Are you interested in joining the military? Are you curious about the process? Do you need a little inspiration from a fellow teen? Well swipe right to read the fantastic interview I had with Joseph Flynn from Virginia!
What inspired you to want to join the military?
“Since a young age I have always been endowed with a sense of service. My mom and dad helped me to understand the importance of what the men and women of our military do. As I aged, I started to understand and grasp how important the military was in preserving the freedoms that we take for granted every day. All of this passion for helping our great country culminated in a sign. When I was in seventh grade, my grandmother took me on a tour of the United States Naval Academy. From there I was hooked. For the past six years, I have been working toward the goal of attending the United States Naval Academy and becoming a carer Naval Officer.”
What inspired you to join the Navy specifically?
“As I said above, the tour of the Naval Academy pointed me to the Navy as my branch of service. As I became more dedicated to the goal of attending the Naval Academy, I put more time into research of both the Navy and the other branches and their respective academies. For those that don’t know, there are three “big” service academies, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Military Academy also known as Westpoint and the United States Air Force Academy. There are two other academies which are a little lesser known, the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the United States Coast Guard Academy. As I looked into the service selections of each branch and what life would be like at each academy, the Naval academy stuck out to me as the perfect fit for me.”
What process do you have to go through in order to join?
“Applying to any service academy is a vastly different process than a normal college application. There are multiple steps and lots of waiting. The first step is called the preliminary application, and those normally open at the end of May or the beginning to middle of June. Filling out and submitting the preliminary is the first step and allows the admission board to see if you would be a good candidate to their academy. The next step is the actual application, which you are allowed to do if the admission team accepts your preliminary application. The application is long and tedious, slightly different for each academy. In general, the academies all require letters of recommendation from two, maybe three, sources, normally a math and english teacher and possibly a science teacher. They also require either/both SAT and ACT scores, and they recommend that you take both tests, or atleast take one test twice. They also require that you take a Candidate Fitness Assessment, which consists of a kneeling basketball throw, pushups, pullups, a shuttle run, situps and a timed mile run. All academies also require that you pass a medical exam, which is very extensive. If you happen to do all of that and do the other things that are on each academies application, you also have to get a nomination from your local congressperson or one of your two senators. Those nominations usually require you to do another application, and some nominating sources also do interviews after you submit the application. To many people this application process seams long and daunting, that’s the point. The academies purposely make it long to see who can push through and complete the application.”
What has continued to motivate you during the process?
“Throughout the process, there have been times where I was just too overwhelmed and thought about just rescinding my application from the different academies. Then I remember seventh grade me, and my desire and fire to want to attend the Naval Academy. I remember that this process isn’t just about ne, and who would I be letting down besides myself. My parents have been supportive of my goal since the beginning, so have many friends and family members. If I gave into those momentary doubts, how would I present myself? Would I just prove the academies right that I wasn’t right for them because I crumble under pressure? I think about this and thin of everything that I’ve done in my life and how I haven’t crumbled before under pressure in different situations. I look at my goal, and what I want to achieve and I push past the troubles that are in that time and go for the goal in the distance.”
What are you looking forward to most if accepted into the Naval Academy?
“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to would have to be the friends and family that you become part of. The comradery among midshipmen at the Naval Academy, any academy, is unlike any other college. Going to college with similarly motivated students, and having teachers who will go out of their way to help you succeed, is something that not many colleges offer.”
What would being a part of the military mean to you?
“Being part of the military would mean that I am part of a family that is willing to lay down their lives for this amazing country and for their brothers and sisters in arms. Being able to lead soldiers and follow other great leaders into battle, to defend the freedoms that we take for granted and to protect Americans abroad.”
Lastly, do you have any advice/ words of wisdom for other teens out there who may be considering joining the military?
“If you are thinking about enlisting, talk with your parents and look at all the options that you are given. The training and opportunities that the military gives you is something that no other job can give you.
If you are applying to a service academy, start early and don’t wait. While it may seem that the application will take long, or that they deadline is a long way away, don’t wait. Once you get into senior year, the days fly by and before you know it, it will be the deadline and you have done nothing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, the doors that opened for me and the people I have met because I am trying to go to a service academy amaze me. There are countless people out there who would be happy to help.”
If you are interested in joining the military, I hope this interview was useful. Jospeh’s goal of joining the U.S is truly honorable and inspirational. Let’s wish him the best of luck during his journey to do so! We are all in this together in our quest to accomplish our dreams, and we should depend on each other for support and advice. Know that whatever dreams you have, the Teen Mindset Magazine community supports!
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