The 1 percent

CkzErz

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
344
Apologies for the length of this message. I called it the 1 percent because I think someone estimated the other day that around 1 percent of candidates don’t make it through indoc…

We dropped our son off at indoc. He went in with a huge smile on his face, proud of getting to this point and excited to get started. He knew it wouldn’t be easy but he had worked so hard to get here and it was finally becoming a reality. The bubble wrap had worked and he arrived in full ready to go condition.

We never guessed that we’d be picking him up a mere four days later.

His service academy journey is over. A decision he will hopefully never regret. We can still hardly believe it and are heartbroken for him. I haven’t known what, if anything, to say on here but I didn’t want to just disappear. This forum and so many of you were a source of great advice and guidance to us for so long. I once again want to thank you for that.

In short, our son suffered some minor injuries by day 2, one of which was more bothersome than the other but neither of which would “justify” leaving. Somewhere along the way, he began having panic attacks, saying he couldn’t deal with the mental stress. He hadn’t slept at all really, which made it all the more difficult to rationalize with him. Certain things that were supposed to happen didn’t (rest from PT as directed by the hospital, a discussion with the chaplain as requested by my son, the involvement of campus counseling or his coach by hr) but I can’t blame any of that and doing so would not change the outcome. The reality of this kind of life would never guarantee “concessions” like that. You have to be able to push through on your own. So, I guess it’s better to know now than later and perhaps that’s the real point of indoc.

We pushed him to stick it out one more day after his first hospital visit but could not push him beyond that. We agreed when he called again on the following day that he could begin separation and hoped that someone involved in that process might get through to him with a different perspective - but that did not happen.

I can’t tell you how we ever could have anticipated this. I can’t tell you what’s different about my son than the other 280 candidates that remain. He has no history of anxiety. He’s been away from home before. He’s been yelled at (mainly by me!). I can tell you that I’ve had to stop looking at pictures of indoc, trying to see something in the eyes of the other candidates that is different. It’s also too painful to watch them begin seizing the tremendous opportunities the academy offers, knowing how much my son would enjoy those activities. Seeing them begin to bond and knowing he won’t get to know these other amazing future leaders only reminds me of how much he has lost.

I can also tell you that it becomes a very fine line for a parent to walk between pushing your child to dig deep and stick it out and pushing them past their limit and truly breaking them, perhaps for good. For us, what we heard in his voice, what a kind parent who went to see him in the hospital saw, and the medical director telling us that the mere mention of returning to the regiment caused our son to “decompose” were the final straws.

He won’t tell us the full story of what he experienced but he is talking to a counselor. None of his plan Bs work any longer as they were ROTC based and/or involved studying criminal justice for a career in law enforcement if he did not stay in the military. He’s afraid to go far from home until the panic is under control so we’re creating new plan Bs at more local schools with an undecided major. He says he still wants to find a way to serve but is struggling with knowing what he would be able to handle. He’s spoken of maybe becoming an EMT but that is certainly not guaranteed to be light on mental stress. We’ll figure it all out with him, in time.

I share all of this in case it helps anyone else, in case you have questions, and with sincere hope that it doesn’t do more harm than good!

Those of you with PCs still going through it, no news is good news, please don’t let this scare you! My son has said that he doesn’t think anything done to him was beyond the realm of what he knew would happen going in, he just didn’t anticipate the way it would affect him.

Farewell to the many fabulous folks who sustain this forum and fill it with their great wisdom. It was a very blessed and lucky day that Google led me to all of you.

I’ll check back in the coming few days, in case anyone has questions about what I’ve shared, and then I’ll separate as I have from the umpteen academy social media groups that I’d joined and loved participating in.

Best of luck always to the class of 2025! They’re going to do great things.
 

