Wanting to Leave

FaiM13

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Messages
71
I used this forum a lot during my high school years while I was applying and it was very helpful so I thought I would post since I’ve reached a point where I need advice yet again.

I am a current Plebe who has really been wanting to leave lately. At first it was great here. I was meeting a lot of new people and seeing things I had never seen before like New York City or Boston for trip sections. However, as we settle into halfway through the first semester I have started to take a turn for what seems to be the worse. Or maybe I’m just being dramatic I’m not sure.

To put it bluntly, I feel very depressed. It’s like I am living life as a robot. Only existing and not truly living. I go on trip sections to a city area and feel so upset when I have to come back to campus. Even to the point that sometimes I get emotional about it.

So I guess my question is am I experiencing regular Plebe blues or is this something deeper than that and I am truly unhappy here and should leave? I am doubting myself a lot and my choice to come here. The upperclassmen tell us that happens to everyone. But it seems like for most people it happens during the gloom period after they get back from Christmas leave. Not this early.

Furthermore, where is the line between sacrificing fun and living normally for something worth doing and genuinely being depressed to the point that it is harmful to a person’s mental health to continue what they’re doing?

Any advice or insights would be appreciated.
 

USMAZoo98

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2020
Messages
117
Your feelings are not unique to you alone. Most, though not all, cadets experience these feelings, particularly as a plebe or a yearling. The question you have to ask yourself is what is your end goal? Do you wan to serve in the military? And is this the path you want to take to get there? You mentioned something that provokes those questions - you raise the issue of sacrificing fun. As a plebe in particular, it is a grind, and you have to find fun in the little things, even things that are otherwise ridiculous.

How are you doing with your academics? You mentioned traveling - are you on a sports team or a club - and is that actually creating added burden because you are constantly working from behind?

Do not let feelings of depression get the best of you. Talk to your chain of command. Utilize the resources that are available to cadets. Talk to your own classmates. I would at least encourage you to try to stick it out through the semester and reevaluate, but tap into the resources available to you now - don't wait!
 

PRBWJB

Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2021
Messages
97
I cannot speak to daily life at WP, but I will assume you are 18 or 19 and you had a similar upbringing as most teens. I don't want to sound unkind, but I truly believe that the current HS and College-aged students expect life to be without disappointment, struggle, regret, anxious moments and fear. I just had a conversation with a coworker about this subject today. Life is not always fun. Life is not always rewarding. Life is often full of struggle and strife. HOWEVER, you are smart and strong enough to get into a US Service Academy. You are obviously a spectacular young adult. Suck it up, focus on your goal. You will have hardship along the way, you may cry, you may scream, you may hate your life for a few days. But you live in the greatest country in the world and are studying at a fabulous institution. Make the best of it. Good luck and I am rooting for you and all other SA cadets.
 

Mere2033

5-Year Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2016
Messages
376
I used this forum a lot during my high school years while I was applying and it was very helpful so I thought I would post since I’ve reached a point where I need advice yet again.

I am a current Plebe who has really been wanting to leave lately. At first it was great here. I was meeting a lot of new people and seeing things I had never seen before like New York City or Boston for trip sections. However, as we settle into halfway through the first semester I have started to take a turn for what seems to be the worse. Or maybe I’m just being dramatic I’m not sure.

To put it bluntly, I feel very depressed. It’s like I am living life as a robot. Only existing and not truly living. I go on trip sections to a city area and feel so upset when I have to come back to campus. Even to the point that sometimes I get emotional about it.

So I guess my question is am I experiencing regular Plebe blues or is this something deeper than that and I am truly unhappy here and should leave? I am doubting myself a lot and my choice to come here. The upperclassmen tell us that happens to everyone. But it seems like for most people it happens during the gloom period after they get back from Christmas leave. Not this early.

Furthermore, where is the line between sacrificing fun and living normally for something worth doing and genuinely being depressed to the point that it is harmful to a person’s mental health to continue what they’re doing?

