Son wants to leave USNA Plebe summer - please help

Our son has entered Plebe summer and is doing well physically. He has decided he doesn’t want the military life within 10 days. He is ready to come home and go to a regular university. He is set. He has a plan but this has been his dream for years. He is on the gymnastics team and he is ready to give it all up! We are desperate for advice to keep him in through at least a semester. He is already accelling and leadership is impressed. Please if anyone has advice.

If the military is no longer his dream, why do you want him to stay?

I had a close friend whose son left West Point after a week or two. He came home, worked for a year, reapplied to colleges and got his BS. He never regretted his decision. He knew right away that life was not for him. I know this is hard. He did a lot to get to the USNA, I am sure. But the things that got him there will get him to other wonderful places.

I understand what you are saying - it’s so early. Although the USNA is tougher than going to other colleges/universities, if a student was attending one of those and wanted to leave after 10 days, we would all be telling him to stick it out and give it more of a try.

Is there anyone you now who is a USNA alumni who could reach out to your son and talk with him? Plebe summer and plebe year are tough. It sounds like he needs some support. Going to Annapolis is being part of an elite club that only those who have experienced can truly understand. The only thing I can think of is to have someone from that club connect with him to help him through. Good luck. I can only imagine how you feel. Getting there is a tremendous honor and will afford him amazing opportunities in the future. It will open many, many doors throughout his life.

I too believe he needs to stick it out and find his grit. He and his classmates will bond and help one another. Please report back to us and let us know what happens.

If he actually attempts to out-process, there will be a whole host of cadre and higher who will test his resolve and help him think through this decision. No one on the outside is better equipped than his current chain of command to understand what’s going on with him and help him reach the decision that is right for him. Also know that out processing takes weeks and could even take a month or more. It is not an overnight decision where a Plebe can just pack his bag and leave.

This is his fight, no one else’s, and he has to be the one to make the decision. The academies know and plan for this kind of attrition; plenty leave during Plebe summer, at the end of Plebe year, and just prior to taking the oath on the first day of Junior year, which commits them to service. Better he make this decision sooner rather than later if USNA really is not for him. He will do just as well outside the military as he would inside. There should be no concern there.

1 Like

I graduated in the class of 1983 and was a miserable Plebe particularly during Beast Barracks. I was very naive about what would be expected of me and had no appreciation for what it would be like living as a Plebe. I was basically a “spaz” to use the vernacular of the late 1970’s. My advice to anyone in your son’s situation would be to stay at least until 2nd semester of Plebe year starts as he probably cannot get into any decent college at this point and after a semester of academics and adjusting to West Point he may change his mind

How did this story end? I have a USNA admit heading to Annapolis. I think that the Navy sees mids in this state every day…and they help them mange through the process.

“plebe summer was the best time of my life” - said no one ever!

@bjm1122 the OP hasn’t been on CC since 7/19

Closing thread.