||Mt. Si HS|
Preparing for the transition from high school to college has been crazy. First, you have to decide where you want to go to college, if that’s the direction you want to go. Then determine if you can even get in to that college or at least have a chance. I was lucky from that perspective because I knew where I wanted to go since I was little, The United States Naval Academy. My dad went there so I knew how hard it would be to get in and the challenges I would face once there, but I wanted it. I set my self-up for success by lettering in Varsity sports, receiving the rank of Eagle Scout, getting elected ASB Vice President by 1600 students and many other activities. I wanted to make sure I had the skills and practice to be the best leader for the job as an officer in the Navy.
To attend a service academy, the candidate must receive at least one nomination from their respective state’s U.S. senators or from their Congressional district representative. For each nominating power in the state they can nominate up to 10 individuals. The application for these nominations is as rigorous, if not more than, as a college. One must write an essay, send in test scores, and be interviewed in person at their office. As the selection process is so intense and Washington State happens to be one of the top, most competitive states for a nomination to any of the service academies, I was going to be happy if I even received one. I was very excited when I received nominations to USNA from both Senators and my Congressman. During this time I had to go to a doctor, whom I had never met before, who had to give me a full-on physical checkup, which was weird. I also had to get my eyes checked and pass a physical fitness test. The tests ranged from running the mile to throwing a basketball from the knees, which is actually hard. If you have ever applied to a service academy you will know that they check you inside and out and ask about everything to see if they can disqualify you over just about the slightest thing. Well I got all these tests back as “qualified” and my physical scores in every category were well above satisfactory. With all these “wins” under my belt I was feeling pretty good about my chances. My test scores (SAT and ACT) were on par with what the College Board said the academy had reported; what could go wrong?
The waiting game then started; any time between my final completed submission and April 15th. Everyday people asked me if I had gotten in since they all knew I had wanted this for so long. Eventually I received a letter, “Department of the Navy, USNA Admissions Office.” The first thing I noticed was that it was thin. I didn’t want to open it because at the moment, I knew I hadn’t gotten in. All my years of work and determination, goals and aspiration, all out the window in the blink of an eye. It took me a few, long grueling days to calm down and come to terms with what it was. Life is hard, but I learned that it’s what you do after you fail that makes you who you are. I had set myself up with a backup plan of course, so I commenced operation “have a real college experience.” I knew the ultimate goal was to become an officer in the Navy so during my many hours of applying to the service academies I looked into civilian colleges that had good NROTC programs in places that I would enjoy. NROTC if you didn’t know, is Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. It is just another way to become an officer in the Navy. So that’s when I found University of Colorado Boulder. NROTC program, check; strong engineering program, check; great location, check; D1 sports to be interested in, check. I looked into it some more and figured that it would be the perfect fit. Now this coming fall, I will be attending CU Boulder in their pre-engineering program and will join their NROTC unit. I will also be applying again to USNA and hope for better luck this next time around, when they see that I’m even more qualified. If I can give any advice to the soon to be seniors next year, it would be to complete all your college applications as soon as possible, do really well on your SAT and ACT and don’t give up on your goals even if they look like there is absolutely no hope for you. If you want something enough, go get it, only you can hold yourself back.