Any advice or insights would be appreciated.
My DD felt the same way as you when she was a plebe. It was very difficult for us as parents to hear especially all the work she went through to get accepted. What helped her was she constantly asked her self what she wanted more then anything from her experience at West Point and she told us she really wanted to be an Army Officer. Couldn’t see herself doing anything else. That’s what you have to ask yourself. It got so much better and she was sad to leave after graduation. She’s now at Fort Benning and loves it.
 

prospective2019

USMA 2023
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
579
Hey,

I understand where you're at and I was once there too. First semester Plebe year was one of my roughest times here. I saw all my friends at normal colleges living their best, independent lives, was getting through my days on caffeine and sheer will, and felt incredibly overwhelmed by my 22 credit hour courseload. I swiped through Jodel and just heard an echo chamber of my own negative thoughts.

The gloom that happens after Christmas is different than what you're feeling and what I felt at the time. What you're feeling now is beat down by the system. Your body hasn't adapted to the stress and lessened sleep and that takes a massive emotional toll. You may not have found your way academically and might not be all that enthused by a lot of the required basic classes. The cliché saying "it doesn't get easier but you get stronger" is super applicable here. You might find yourself feeling a lot better about this place once you catch your stride. Or you might not, and that's alright. But I would give it some time to decide.

Being a cow, into my major's classes and well-experienced in some super awesome clubs, I can honestly say that I love the Academy. You have to seize those random cool opportunities here to get the most out of it, or it isn't worth all the pain that comes with being a cadet. The advice I give to Plebes who are considering leaving is to stick it out through CFT. Summer training gets a lot cooler and more fun after being a Plebe and you get a much better taste of what your job will actually be. After that, if you're still not feeling it, then maybe start to think of a backup plan.

Feel free to PM if you want. I'd be happy to sit down with you as a random stranger upperclassman and talk this out with ya.

- Cow who is happy they stayed
 

unkown1961

5-Year Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2016
Messages
899
You're almost at Xmas Break, my suggestion would be to give yourself till then and talk to your parents when you are home. They can help you see if it's homesickness or that you like the military but would rather do the ROTC route with a normal college life. Or, you might figure that you'll give it to the end of the year and then see how you feel. You're not alone in feeling this way. But stay if you like it and see yourself fitting in. If you realize that you dread each morning then go the non-SA route. SA life is not for everyone and cadets do transfer out and succeed in an environment suited for them. These are four years of life that you're supposed to be enjoying. The cadets we've sponsored have all loved the SA and the lifestyle.
 

OldAFRet

Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2021
Messages
131
To put it bluntly,
You want blunt? Sure, a little separation anxiety and homesickness is normal. But, you competed against and beat out thousands of applicants who would gladly trade places and deal with your "problems".

Definitely talk to a chaplain or counselor. Just remember, you got what you wanted, and be glad.
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,997
Hey,

I understand where you're at and I was once there too. First semester Plebe year was one of my roughest times here. I saw all my friends at normal colleges living their best, independent lives, was getting through my days on caffeine and sheer will, and felt incredibly overwhelmed by my 22 credit hour courseload. I swiped through Jodel and just heard an echo chamber of my own negative thoughts.

The gloom that happens after Christmas is different than what you're feeling and what I felt at the time. What you're feeling now is beat down by the system. Your body hasn't adapted to the stress and lessened sleep and that takes a massive emotional toll. You may not have found your way academically and might not be all that enthused by a lot of the required basic classes. The cliché saying "it doesn't get easier but you get stronger" is super applicable here. You might find yourself feeling a lot better about this place once you catch your stride. Or you might not, and that's alright. But I would give it some time to decide.

Being a cow, into my major's classes and well-experienced in some super awesome clubs, I can honestly say that I love the Academy. You have to seize those random cool opportunities here to get the most out of it, or it isn't worth all the pain that comes with being a cadet. The advice I give to Plebes who are considering leaving is to stick it out through CFT. Summer training gets a lot cooler and more fun after being a Plebe and you get a much better taste of what your job will actually be. After that, if you're still not feeling it, then maybe start to think of a backup plan.

Feel free to PM if you want. I'd be happy to sit down with you as a random stranger upperclassman and talk this out with ya.

- Cow who is happy they stayed
YOU are awesome…great post!!
 
Joined
Apr 7, 2021
Messages
16
Minor item you may want to check off. This is not meant to discount the other issues. Research Vitamin D production during winter and the need for supplements at a higher latitude such as New York. A doc can test your levels if desired. It can also lead to mood irregularities.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2021
Messages
207
I used this forum a lot during my high school years while I was applying and it was very helpful so I thought I would post since I’ve reached a point where I need advice yet again.

