Leaving West Point
Once in a while I run into someone when I am out and about who reads my blog regularly. It is like running into an old friend because they know so much about me. And I like that. I like feeling like I have shared my life and its ups and downs openly. But it occurred to me today that I haven’t shared a pretty big bit of news and I thought it was about time. Last fall, my son separated from the United States Military Academy. He left West Point.
This is an idea that many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around. After working so hard for over a year to get into West Point, having survived his first year and having thrived in all areas, why in the world would he leave? I understand that reaction because it was my first reaction. I feared that he would come to regret the decision so I pushed him to stay. But what I really did was push him to weigh all of his options and he did.
Four months later, he has completed applications to several other prestigious programs and is moving forward with his civilian life. Will he have regrets? Probably. But he thought through his decision and is comfortable that it was the right decision for him.
He told me before he entered his plebe year that he would never quit because it was hard or because he couldn’t hack it and he didn’t. He quit because, although at 17 he thought he knew what it would mean to serve in the military, he learned over the year and a half he was at West Point that it meant so much more. Yes, he would have to serve in dangerous situations. He understood that and was willing to accept that role. He would have to lead young men into dangerous situations. This didn’t bother him either as he trusted his leadership ability. But what he had not thought of was how much of his dream he would have to give up in devoting so much of his young life to the military.
Blaise has always been a big dreamer. He has also known what he wanted to do with his life from a very young age. He wants to create products that people love. He wants to be a part of the next generation of developments in consumer electronics and although West Point is an incredible school, it could not help him meet this dream as soon as he hoped to meet it.
Leaving West Point was a hard decision. It is one for which he is often judged. But it is a decision he is willing to live with, a decision he stands behind.
As a mom, I stand behind this decision too. I am proud of my son for knowing what he wanted and standing up to the pressure to hold the status quo. I am proud that he took his time, considered it from every angle and has stood his ground throughout. Quitting is something we try to teach our children to avoid. It is seldom looked at as a positive but I believe there are times when quitting is the brave decision. Leaving West Point was one of those times and for that I commend him.