Capt MJ

Ancient Mariner, Salt-Encrusted
10-Year Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
11,899
Thank you for coming here to share. Time will ease the rough edges of this, as it always does. He still has all the brains and potential he did before, so after a breather to re-group, he can look around for a path that is better for him. He has learned something about himself through this, and he can better assess future paths. The fact remains he was competitive enough to earn an appointment, which speaks to his viability for many career paths

I always like to mention other ways to serve if a uniformed service path or similar is not the right fit - Federal service as a civilian, especially at the “ABC” agencies. I am not talking about the armed, commissioned, door-kicker folks, but the necessary analysts, logisticians, planners, operations support folks and others who play critical roles in the service of their country. Federal service wants bright, college-educated people; there are programs to help recruit them.

Below I’ve posted a copy of text I often use when responding to those who have DQ’ed from a uniformed path to service. It might be helpful.
———————————————————
Every year, we have applicants who realize their pursuit of military service must end for medical DQ reasons. There are still ways to serve the country.



Federal agencies departments, particularly the “ABC” ones, are eager to hire college grads who wish to serve the country in the area of national security. If you can’t be a “door-kicker” or operational field agent, you can have their backs as analysts and specialists in cyber and intelligence, in forensics, communications, logistics, operations planning and other critical fields.





Below I’ve pasted some info I have used here over the years, in the hope of shining a light toward other open doors.



proxy.php.jpg

Students

Explore hiring programs for students.

proxy.php

www.dhs.gov

Students | FBIJOBS



1__#$!@!#__proxy.php

www.fbijobs.gov

NSA | Students | Intelligence Careers

STEM Scholarships | DoD STEM

DoD STEM scholarships are available to exceptional STEM education students excelling in one of 15 supported STEM disciplines of interest to the DoD.

2__#$!@!#__proxy.php

dodstem.us

You can find similar student internships, scholarships, and other programs for CIA and other major agencies. There are HS, college undergraduate and post-grad programs.



Federal service offers excellent benefits and education opportunities, plus the ability to move around in search of promotions or between agencies and departments. One of our USNA sponsor daughters had a younger sister who was a math whiz, varsity athlete, all-around scholar who would have been very competitive for SA or ROTC scholarship, but her Crohn’s DQ’ed her. She majored in Applied Mathematics at a very good school, took advantage of one of the programs above and did paid work for them in the summer, and she was hired 4 days after she graduated college. She is now doing highly classified work for that agency, and starting a fully paid for Master’s at a prestigious university.



If the USAFA door is firmly closed, look around for doors and windows in other shapes and sizes which also lead to service to the country.
 

RJB1690

Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
103
Wow. As a parent, my heart breaks for you and your son. While my son is currently at the Coast Guard Academy, not USMMA, I initially shared your worry. On Day 1, during the 15 minute good-bye period we were given, my husband and I asked our son what he thought so far. After 8ish hours of being at the Academy, my son's response was, "I hate it so much." He was unprepared for the relentless yelling, etc. But off he went with his platoon when the time came. We worried - was he miserable? Would he quit? But then we got his first letter 10 days later. He said he was settling in fine, everyone there was great, he was getting plenty to eat, he had praise for his cadre, and he was getting about 7-1/2 hours of sleep a night. Since then, we've gotten letters mentioning highs and lows, but he says he's "all good" and getting stronger. From my "Where's Waldo" finds in posted pictures, he looks solid. I truly can't imagine how I'd feel if that early impression of hating it "so much" had stayed with him. As Capt MJ stated, your son still has all the great attributes that gained him academy acceptance to begin with. I'm sure he will find his path and I will pray for him and the rest of your family.
 

kpmom2013

10-Year Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
1,593
@CkzErz so sorry to hear your news. Service academy life is not for everyone. Though INDOC is not really a good snapshot of what the four years will be like, your DS's reaction to the stressors he faced during his time there point to KP not being the right place for him. It is good in many ways that your DS figured that out so early. Once he has a chance to catch his breath and process what happened, he will have many alternative options. The skill and accomplishment that gained him admission to a service academy, as well as your parental support, will take him far. Best wishes.
 

Heatherg21

USNA mom Bacon Lover Dog Lover
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
2,360
This must be so difficult for your family. My heart aches for your son, what he experienced and how that must have made him feel. As others have said, thank you for sharing, it is valuable for others to read your post. I can't remember which wise moderator said it, but it stuck with me. They earned the ticket to the Merry go Round ride, and they have every right to get off if it isn't a good fit for them.