I am a current Plebe who has really been wanting to leave lately. At first it was great here. I was meeting a lot of new people and seeing things I had never seen before like New York City or Boston for trip sections. However, as we settle into halfway through the first semester I have started to take a turn for what seems to be the worse. Or maybe I’m just being dramatic I’m not sure.

To put it bluntly, I feel very depressed. It’s like I am living life as a robot. Only existing and not truly living. I go on trip sections to a city area and feel so upset when I have to come back to campus. Even to the point that sometimes I get emotional about it.

So I guess my question is am I experiencing regular Plebe blues or is this something deeper than that and I am truly unhappy here and should leave? I am doubting myself a lot and my choice to come here. The upperclassmen tell us that happens to everyone. But it seems like for most people it happens during the gloom period after they get back from Christmas leave. Not this early.

Furthermore, where is the line between sacrificing fun and living normally for something worth doing and genuinely being depressed to the point that it is harmful to a person’s mental health to continue what they’re doing?

Any advice or insights would be appreciated.
Find one compelling reason to stay is my advice.
Thirty years ago, I attended Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) in Fort Bragg. Soldiers quit for a variety of reasons: missing family, wife, girlfriend, partying; academics; fitness; medical; misconduct.
I stayed and graduated. Failure was not an option. It would bring shame to my family.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
165
Stay. You will regret leaving.
OP 5–10—15—30 years from now one of two things will be going on if you leave

You will be spending your time explaining to people who mostly don’t ask why you left

or you will be kicking yourself daily because you will see leaving as the worst decision you ever made.

It may not be close to being the worst decision you ever made but it likely will feel that way.

Good Luck
 

justdoit19

Proud parent of an ANG, USNA X2, and a MidSib
Joined
Apr 9, 2017
Messages
4,997
Minor item you may want to check off. This is not meant to discount the other issues. Research Vitamin D production during winter and the need for supplements at a higher latitude such as New York. A doc can test your levels if desired. It can also lead to mood irregularities.
This is such a true statement! Vitamin D deficiency is a common thing. And it’s so important for many things. Including mood.

The other is sleep. To let your body and mind heal. Obviously that’s difficult, but prioritizing sleep will affect your overall health. Mentally and physically.

Hang in there! I’m a mom who has gone through “wanting to quit” before. Make sure, before you dig into that feeling, that you first have exhausted all resources you have available. Give those a chance!! You seem to have a mature outlook on this, recognizing that some/all of what you are feeling is normal, and not giving into it by default. You have what it takes to get through this. And if you do, next month/year/5yrs will look COMPLETELY different than today looks.

I’m personally a HUGE fan of chaplains there. They are well versed in what’s normal, the unique challenges of a SA, and will help. Confidentially. Get yourself ONE mental health check, and go from there. They have skills they can arm you with, to help. Sometimes, just talking though stuff, and getting your ‘compass reoriented’ by doing so will change your course that little bit that’s needed.

Lastly, don’t fall into the ‘I’m supposed to feel xxx. I’m not supposed to feel xxx’ trap. Your journey is your journey. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not saying you are, but experiences of others may or may not be yours. Neither of my guys (another SA) ever we’re affected differently by ‘the dark ages’ months after semester break.

Yes, coming back after break it was hard for one to get on that plane. But he had made a deal with himself he would do it. And now he is choosing to not even come home for thanksgiving, he is SOOOO content. Point is, tomorrow’s are different than today’s. Always. And you can’t know your tomorrow’s unless you stay and give them a chance.

Hang in there. Give yourself grace. Dig in and forge forward. YOU GOT THIS!!

Oh, almost forgot….talk to @prospective2019. Great resource!!
 

shock-n-awe

5-Year Member
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
608
I used this forum a lot during my high school years while I was applying and it was very helpful so I thought I would post since I’ve reached a point where I need advice yet again.

I am a current Plebe who has really been wanting to leave lately. At first it was great here. I was meeting a lot of new people and seeing things I had never seen before like New York City or Boston for trip sections. However, as we settle into halfway through the first semester I have started to take a turn for what seems to be the worse. Or maybe I’m just being dramatic I’m not sure.

To put it bluntly, I feel very depressed. It’s like I am living life as a robot. Only existing and not truly living. I go on trip sections to a city area and feel so upset when I have to come back to campus. Even to the point that sometimes I get emotional about it.

