I'm a high school junior seriously considering applying to the naval academy, but I constantly find myself leaning back and forth between going to Anapolis or a regular school. I'm not sure if my indecisiveness is a sign that I am not right for the Navy or, since I keep going back to it, if it is an auspicious sign that deep down it is where I want to go. I know, its deep, I have lost a lot of sleep on this matter, but its a big decision. Can anyone help me out by weighing the pros and cons of attending USNA? I know the obvious benefits like $0 tuition (thats a big one for me), discipline, honor, and service to my country and all of the drawbacks like the lack of sleep or social scene, and rigorous physical and metal conditioning, but are there any...x factors that could push my decision one way or the other?
btw, i am an athlete, could probably play soccer at navy, but im more into liberal arts rather than the hardcore tech and engineering kind though i could manage with that sort of curriculum
You should try to decide what kind of life you want to lead and what kind of occupation/position do you want in life. I know thats a pretty huge question but here's my rationale. The Naval Academy isn't just a school you go to. It is designed to change you and make you a naval officer with knowledge that will prepare you for a career in a very technical position. It is also designed to create leaders.
So if you want to be a lawyer or a doctor or you just want to go to college and get out and live your life then maybe the naval academy isn't for you.
But if you want an experience that will change you and mold you into a leader in whatever you do then maybe it is.
Didn't mean to impune your post - just affirmed your position to jtb_325 that a decision for the USNA involves more than a choice of lifestyle during four years of education. You stated it clearly: "It is designed to change you and make you a naval officer with knowledge that will prepare you for a career in a very technical position. It is also designed to create leaders."
jtb_325....maybe what you should do is find yourself some people who are doing both USNA and ROTC. Talk directly with them. Make several visits to the Academy - go attend an ROTC unit near you at any local college. You will immediately see the differences in these 2 approaches.
You have to decide if what you want is to serve active duty military while in college. This is what a Service Academy means. You are not 'in college'
you are in the military who just happens to have decided for you that they want you in college. If you 'go civilian' you can choose your college experiences in a quantitative and qualitatively different way.
What is your ultimate goal? Is it to serve your country as a military officer?
What do you want for the 4 years of your college life?
If you are not sure you want a Service Academy life - don't do it. It is a tough mental challenge and even when you want it - there are moments you wonder if you're insane.
Only YOU can make these decisions by the way. Your proud family, your proud teachers, trying to impress friends, thinking of this as a way to get a 'free education' ( yeah, RIGHT!) will not sustain you.
Keep thinking - you are at the stage where lots of options are before you.
While looking into USNA, keep in mind that your attending the academy ideally leads to a career in the military, not just a degree and an obligation to the Navy for five years. If you're not so sure that you want to be obligated for that long, or if you don't care to have a career in the Navy beyond that, maybe consider why it is you really want to go, and if you still want to go, then fine, but make sure you have an understanding of what you're getting into.
I say that having never seen the Academy nor having been in ROTC or any other military-type environment, and I'm sure I'll be in for many surprises once I get there. I know it will be the hardest challenge I'll ever face, and what I'll learn there won't come easily, and I know it will be insanely hard once I get in. But even understanding those things, I still look forward to it. It's like knowing these things makes me even more pumped and ready to go.
If that's the way you are, then I'd say the Academy's where you should focus. If not, then maybe reconsider where it is you want to go.
First of all thank you all for the advice, I didnt expect so many responses so soon
To Zaphods question - If i were to take that route I would most likely want to be a naval officer, my brother and his wife are both in the navy.
Now everything else... I dont have a clue what I want to do when Im older, though I think if i went to a traditional college I could narrow it down to something in architecture/desisn or visual communication; however, these are the reasons im not sure if a regular school is for me:
1. Although not essential, I would like to play soccer in college, and most of the schools I like are big name schools (UVa, Duke, Georgetown) that I dont have much of a chance of playing for and even less of a chance of paying for, which leads to 2...
2. Unfortunately my family falls into the category of 'not poor enough to get substantial financial aid' and 'rich enough to pay for a top notch education' so my parents are basically screwed on that end and i dont want to put that kind of monetary burden on them or myself
3. The Naval Academy option
Why I would like to go to the naval academy (in no particular order):
1. can play soccer
2. $0 tuition
3. hold no reserves about the service.. wouldnt mind being a careeer officer (but then again im 16, what do i know?)
5. life purpose, definite future available
6. Get to learn/do things most will ever get the chance to
7. traveling abroad
As you can see, this decision weighs very heavily on my conscience, I dont need to list them, everyone knows the downsides of the academy (rigorous courses, lack of sleep and social scene, etc..) It just drives me crazy because I can see myself as the dedicated, upstanding person all of you are describing, but at the same time feel like i would be missing out on the regular aspects of my life (ie sleeping in, girls, freedom..) I dont know if this limbo is normal, my brain is just exasperated from going back and forth
judging from your list, i wouldnt do it if i were you. it seems to me that your biggest reason for wanting to go is that its monetarily free. people that have gone there will probably be able to paint you a better picture for you, but from what i have seen/heard/read is that you will pay a price greater than any tuition. your number one reason for going needs be that you want to serve a greater good, and are willing to give up some normalcy in your life, and possibly die, to do so.
there are plenty of other ways to go to college for free, and plenty of places to play soccer (and plenty ways to do both).
yeah thank you all for helping me out - once i wrote it out, i too noticed how much i was amplifying the monetary benefits as a big reason i liked the USNA but at the same time id like to add that i understated my position on serving my country. there is no priviledge i can think of that i would rather recieve than to serve the United States, when i said i have no issue with service, i meant i would love to go through all the crap youre put through, and i would do it with a smile on my face, i could die a fufilled man if i became an officer and i regard anyone who is in the service with the utmost respect.