Parental Pressure

<p>My parents have been great about everything, but now that I have an LOA, all they talk about is the Academy. They say there's so much that can happen to a young woman at a civilian university and since my goal is to be an officer, I should take the very best route and go to USNA. I think the real reason they want me to go is so they don't have to worry about me. Also, I'm sure my uncle (USNA grad) has talked to my Dad about the pros of me going to the Academy and he would definitely like to see me go. He told me so. My parents don't really harp on me, but they talk a ton about the Academy and very little about Harvard or any of the other schools I've applied to. This is MY decision, but for some reason that doesn't make me feel any better. Is anyone else going through this? I just want to do the right thing for ME and it's very difficult when EVERYONE seems to have an opinion. You hear so much about something that you start to believe it yourself. My second interview for Harvard lasted an hour and a half and went really well, but when I told my parents, they said, "That's great honey! Are you sure you're still thinking of going to Harvard? The Academy is the right place for you. You even said so when you got back from SS. No other school can offer you the Math, Science, and Naval education that you can get at USNA. And, you've already have an LOA! What more could you want out of a school?" I'm sure I'll have more of the same when I return from CVW in January. <em>sigh</em> Don't get me wrong. I love the Academy, I really do. It's just that I love Harvard too! Ok, enough of me venting. Anyone else having these problems, if you want to call it that?</p>

<p>Apples and oranges.The 2 are very different and you should be making the decision and nobody else.Mid size town to urban area.Virtually little-to-no life to civilian life.(At least for the first year.)Alcohol/drug testing on sat nites to keg and pot parties.4200 family members to many more with grad schools.A bs degree in a chosen few majors to a variety of civilian majors.Mandatory class attendence to show up if and when needed.24/7 military life to 8 hours a week of military life.I can go on,but I think you probably get the idea.They are very different!!</p>

<p>Speaking as a parent....one thing that might be going on is that your parents have seen you rapidly become enamored with Harvard. Even with your stats, your odds of getting an ED offer are what? 1 in 3? They may be trying to dampen your enthusiasm slightly so that, if you don't get accepted, USNA doesn't seem like a poor second choice.</p>

<p>Were our daughter in the same situation, we would be mentioning the high prestige, low probability school as little as possible as well.</p>

<p>Good luck. I hope you have the opportunity to choose.</p>

<p>Ugh, Navygrl, I totally know what you're talking about! Except in my case, it's just the opposite. Everyone is telling me NOT to go to an Academy! They all think I'll miss out on the fun of a "normal" college experience. It's so hard having to deal with the pressure!</p>

<p>Navygrl:
This is a stressful time for seniors AND parents. I am sure that your parents want the best for you. I have two children that attend top civilian schools and it has been a wonderful experience for them. I also have one at USNA. It is a wonderful experience for him. You may have some very different choices from which to choose. You absolutely need to make the choice for yourself. Keep in mind your long term goals and which choice will provide you with the best preparation. USNA will challenge you beyond what you thought possible. I am amazed at everything that the Mids can accomplish. The academics are indeed tough, especially when coupled with athletic requirements and military and company obligations. It is a unique environment and most definitely not for everyone. I hope that you will be able to spend some serious time at the schools in your decision set. They are VERY different environments and you need to take time to determine which is the best fit. I believe that when it comes to decision time it will not be that difficult. The contrast between USNA and civilian choices will be striking and you will know in your heart which is ultimately the best choice for you.</p>

<p>Thanks everyone! Marines4me, I too am hearing from my friends "Why would you want to go to an Academy?" It's the folks that are trying to steer me in that direction. </p>

<p>I am aware of the differences between the civilian schools and the Academy, but I'm just in an awkward position with my parents. Ultimately, they want what's best for me, but that's the problem. What they think is best may not be what I think.</p>

<p>KateLewis, you may be exactly right in saying that my parents might be trying to dampen my enthusiasm in case I'm not accepted to Harvard. I never really thought of that.</p>

<p>" A life without choices is Hell. A life full of choices is sometimes worse."</p>

<p>Navgirl, don't know if this will help with your decision or your relationship with your parents but here goes ( I warn you in advance that, although I graduated from an Ivy league school, I am biased in favor of academies):</p>

<p>Both USNA and Harvard are potential paths toward a goal. In your case you say that goal is to become a military leader/officer. However, the quality and scope of experiences while on that 4 year path are important as well ( This is part of the "life is a journey not a destination" philosophy).</p>

<p>I suggest you look at the qualities that make up your profile of the "ideal" officer and try to assess which path is likely to better develop those qualities in you. Given your life experiences to date, it is logical that you focus on the academics of the two institutions. However, I think that a review of well respected officers/leaders will conclude that character and leadership skills play a larger role than academic qualifications or pedigree. </p>

<p>Which path has a primary focus on character and leadership development ? Need a hint? Check the Harvard website and see how often duty, honor and service are mentioned.</p>

<p>Don't get me wrong, Harvard is an excellent university filled with extraordinary individuals. It's just not focused on character and leadership development. Enough said. </p>

<p>Good luck with your decision.</p>

<p>Navygrl...</p>

<p>I feel your pain and although there is no LOA is our house we hope our son will have the same decision to make, especially since he has a NROTC scholarship to Cornell, pending admission of course. (no small feat) Anyway we hope that he can look at both institutions and focus on what they will offer him in terms of long range goals. They spoke to that a lot at CVW. Perhaps he will want to choose a totally different path in the spring and that is the advantage of being young and being able to make choices about your life.</p>

<p>The Academy life isn't for everyone and some will thrive under the conditions and others will thrive given more freedom of choice. Only you know the answer to that question. Both will offer outstanding opportunities though! It's tough for parents as well because you want your child to be happy, safe and starting their new path in life where they want to be and it's hard not to give advice.</p>

