one of the most rewarding experiences of your life?

    I don't have any military background in my family and I was very indecisive and was constantly questioning myself. Also, knowing that 99% of your friends will be taking the safety-net civilian college route doesn't make it any easier. But if you look into the trend of students graduating college now, (just look at how quick high school went by ...Don't Blink by Kenny Chesney is coming into my mind right now) you'll see a lot of kids moving back in with their parents, not getting the jobs that they intended, and no guarantee of a job. While they're at that easy going college now, they won't have that guarantee later, whereas you (and me) will be putting our noses to the grindstone now, and not sweating it later (when it really matters).

    If you don't like it after one year, you can leave no problem! But if you choose civilian and then think oh crap what a golden opportunity I just let slip through my fingers... It's difficult to reapply and get accepted after admissions saw you turn it down once.

    Also, Colorado is amazing. We'll have a blast on free weekends.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2014
  13. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2010
    Messages:
    6,653
    Likes Received:
    2,270
    Really?

    Nose to the grindstone is not exclusive to the Academies. AFROTC as well as all ROTC cadets and Mids at the "Safety Net" colleges work incredibly hard to manage both the military and civilian side of college, all the while competing for the chance at an EA slot to continue on to a commission.

    Nobody should ever select one path over another simply because they may feel some sense of regret, if a person's true goal is to be come an officer in the AF or any branch of the military, how you get there will carry no regret.
     
  14. Ardent Nine

    Ardent Nine USAFA '18

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I made an account just to respond to this thread. Hopefully I'll get some more use out of it soon.

    I'm in the same boat as you, hoopjack13, except I made my decision today. I committed to the academy. Funny timing, too, since I just got back from an overnight stay at a civilian college I was considering.

    The only reason I'd ever have wanted to attend a normal college is because some little instinct in me told me I'd have more fun there. You know what they say about the rigors of the academies -- and you don't usually hear the same things about places like, say, Swarthmore. That's the college I visited. It's a little liberal arts school near Philadelphia.

    For the longest time, my decision was Air Force v. Swarthmore. They're polar opposites, and it's not so easy to compare apples and oranges. One gives you the structure and the discipline to fit into a military hierarchy. The other gives you the freedom to find your own way in the civilian world. Me, I was always a fan of that military structure. Plus, the little boyish part of me thinks it would be fun to crawl around in the mud at BCT.

    Still, I doubted myself up until today. I'd gone through the entire application process believing that the students at civilian colleges have so much free time and leniency, which they use to party all the time. But I visited Swarthmore, and I spoke with lots of the kids there firsthand. And you know what? They're all just as stressed out and overbooked as any cadet I've met. Sure, they have fun at times, but that's not why they go to school. They go to school to work hard and to study and to make themselves into better people, just like the kids at the academies. In other words, I imagine there's gonna be rigor anywhere you go. The difference is, those non-academy kids are paying tuition. And don't have a salary. And aren't guaranteed jobs upon graduation. And, most importantly, they don't get to wear those sexy berets.

    I chose Air Force because I understand now that I'm not missing out by passing up on a civilian education. The kids at any good school work just as hard as the cadets, and the cadets have as much fun as those same kids. But here's the other side of the coin -- the kids at civilian schools are definitely missing out on the fraternal culture of the military. They hang out with buddies; we hang out with brothers-in-arms. They don't get to train with parachutes in their second summer. They don't have the potential to become fighter jet pilots, or CIA cryptographers, or NASA rocket scientists -- at least, not very easily. They'd have to jump through some crazy hoops to get the same opportunities that academy graduates are given all the time. If we work hard in the academies, the world will open up for us in a way that it won't for any civilian. And that's why I chose Air Force. I hope to see you there.

    Go Falcons!
     
  15. Dad

    Dad 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,133
    Likes Received:
    61
    After commissioning nobody will care how you came to get your butter bars. They will only care how well you do your job. It is a HUGE mistake to underestimate the dedication and hard work the ROTC folks do to prepare academically and militarily. The path is different, NOT worse, than USAFA.

    Quality answer, as always, Jcleppe! :thumb:
     
  16. skismuggs

    skismuggs 5-Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    261
    i dont think he was talking about someone who was going to ROTC at all. he said 99% of OPs friends - maybe the 1% will do ROTC and bust their behinds too like the SAs. i doubt that most of OPs friends are going to civilian colleges with ROTC in mind.

    otherwise this is another likely scenario that always comes up these days.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/help-owe-150k-student-loans-123057939.html


     
  17. Invisibility

    Invisibility Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    27
    Hoopjack, Ardent Nine, and any other lurkers that I've missed in skimming this thread --

    Whatever you decide, decide to be happy. The worst decision you can make is to make your decision and then allow yourself to rethink, and rethink, and rethink. I actually changed my mind about the Academy--I'd told another college I was going there, and then called back the Admissions office. Once I'd committed, though, I decided that even though I didn't think I'd have any "fun" (wrong on that count!) at all freshman year, I was going to make the best of it and remind myself about what I was there for.

    The same goes for if you decide on a civilian college. Guess what? Things are NOT always going to be fun. You WILL have to work hard, and you WILL have days where you just want to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. If you let yourself believe that somehow you'd be magically more motivated if you were at the Academy, that is not going to help you.

    You have lots of great options. You should be happy about this and not lose sight of the fact that they are all great options. You will be able to thrive no matter what you decide, if you decide that you want to thrive. Best of luck in your decision.
     
  18. JJawsFoss

    JJawsFoss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wonderful - so glad you will be attending! Please seek me out - my name is Jill and I will be one of the greeters welcoming people to the banquet. My husband will not be at the banquet now - he got last minute game tickets to the MN Wild vs Avalanche game in Denver tomorrow night, so is flying out in the morning. He is picking up our son at USAFA after the Polaris Warrior event tomorrow and they are having a guys weekend in Denver! See you tomorrow!
     
  19. JJawsFoss

    JJawsFoss Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2013
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    MNMOM94,

    I am so sorry you didn't receive an invitation! I understand that the academy has tightened up on privacy and so it was more difficult for our organizers to get a complete list of appointees. The MN Parents Club is wonderful. We meet one Saturday a month at the Fort Snelling Officers Club by the airport. There are additional monthly dinners out, a Moms Weekend, and a prayer group. I am on the planning committee for the two summer picnics - the first in MN on July 26th and the second picnic is the Friday evening of Parents Weekend at USAFAs picnic grounds. I will PM you my email address so we can connect. I would be happy to help with any questions. The parents have been so great to us - we can't wait to pay it forward!
    Jill
     
  20. hoopjack13

    hoopjack13 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't describe how helpful this thread has been for me.. thank you for all of the wonderful perspectives. I think I know what I want to do..