I am proud of your son for recognizing what doesn't work for him. Some people go through life never being able to do that.

I wish him the best in his next endeavor, he clearly is talented and qualified to achieve great things down a different road.

Hugs to mom and dad.
 

beyond

KπΣ15'
10-Year Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2010
Messages
550
Apologies for the length of this message. I called it the 1 percent because I think someone estimated the other day that around 1 percent of candidates don’t make it through indoc…

I think it was a lot higher. I think it is closer to 10%+ depending on the year. We started 297 and were in the 260s by the time indoc ended.

I can’t tell you how we ever could have anticipated this. I can’t tell you what’s different about my son than the other 280 candidates that remain.....the tremendous opportunities the academy offers, knowing how much my son would enjoy those activities. Seeing them begin to bond and knowing he won’t get to know these other amazing future leaders only reminds me of how much he has lost.

I did things far more stressful than indoc before indoc and I have done things exceptionally more stressful than indoc after after indoc. Like multiples of 100x more stressful and dangerous. Indoc in a lot of ways was the ****tiest though. I had never wanted to quit something so badly as I did during indoc KP.

I can also tell you that it becomes a very fine line for a parent to walk between pushing your child to dig deep and stick it out and pushing them past their limit and truly breaking them, perhaps for good.

This is worth celebrating. I am so happy that you were able to navigate this line. I watched too many of my classmates get pushed too far and too hard because their parents pressured them to, despite KP not being a great fit. It can be a hard thing to do because so much of your identity gets consumed by being a Kings Pointer. I commend you for having the big picture and being able to step back and know what is right.


We’ll figure it all out with him, in time.

Best of luck always to the class of 2025! They’re going to do great things.

You will figure it out. KP is great. I'm proud I made it and exceptionally grateful for the doors it has opened for me.... however.... it isn't the ONLY thing in the world. The fact that your kid got in means he is gifted and can make an impact wherever he ends up. I think people get sucked in by all the great things KP'rs do and think that being a KP'r is the only way in life, it really isn't. There are plenty of people making an impact on the world right now that don't know what KP is. Don't count your son out, he can do great things too, what that looks like may be a little different than the rest of the class of 2025, but if you use the right yardstick he has just as much potential as anyone else at KP.

This is worth celebrating, leaving is hard, and here the right thing to do. Relax, everyone can take a knee for a little bit, and I'm sure round two will be here shortly.

ANV!
 

Mr2020

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy '19
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
342
Apologies for the length of this message. I called it the 1 percent because I think someone estimated the other day that around 1 percent of candidates don’t make it through indoc…

We dropped our son off at indoc. He went in with a huge smile on his face, proud of getting to this point and excited to get started. He knew it wouldn’t be easy but he had worked so hard to get here and it was finally becoming a reality. The bubble wrap had worked and he arrived in full ready to go condition.

We never guessed that we’d be picking him up a mere four days later.

His service academy journey is over. A decision he will hopefully never regret. We can still hardly believe it and are heartbroken for him. I haven’t known what, if anything, to say on here but I didn’t want to just disappear. This forum and so many of you were a source of great advice and guidance to us for so long. I once again want to thank you for that.

In short, our son suffered some minor injuries by day 2, one of which was more bothersome than the other but neither of which would “justify” leaving. Somewhere along the way, he began having panic attacks, saying he couldn’t deal with the mental stress. He hadn’t slept at all really, which made it all the more difficult to rationalize with him. Certain things that were supposed to happen didn’t (rest from PT as directed by the hospital, a discussion with the chaplain as requested by my son, the involvement of campus counseling or his coach by hr) but I can’t blame any of that and doing so would not change the outcome. The reality of this kind of life would never guarantee “concessions” like that. You have to be able to push through on your own. So, I guess it’s better to know now than later and perhaps that’s the real point of indoc.

We pushed him to stick it out one more day after his first hospital visit but could not push him beyond that. We agreed when he called again on the following day that he could begin separation and hoped that someone involved in that process might get through to him with a different perspective - but that did not happen.