<p>In our house I've probably tried to present the "normal" college life version more because we all grew up indoctrinated with Navy life and traditions since my father is a graduate. He's been so interested in the military since he was 2 that I want him to have the opportunity to see all that is out there. We want to make sure that given the opportunity to choose he chooses based on what he wants to do. It's not an easy road and no one but the individaul can make that committment. We really want to make sure that it is only his decision and that our thoughts and the cost or lack of doesn't make the decision for him.</p>

<p>Finally, take the time to think about your long range plans. If you are really looking for a life long military career you will possibly be given more opportunities with an Academy education. If you think that after 10 years or so you may be looking for a civilian career your Harvard degree may help open different doors. In either case...they are both good choices to have!</p>

<p>Maybe a few kind words to your parents asking them to not focus on it until you have a decision to make will help. (Parents tend to plan ahead and want to know so they can work through it.) I hope our son would tell us (and he has at times) that he doesn't want to talk about it right now.</p>

<p>Hang in there!
Juniormom</p>

<p>PS We were able to get your email and I will respond tonight!</p>

<p>Thanks Aspen and JM! I appreciate all of your thoughts on the matter. It really helps to know what goes on in the minds of other parents. I feel very fortunate to have parents that are so interested in my future endeavors and do take the time to listen to my feelings and concerns. They're taking me out to dinner tonight after XC (coach has us running in 40 degrees and pouring rain today preparing for the next meet - UGH!) to discuss my "possible" options.</p>

<p>Hey NavyGrl and all the others on this site. You guys have some great info, and great personal stats. I wish I had the 3.8's 1450 boards and a Captain of my Baseball team.</p>

<p>Anyway, USNA is my first choice, it's been since I was in 6th grade. I became obsessed with the Navy. I'm more or less one of those kids who would enlist...but realize college is the correct path and the Naval Academy offers me all of that, Marines, SEALs, etc. </p>

<p>When you graduate from NROTC or USNA there are two different officers. The NROTC officer has been around "civilian life" for four years and had a different college experience the a "ringtapper". From what NROTC officers, USNA graduates, and NCOs have told me: you can see a difference between the two officers after 3 months, maybe even after 6 or 8, but after a year the only way to tell the two apart is the large ring on the USNA grads finger. </p>

<p>I want USNA because of all the Marine and SEAL options offered which you can not have with NROTC (kinda...sorta...but no...not really). </p>

<p>I hear what your saying about parental pressure, but what do you want to do? Do you want to go through the rigors of the Naval Academy? In four years you will be in the same place as if you went to Harvard, the choice is yours, and yours alone....what movie is that from?</p>

<p>Sounds like the pressure can be intense on the kids with parents who are already affiliated in some way with the military or with someone who went to one academy or another. Our daughter faces an opposite situation. No one in our family was in the military and no one we know went to an academy outside of an ancestor 150 years ago . Her older brother is "living it up" at a frat house at USC and both her mom and I are Univ of Calif grads. Her Mom is pretty liberal with a lot of problems with the US being in Iraq and feels the troops are getting a raw deal from their Commander in Chief. I try to stay neutral in that regard and act as referee when the political discussions get heated! We have both encouraged her to do what she wants (the military) but we have also "persuaded" her to apply at other schools as well as at least backup. There is nothing but positive stuff for a parent who's kid goes to a service academy (tuition free, bragging rights, etc etc,) but all the pitfalls are dealt with by our kids. In the end, it's them that's going to be huddled up in some "foxhole",or making a life and death decision for others someday, not us. It has to be their choice. Her Mom and I have decided that there has been enough discussion--it's time to treat it like her love-life---we've done and said all we can---hands off and let her find her way. When she wants our opinion at this stage of the game, she'll ask for it. :) (hopefully!)</p>

<p>Yes, I agree. The best thing a parent can do is ensure that their kid has both options to choose from and the information with which to evaluate those choices. More than really any other college decision, though, the decision to attend the academy has to be the kid's alone.</p>

<p>"Alcohol/drug testing on sat nites to keg and pot parties."</p>

<p>bkozy, I would think this might be very tough for some in NROTC. One has to be strong and not get caught in a bad situation. The alcohol/drug testing is RANDOM. The parties are everywhere at a civilian campus, unlike USNA where there is no alcohol or drugs on the Yard. In NROTC, it's all up to the individual to keep a strong head and a clear mind. There are numerous temptations out there, and with the random alcohol/drug testing, those who are not cut out to be officers are kicked out.</p>

<p>Is that true that ROTC will do random alcohol/drug testing on the campuses? I had not heard of that before; but totally agree with it.</p>

<p>This is kind of a random fact, but here it is: Interestingly enough, I have a friend at the Naval Academy right now. He is a plebe, and is drunk just about every weekend. Apparently, all the sprint football guys and intramural football find time to party. I was very surprised about this; I figured no one ever had time to party.</p>

<p>I'm questioning the validity of your friend telling you that he parties at USNA every weekend as a Plebe. My son is a Plebe right now and I can tell that the atmosphere does not lend itself to partying on any kind. Plebes, no matter how old they are, cannot drink at the Academy and run the risk of separation if they are caught. My son told me that they all took breathalizer tests when they got back from their first town liberty back in August. Just something to think about.</p>

<p>So glad you jumped in, midmom. I was pretty surprised.</p>

<p>My information indicates that even being at a party at which drinking occurs is cause for separation for a plebe. Now that digital photography is the norm, being caught is more probable than ever.
CM (now Plebe mom)</p>

<p>Sorry moms, I'm not surprized at all at those claims. Yes, there are rules, not everyone follows them. Even when someone does get in trouble people still make the same mistakes.
Something I have to deal with, not everyone is moral and has integrity, including some of our future naval officers</p>