So I guess my question is am I experiencing regular Plebe blues or is this something deeper than that and I am truly unhappy here and should leave? I am doubting myself a lot and my choice to come here. The upperclassmen tell us that happens to everyone. But it seems like for most people it happens during the gloom period after they get back from Christmas leave. Not this early.

Furthermore, where is the line between sacrificing fun and living normally for something worth doing and genuinely being depressed to the point that it is harmful to a person’s mental health to continue what they’re doing?

Any advice or insights would be appreciated.
Reflect on why you want to serve in the Army.

Reflect on why you chose the USMA

Reflect on your journey to gain the appointment and the fact that you were accepted because admissions wanted you over thousands of others and they feel you can succeed and graduate.

Take one day at a time and don’t think about how many months you have left go out of 47

Seek guidance from chaplain and TAC. There are resources available for anything you would need….use those resources! You are not alone.

Don’t get caught up with any negativity others may have. Stay positive and focused while hanging with positive people

Remember, the Military requires sacrificing. The sacrifice comes in many many ways. You are making sacrifices everyday in some form or another. As each day passes, you will take pride in your accomplishments and appreciate your sacrifices and be proud of yourself and your fellow classmates.

No regrets…..
 

MidCakePa

Member
Joined
May 22, 2018
Messages
3,467
Here’s an unusual view, but it works for me. I believe starting college is like starting a new job is like buying a house. You don’t really know what you have until you’ve been there for a full year. In places we’ve lived — East Coast, Midwest, Mountain West, Europe — the seasons change dramatically and you need to see how things unfold across all 12 months. You just don’t know what issues will emerge with that house until it’s rained, snowed, blown, roasted, frozen, etc. And until you’ve had a chance to explore and enjoy every nook abd cranny.

My long-winded way of saying: SA life is the same. Give it a full year to experience all seasons, all rhythms, all rituals, all twists and turns. If, after that, you’re still miserable, then you can leave with your head held high and less chance of regret. Best wishes.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
3,302
Some great advice here.... think about why you wanted to attend USMA in the first place.
Nobody had ever regretted graduating from a Service Academy (yeah, even West Point :) ), and many , many have regretted walking away.

I've posted this down in USNA a few times- its a quote (or close) , from a book I read long ago (I think it was David Poyer's "Return of Philo McGiffin'), "Attending a Service Academy is kind of like a Turkish Steam Bath, its not so hot once you get in ." Seriously, it can be a grind, particularly as a Plebe, but you will never regret it.

One other thing to remember, the grass isn't always greener on the other side. I'm guessing there are freshman at State U that are having the exact same feelings -- sure, they may have more fun on weekends, but college level academics can be a grind for everyone.

Finally, we often say that the Admissions process is a marathon, not a sprint....same applies to your time at a Service Academy. There will be ups, and downs.., but I can assure you that 35 years from now the ups outweigh the downs.

Good luck .... and Beat Army !
 

LT360

Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
Messages
249
Hang in there. You have gotten lots of feedback. In my view if you posted on this site you were looking for a place to vent and receive affirmation which you have gotten. If you were serious about leaving you would have kept silent and left.

My DS (Plebe at USNA) has highs and lows as well. These high/low points can be minutes or days or weeks apart. Case in point: 6 weeks exam hit and thought he did well on Chem exam (high point). Got the results and found out he did not do as well (Low point). Got thru the weekend and aced his wrestling class (which was huge for a non contact type of person) and also learned his company earned a Leave weekend (high points). But this is true in life...we all have highs and lows. We persevere and move forward a little stronger and more resilient but hopefully with others at our side.

My advice to DS and others is to approach your time like eating an elephant---one bite at time.
 

OldRetSWO

USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs
10-Year Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
2,813
Stay. You will regret leaving.
And also

Old Navy BGO
Nobody had ever regretted graduating from a Service Academy (yeah, even West Point :) ), and many , many have regretted walking away.

Both remind me of something my father used to say back when OldRetSWO was YoungElementarySchoolKid about staying in the Reserves . . .

"I can't count the number of guys who tell me "I wish I'd Stayed in the Service" over the years but I have yet to meet any who are sorry that they did stay."

Looking back over the years, I have seen the same thing and I think it applies equally to USNA/USMA/USAFA, etc.
 
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