I can’t tell you how we ever could have anticipated this. I can’t tell you what’s different about my son than the other 280 candidates that remain. He has no history of anxiety. He’s been away from home before. He’s been yelled at (mainly by me!). I can tell you that I’ve had to stop looking at pictures of indoc, trying to see something in the eyes of the other candidates that is different. It’s also too painful to watch them begin seizing the tremendous opportunities the academy offers, knowing how much my son would enjoy those activities. Seeing them begin to bond and knowing he won’t get to know these other amazing future leaders only reminds me of how much he has lost.

I can also tell you that it becomes a very fine line for a parent to walk between pushing your child to dig deep and stick it out and pushing them past their limit and truly breaking them, perhaps for good. For us, what we heard in his voice, what a kind parent who went to see him in the hospital saw, and the medical director telling us that the mere mention of returning to the regiment caused our son to “decompose” were the final straws.

He won’t tell us the full story of what he experienced but he is talking to a counselor. None of his plan Bs work any longer as they were ROTC based and/or involved studying criminal justice for a career in law enforcement if he did not stay in the military. He’s afraid to go far from home until the panic is under control so we’re creating new plan Bs at more local schools with an undecided major. He says he still wants to find a way to serve but is struggling with knowing what he would be able to handle. He’s spoken of maybe becoming an EMT but that is certainly not guaranteed to be light on mental stress. We’ll figure it all out with him, in time.

I share all of this in case it helps anyone else, in case you have questions, and with sincere hope that it doesn’t do more harm than good!

Those of you with PCs still going through it, no news is good news, please don’t let this scare you! My son has said that he doesn’t think anything done to him was beyond the realm of what he knew would happen going in, he just didn’t anticipate the way it would affect him.

Farewell to the many fabulous folks who sustain this forum and fill it with their great wisdom. It was a very blessed and lucky day that Google led me to all of you.

I’ll check back in the coming few days, in case anyone has questions about what I’ve shared, and then I’ll separate as I have from the umpteen academy social media groups that I’d joined and loved participating in.

Best of luck always to the class of 2025! They’re going to do great things.

Cant count the times I wanted to quit, not just during indoc or plebe year, but during sea year and even first class year. and then sailing for the past 2 years and wanting to quit at times as well. the only thing worse than quitting is dragging yourself through graduation and beyond.
 

2020HD

5-Year Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
96
I really felt bad for you as I read your post. You had a mental picture of a particularly enviable future for your son and it just disappeared. That’s rough. Life is what happens while we’re making plans… or something like that.
I’m sure your son will eventually move on and be just fine. I hope you can too.
 

Humey

5-Year Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2016
Messages
1,716
I will be honest and I am amazed that more people don't quit early on. I have to imagine that most of the people who attend the academies decided this when they were 16 maybe 17 years old. These are kids, how can they even know what they want to do but i also know that most of the kids are high achievers and self-motivated, and have plans for their future. I would assume 90% of them have no real idea what happens at the academies especially the first couple of years. Of course, they are told what will happen but experiencing it is a whole different thing. While i am sure your son is disappointed and the family is disappointed about him leaving, the academies and the military isn't for everyone. Of course everyone will be disappointed, but no one should feel bad about it because he achieved his goal of getting in, it just wasn't for him. My son did Rotc so I am sure it doesn't compare to what your son had to deal with in the academy. My son had to endure maybe 1 hour of it a day while your son had to deal with it from morning to night. My son also didn't care if they yelled at him. He understood it's all a game and 99% of the time there is no hostility. Sure all the Plan Bs are out the window right now, but what is he 18/19 years old? He has plenty of time to come up with a new direction that will make him happy. So if he takes off a year, or does community college or a local college, who cares. Start up slowly, and then come up with plan that will get him where he wants. My son is an AF pilot. I can honestly tell you that outside of the stress of flying a multimillion-dollar plane. he is having a good time in the Air Force. My point being that active duty is way different than the academies assuming your arent in active combat
 
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